LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When the Los Angeles Angels told Albert Pujols that his Hall of Fame career was over on their side of southern California, about 30 at bats per week opened in the Angels’ batting order.
Then the Halos took another hit when Mike Trout went to the injured list with a calf injury.
Enter Jo Adell, the former Ballard High School star drafted in the first round, with the 10th overall selection, by the Angels four years ago?
Patience, please. Sometimes greatness takes time.
Adell has launched five home runs in his last 17 at bats for the Class AAA Salt Lake City Bees. He made this dazzling catch in left field Sunday.
Jo Adell with a spectacular diving catch in LF for the Salt Lake Bees pic.twitter.com/3YUo6RXQcI— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) May 23, 2021
The pair of home runs Adell hit Sunday gave him his third two-home run game this season.
There are days that Adell treats professional pitchers the way he treated pitchers from Waggener or Eastern high schools. Adell leads every level of the minor leagues with nine homers. But he just turned 22 in April. After a sizzling start, the Angels sit in last place in the American League West with 27 losses in 47 games. They’re not contenders.
Patience appears to be the team’s new path with Adell.
Los Angeles Manager Joe Maddon said he talked to General Manager Perry Minasian about a possible promotion for Adell after the Trout injury. But the team wants him to remain in the highest level of the minor leagues to improve his contact rate.
“I talked to Perry about that specifically,” Maddon told Mike DiGiovanna, who covers the team for the Los Angeles Times. “He’s making progress. He still has things to work on, and you don’t want to force somebody to a role here because you feel there is a need.”
Here is the progress that Adell needs to make: more walks and fewer strikeouts.
Especially fewer strikeouts.
The Angels promoted Adell to the big leagues during the novel coronavirus/shortened 60-game 2020 season. He delivered a slash line of .161/.212/.266. He struck out in nearly 42% of his plate appearances.
Welcome to The Show.
Back to work. Adell, a talented outfielder, did not make the club during spring training, drawing an assignment with Salt Lake City.
Although Adell has hit for power and ranks second in AAA-West in runs batted in with 17, his command of the strike zone still needs work.
He’s got 26 strikeouts (with six walks) in 76 plate appearances. His strikeout average (.342) remains higher than his batting average (.261).
That’s not surprising for young power hitters, especially young power hitters who were fast-tracked to the big leagues.
Adell is not the first big-league hitter to have his confidence and patience tested by the game’s best pitchers, guys who will find a hole in somebody’s approach and exploit it pitch after pitch.
Fix that hole and pitchers will search for another weak spot.
The last five games have been the best stretch of the 2021 season for Adell. He’s hit safely in all five. In fact, he’s 9/22 with six runs scored, five home runs, eight RBIs and only five strikeouts.
Have a day, Jo Adell!His second HR of the game! pic.twitter.com/EOJbrTH2cA— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) May 23, 2021
“I know he’s making some progress, but we still think he has things to work on,” Maddon said. “You can actually hinder or stifle development if that player arrives too quickly without the ingredients to be successful up here.”
Adell will get back to the big leagues again, probably this season. But for now, the Angels are not going to rush a talented and determined player they believe has the ability to become the face of their franchise.
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