The Los Angeles Angels haven’t had many star prospects quickly rise through the ranks since Mike Trout did so on his path to stardom. Now, Jo Adell, whose fast track to Major League Baseball wound up casting immense doubt on his potential, is looking to avoid becoming another story of what could have been.
However, Angels manager Phil Nevin still believes in Adell and thinks the former top prospect hasn’t been afforded a proper go of things in his time with the Angels.
After being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 June Amateur Draft, Adell found himself ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Angels system behind Shohei Ohtani, who signed with them the offseason prior. In 2019 and 2020, he was ranked as the top talent among their Minor League ranks.
Unfortunately, his production drop-off was quite significant and the red flags that were prominent in the pre-draft process began to overtake his play on the field. Adell made his MLB debut in the 2020 shortened season, where he struggled mightily, batting .161 over 38 games and posting an OPS+ of 30 (100 being the league average). Those issues continued through the 2022 season, finding himself spending more time in Triple-A than with the Angels.
Nevin has been with the team to see Adell’s ongoing struggles, but his youth isn’t dismissed when analyzing his future with the club.
“Well, first, I think everybody that was around us last year knows how I feel about Jo,” said Nevin. “And the relationship that I have with him is something that I feel really good about.
“I love the kid. I love his work ethic. I love the way he goes about his game. He’s a talented guy. But he’s 23 years old and he was rushed here. And he really hasn’t had one place to play or get better and create those valuable relationships with a coach or where he can be comfortable and get better.”
The Angels have been busy adding to the MLB roster this winter, and Nevin noted that Adell had devoted time to improving himself at the backend of this past season.
“And we’re going to continue that all offseason. I know he’s been going to the complex three times a week, and still doing his outfield drills, which I know that sounds, only three times a week, but in the offseason really players aren’t doing stuff on the field baseball-wise,” Nevin said.
“A lot of guys certainly don’t start hitting til about now, certainly not doing defensive stuff until January. And Jo continued that through the season. He knows how important it is for him and his career. Love him.
“Where it puts us right now, refer back to the question I answered earlier: Those things will play themselves out as we get closer to Opening Day. But I certainly expect Jo to have a hand in a lot of the success we’re going to have next year.”
The additions to the team, mainly the outfield, could muddy the path for Adell to see significant time in 2023, but perhaps that’s exactly what he needs, less reliance for him to break out and more time to develop as a young player.
Pitching and shortstop remain areas of focus for Angels
The Angels are heading into a very important regular season, potentially franchise-altering because Shohei Ohtani’s future hangs in the balance. According to reports, Minasian continues to search for help at multiple areas of the roster, including his pitching staff and shortstop.
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