The Los Angeles Angels have a full offseason to evaluate their roster with a number of free agents leaving the team, which opens the door from some role players to take on larger work loads.
One instance is the future of outfielder Jo Adell, whose up and down status with the Angels is both perplexing, and frustrating from an organizational standpoint. The 24-year-old has gone from top farmhand in 2020, to fringe roster level with how he’s developed over the years.
After dominating the Pacific Coast League this season, there’s a reason for optimism at the plate. He clubbed 24 home runs, drove in 57 RBI, and tallied 62 runs scored.
Without Minor League options remaining on his current contract, the Angels, and general manager Perry Minasian have some decisions to make with Adell in the upcoming season, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“He knows what’s at stake,” General Manager Perry Minasian said on Wednesday at the GM Meetings. “I’m looking forward to seeing him in the spring.”
The knock on Adell out of college was having as much raw talent as anyone in his draft class, and with that came lapses in technique. He’s since dealt with the speed bumps of having to make changes on the fly, but the hiccups at the big league level made him a liability at times when in the outfield.
He’s had a few flash defensive gems that are eye-catching, but a significant sample hasn’t been shown in MLB. The Angels haven’t cut bait with the former top pick, which shows their continued backing of what Adell can bring to the table:
“I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed in my career, somebody improve defensively as much as he has over the last three years,” Minasian said. “I think there’s some strides to be made offensively that he knows, that he’s working on as we speak.”
There are no guarantees with Adell, and another team that wants to take a risk on him is probably the more likely scenario with how volatile his makeup is. Because the Angels had to use him in spot duty because of injuries, his Minor League options were used several times this past year.
But his bursts of insane production, much of like the run that earned him PCL Player of the Week honors early in the season. Those stretches are what could nudge the Angels to give him some run, given that they have nothing to lose with where they are from a competitive standpoint.
Could Jo Adell compete for a spot in the Angels outfield?
The short answer is, absolutely. Adell has the physical tools to hold up in MLB, and with as much pure power as he has, it can be a weapon when combined with solid plate discipline.
He’s been a product of boom or bust offense, and in today’s game, that can play, but it won’t work unless he adds walks to his game. Adell posted a 40.3% strikeout rate last season, with a 6.5% walk rate in 17 games.
But in those 62 at-bats, he slugged three home runs, three doubles and one triple. Adell has the ability to make things happen with his speed, which would be even more lethal if he lowered the whiff, and added the walk into his arsenal.
The Angels are now without Randal Grichuk and Hunter Renfroe in their outfield equation, which means new manager Ron Washington could use a right-handed bat out there. Adell is more suited for left-field because of where he is defensively, but if he has taken a step forward, he could shift to the right side.
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