The Los Angeles Angels signaled a shift towards their youth this week by calling up Reid Detmers, Chris Rodriguez, and Jo Adell. Adell had spent all of the 2020 season with the Angels, but was clearly not ready to be a Major League player just yet, leading him to be optioned to begin 2021. After a few months of finding his role as a bonafide slugger in Triple-A, the Angels felt it was time to bring him back.
He made his 2021 season debut on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, and was downright incredible. In just one game, he showed all of the ways in which he has improved as a player since his last stint with the Angels, and he and Brandon Marsh sharing an outfield provided a glimmer of hope for the future of the team.
In Adell’s first plate appearance, he drew a seven-pitch walk after being down 1-2 in the count. He fouled off a pitch and took three balls to get first base. Then, he stole second base before being stranded to end the inning. Adell spoke about this specific at-bat, calling it one of his best of the day, according to Dave Sessions of MLB.com:
“That was my best at-bat of the day, for sure,” Adell said. “Some of these pitches, I didn’t see very often throughout the Minor Leagues until I got into Triple-A baseball. There were some sinkers, some different pitches that I hadn’t seen quite yet. I think I probably would’ve swung at a couple of sliders or cutters early in the count.”
His next at-bat saw runners at first and second base with two outs. He took a second-pitch curveball low in the zone out to the wall for a two-RBI double to give the Angels a 3-1 lead. In his fourth plate appearance — after grounding out in the sixth inning — Adell hit a single with the bases loaded to score another run.
Adell gave his thoughts on his debut and what he learned from his time in Triple-A this season.
“It felt good. I went in and tried to game-plan every pitcher that we faced and tried to get pitches that I could handle, and good things happened. … I’m really happy that I could produce,” Adell said.
“The more you play, the more you start to figure out where your success lies within the game,” Adell said. “For me, over these 70 or so games in Salt Lake, along with some Spring games, I started to figure out how I’m going to be successful in certain situations, and what pitches I actually can handle very well versus the ones that I think I can hit very well.”
In total, Adell went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and a walk. It was a season debut to remember for a guy who played a 2020 season to forget. Hopefully, this is the start of a new era in the Angels outfield, one that involves Adell, Marsh, and eventually Mike Trout.
Adell will be full-time starter until Trout returns
It’s unclear exactly what will happen with the outfield when Trout is healthy, but it appears that Joe Maddon is going to stick with Adell in the meantime. He announced earlier this week that Justin Upton and Adam Eaton would platoon swap based on the pitching matchup while Adell and Marsh play every day.