It turned out to be a tough week for our MLBbro. Jo Adell was sent down by the Los Angeles Angels to their Triple-A affiliate on Tuesday. Infielder Jose Rojas will take Adell’s roster spot.
The move is considered a mild surprise considering Adell’s 2022 spring training performance was so impressive that the Angels designated Justin Upton to the minors in April. After Upton’s departure, the plan was to have a four-man outfield rotation with Taylor Ward, Brandon Marsh and Adell surrounding Mike Trout in center field.
Adell’s demotion wasn’t about his slow start as much as the outstanding starts of Marsh, and Ward, who just collected an A.L. Player of the Week award. Their production phased out Jo’s opportunity to play.
“This is a really strong team and these guys are great,” Adell said. “These players out here are unbelievable. And we formed something that’s been a really, really strong unit. And it’s been tough to weave my way into the lineup with the level of play that these guys have right now. …
“Joe [Maddon] mentioned in the meeting that playing every third or second day or fourth day or whatever has been kind of tough. Hopefully, me getting back on my rhythm and getting in there every day and kind of just developing more of a routine would probably help me out a little bit more.”
Before being designated, Adell slashed .231/.242/.431 (.673 OPS) with three homers at the plate in 19 games. While those numbers aren’t considered bust-worthy, his 24 strikeouts with only one walk in 66 plate appearances will be a point of emphasis in Salt Lake.
But according to the Angels front office, this move is all about Adell. The Angels want him to keep his rhythm by playing every day in Triple A and not being buried on the bench with the big club.
“Wardy has been great, Marsh has played really well and center field is taken by a pretty good player too,” General Manager Perry Minasian said. “I think for him and his development, just to get regular at-bats, regular defensive reps will help him. He’s come a long way. He’s made a lot of strides. I’m very optimistic at some point this year he’s going to help us win some games. He already has, but I think just the regular reps will be important.”
It is clear at this point that the Los Angeles Angels haven’t given up on Adell — and they shouldn’t. The 10th overall pick in the 2017 Draft has only played 92 games over three seasons including the pandemic season in 2020. Why give up on a guy that just turned 23 the day after the season opened?
The most important part of this designation assignment is that both parties are onboard with the future plans of this MLBbro in the minors. Adell will use this as an opportunity to get better according to Sports Illustrated.
“I’m not thrilled about it,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to throw a parade about getting sent down, but I’m gonna try my best to get back. … I’m not going to hang my head low. I’ve got enough confidence in my game and what I’m capable of to know at some point, my time is gonna come where I’m going to be able to be out here very day and help these guys. And so hopefully I can get back and get myself where the standards are for this club and these guys and be able to come back and help.”
If Adell and his coaches can combine improvement of his offensive and defensive tendencies with his natural abilities — power, speed and arm strength, this MLBbro will be one of the comeback stories of the postseason.
When our MLBbro debuted during the 2020 shortened season, it was one to forget for Adell. He finished with a .161 batting average with 55 strikeouts. Coming into 2021, Adell wanted to make significant changes from the previous season. He’s been wreaking havoc in the minors. It was only a matter of time that he would get called back up.
Through 13 games this season, Adell hit .234 with six RBIs and four runs scored , but no homers. After his explosion, people have a better understanding fo why he’s known for is his power at the plate. A lack of power hasn’t meant he’s slacking in other areas.
The 22-year-old has shown a lot more discipline at the plate from last year and he has made tremendous strides on defense.
“That was really my only goal,” Adell told the Los Angeles Times. “I told myself, when I come back, just try to be a factor in the lineup, try to contribute and keep moving.”
His improvements have not gone unnoticed at all. Angels manager Joe Maddon is pleased with the progress Adell has made in a year’s time.
“Everything’s getting better,” Maddon said. “Every part of his game has accelerated since last year.”
“He’s a completely different player than I saw last year,” Maddon said. “You have to suck up some growing pains on occasion, which we did. And now he’s benefitting, and so are we.”
With that kind of endorsement, there’s a good chance that he will play out the rest of the season for the Angels.
“These are plays I’ve worked on myself, parts of the game I have yet to showcase,” Adell said. “I’m at the point now where I’ve slowed it down, I’m playing the game and reacting to what’s coming to me. Not trying to force anything.”
Adell will be an important part to the Angels future and there’s no doubt that the rookie has superstar potential.
This last half of the season will be an important one for our MLBbro.
On Sunday the Los Angeles Angels announced that right fielder Dexter Fowler was officially lost for the season with a torn ACL. Initially, it was thought that Fowler sprained his knee after he fell awkwardly last Friday in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Angels have to be hoping that Jay can help hold down the fort as they deal with injuries across their outfield. Juan Lagares was placed on the 10-day DL, and Black Knight Justin Upton has been dealing with back stiffness.
He was thrust into action against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night, going 1-for-4 in a 3-2 loss that dropped the Angels to 7-4.
Even when they have been healthy, Fowler, Lagares, and Upton had been struggling. The trio has combined for a .190 batting average, with only 12 hits in 63 at-bats, and produced just eight runs and six RBI with 19 strikeouts.
With that in mind and Jay’s limitations, the Angels may have to look deeper into their talent pool to keep their offense going.
Angels fans are already clamoring for Jo Adell. Adell filled in last season for Los Angeles but wasn’t ready for the big leagues just yet. His batting average hovered below .200 and more than 44 percent of his at-bats ended in strikeouts.
There were also moments like this, where Adell turned the momentum of games singlehandedly. If Real Deal Akil Baddoo can make the leap from Class A Ball to starting centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, then Adell (who has a similar skillset) is ready to rock out as well.
In the first game of the @Angels' doubleheader, Jo Adell robbed a HR, hit a HR, and had the #walkoff hit.
This spring, manager Joe Maddon spoke highly of Adell’s development before sending him to AAA for more seasoning.
“I think he’s made a lot of progress actually,” Maddon said. “At the plate, his swing is so much shorter, his strides so much more under control. Because his foot is getting down sooner, the bat’s not moving around and wrapping as much. He looks so much better on defense, he’s been working really hard.”
The Angels haven’t been in a rush to promote Adell, their highest-rated prospect since Mike Trout, but his timetable may be accelerated if the club can’t get some consistent production from its bench.
“He just needs to play baseball,” Maddon said. “He needs nine innings of baseball on a consistent basis. He needs to take all the stuff he’s learned and put it into a game. That’s the next step for him. Because I have a lot of faith in him and I like what he’s doing. He needs to play and doesn’t need to be on anybody’s bench right now.”
Keep an eye out, because Jo Adell could be getting those innings very soon. The Angels have nothing to lose and everything to gain.