Mike Trout has been sidelined since the middle of May with a Grade 2 calf strain, and though the initial prognosis called for him to miss no more than two months, he remains on the injured list heading into the final week of August.
Trout’s long-term absence all but crushed the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff hopes this year as they currently trail the Boston Red Sox by nine games for the second American League Wild Card.
Having already turned their attention to the 2022 season, the Angels are giving a longer look to highly regarded prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. After initially struggling out of the gate, both players seemingly are getting better with the more playing time they receive.
For Adell in particular, he has made substantial progress since his disappointing 2020 season, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by Angels manager Joe Maddon, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
“Everything’s getting better,” manager Joe Maddon said of Adell this week, adding: “Every part of his game has accelerated since last year.”
In 38 games last season, Adell hit just .161/.212/.266 with seven extra-base hits and a 55-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 132 plate appearances. He also didn’t fare well defensively, which came as a surprise considering how well he played in the Minors.
Adell’s struggles carried over into Spring Training, resulting in him beginning the 2021 season with Triple-A Salt Lake. After honing his skills with the Bees, he earned another call-up to the Majors at the start of August.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian praised Adell for working hard to get back to The Show, and like Maddon, has also noticed a significant improvement in his game:
“I’m pretty transparent, I believe honesty is the best policy,” said Angels general manager Perry Minasian, who kept in contact with Adell during his stint in the minors. “So being straightforward and saying, ‘Hey, defensively you need to be better.’ He’s worked his butt off and he has gotten better.”
While Adell hasn’t clicked on all cylinders just yet in his second big league stint, it’s the little things that have stood out to the Angels.
In 19 games this year, the 22-year-old is batting only .200/.253/.300, but he isn’t chasing as many pitches out of the strike zone and looks like a different player defensively.
Adell finally hit his first home run of the season last week against the Detroit Tigers, and it was a big one as it emptied the bases for a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning with two outs.
Adell credited a piece of advice he received from Trout that urged him to lay off pitches out of the strike zone and look for a fastball he can handle.
Maddon credits Marsh, Adell for leading Angels’ historic comeback
After being the hero in last week’s series opener against the Tigers, Adell was part of another historic comeback in the finale at Comerica Park.
Trailing by eight runs after five innings, the Angels came all the way back to secure a 13-10 win and three-game sweep. Adell reached base three times in six plate appearances and beat out a ground ball that would have been an inning-ending double play to extend the top of the sixth.
It led to Marsh belting a two-run triple — his second of the game — that trimmed the Angels’ deficit to two. Maddon praised both players after the contest, calling them instrumental in the comeback.