One-time top prospect and now Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jo Adell has been a fascinating player to evaluate in his first three Major League stints. When he was brought up for the shortened 2020 season, it was clear he was not yet ready for the big leagues, but there was no Minor League season to send him down to.
In 2021, he showed serious improvement, but over a small 35-game sample that all took place near the end of a lost season. So when 2022 began, it felt like the first real chance to see if Adell could be an impact player for a winning team.
The results have been mixed at best. Adell is .226 with a .639 OPS in 86 games this season. He is striking out a whopping 37.8% of the time, and has almost as many home runs (8) as he does walks (11). He has shown some improvement defensively, but it has mainly been in right field, which belongs to Taylor Ward full-time.
So now, as the Angels enter a critical offseason, the question becomes if Adell has done enough to show the team he belongs on the roster in 2023. For Adell — who is fully aware of his inconsistency — the struggles have been pivotal to his development, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Obviously, there were some things that I could have done better, but that’s part of the learning,” he said. “I wouldn’t take that away. My struggles, I wouldn’t take that away for anything. I’ve struggled my entire life. Playing and figuring it out and getting better and coming back. That’s just kind of what I’m about.”
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin offered a harsh, but fair, reality check on where Adell is versus where he needs to be moving forward.
“It’s got to get better,” Nevin said. “He knows that. That’s part of the swing decision-making. Attack earlier in the count when he gets pitches to hit. Maybe shortening up. Those are things he’s gonna have to work on. … When he does hit it, it’s impressive. If you can minimize those (misses) a little bit and maximize when he’s impacting the baseball the way he does, you’ve got a pretty good player.”
Adell has just barely crossed one year of MLB service time. But even still, it feels as though he’s running out of time to prove himself at the Major League level. The pressure on the Angels to win in 2023 is perhaps higher than it’s been in a decade, and unfinished projects may have to take a back seat.
Livan Soto thankful hard work is paying off
On the flip side of Minor League development, Livan Soto is defying all expectation during his first stint with the Angels. It has only been 16 games and 55 plate appearances, but Soto is slashing .412/.426/.608 for a 1.034 OPS. He’s hit nine RBIs and has an OPS+ of 191.
Even he was a bit surprised to see how much success he’s having in MLB, but he was thankful that his hard work over many years is paying off.