The Los Angeles Angels dropped Friday’s game to the Texas Rangers 7-2, after allowing four unearned runs following defensive mistakes.
The Angels understood who they were drafting when they selected Jo Adell with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. A potential superstar with enough raw talent to be the cornerstone of a franchise, but one tool always was in question, his unique ability to make the easy defensive plays look hard, or not make them at all.
In the sixth inning on Friday, Marcus Semien lined a base hit to left-field, Adell moved to his right to field the ball and missed it as it met the sidewall. This allowed Semien to take an extra base, and as he was rounding second Adell dropped the ball when trying to pick it up, allowing Semien to hit a little league home run on a close play, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
That error derailed a promising start for Patrick Sandoval, which Adell expressed changed the course of the game, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I took way too steep of an angle,” Adell said. “I thought it was gonna get a hop off [the wall] there like it did for [Brandon] Marsh the other night, and it just wrapped around on me. I gotta be better with those angles down the line. I’ll work on it. It’s nothing that can’t be worked on, but I was definitely too steep.”
“It’s definitely one of those things where it hurts the momentum,” Adell said of his error in the sixth. “But we’ll be fine. We’ll get back after it and I’ll definitely get to work on that. I have to be better and make the plays. It’s that simple.”
Adell’s defensive issues have been highlighted since he was called to the major leagues in 2020 after another miscue allowed a Rangers hitter to round the bases for a free run. But in 2022, he could be having one of his worst seasons in the field.
Primarily a right fielder, much of his flubs have come in left, and among players with at least 25 attempts, Adell ranks 10th-worst in MLB with -4 outs above average.
He often takes poor routes and according to Baseball Savant, Adell has a -8% success rate added, which is good for 7th worst in MLB.
Adell is still only 23 years old so conventional wisdom would be to allow him time to figure it out, but after being exposed to the big league level and struggling, he is having to play catchup when he seems to be getting in his own way.
Despite loss to Rangers, Patrick Sandoval felt in control
Sandoval’s last two starts had not gone the way he — or the Angels — expected. Over the past two seasons, Sandoval has become a blue-chip young player and one of the team’s most reliable starters. But he had given up nine runs in his last 7.2 innings.
Against the Rangers on Friday, Sandoval had a chance to correct some of the mistakes that plagued him against the L.A. Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. And for five innings, he looked to be the pitcher he and the Angels know him as.
Sandoval struck out six batters in the first five frames and allowed a grand total of three baserunners. Limiting traffic has been an issue all season for Sandoval, but he routinely showed poise in dire situations. And on Friday, it wasn’t until the sixth inning that he finally let up.
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