No shortage of swings for Adell this spring

March 7th, 2023

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It has become clear the Angels want to see what they have in outfielder this spring.

The former top prospect and No. 10 overall selection in the 2017 Draft has played in nine of the club’s first 11 Cactus League games and leads the club in at-bats. He went 2-for-3 with a double in the Angels' 5-4 victory over the Padres on Tuesday afternoon and is hitting .182 (4-for-22) with a home run, two RBIs and 12 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances.

Adell, 23, is likely to be the odd man out in the outfield to open the season after the Angels signed  to be their fourth outfielder. But it’s still an important spring to show what he can do, and while the results at the plate hadn’t quite been there until his two-hit performance against San Diego, manager Phil Nevin has praised Adell for his work ethic.

“He needs at-bats; he needs to play,” Nevin said. “He goes through little skids, as we've seen once in a while, and I'd rather have him go through that now in Spring Training as he's working on some different things offensively. But we're going to keep putting him out there.

“I want him to get a little more confidence in what he's doing offensively. He's looked great in the outfield. And that's a credit to the work he's put in.”

After posting a slash line of .224/.264/.373 with eight homers and 27 RBIs in 88 games last year, Adell made it his mission to dedicate himself to getting better offensively and defensively this offseason. Adell spent the winter in Arizona and trained at the club’s Spring Training facility nearly every day, missing time only for Christmas.

“I think, for me, that's kind of just who I am,” Adell said. “Hopefully, when my career is done, I can say that I gave everything I got, I put in everything for it. It's not really a ‘prove anyone wrong’ type of thing. For me, I want to contribute.

“We have a really good lineup with really good players, and any way that I can get better, it’s just going to help us.”

Adell knows the roster situation, with , and locked in as starting outfielders and Phillips set to be the fourth outfielder. But Adell said how the roster shakes out is out of his control and he’s just focusing on getting better as a player.

“Decisions are going to be made. I have nothing to do with that,” Adell said. “I believe in our staff and our guys and that they're going to put the best team out on the field as possible. Obviously, I want to be a part of that, but I want to continue to get better and show that there’s a spot for me.

“But wherever I fit in -- whether that's the fourth outfielder, starting outfielder or up at some point helping out -- at the end of the day, I’ll continue to work and get better and decisions will be made.”

Adell added that the issue hasn’t been a lack of confidence in the Majors, but he has worked to improve his mentality, especially at the plate. He has been working with new hitting coach Marcus Thames on better swing decisions and honing in on the parts of the plate where he knows he can do the most damage.

“There's never been a doubt in my abilities,” Adell said. “We can't be out here in the big leagues and not believe what we're about to do. So that never leaves me. And that's just the truth. So I'm going to go out and believe that, because if I don't believe that, then I don't hit home runs -- I don't produce. You got to get in there and believe you're going to do it.”

Adell’s commitment to improve hasn’t been lost on his teammates, as his work ethic makes him easy to root for. Even if he doesn’t make the roster, he would add much-needed depth at Triple-A Salt Lake, along with fellow first-round pick , who is also expected to open the year in the Minors.

“I talked to the front office about his work ethic over the offseason,” Trout said. “He didn’t take a day off. He didn’t take a vacation day. He was three or four times a week at the stadium, working on his outfield drills. Just seeing the work he put in, he’s going to definitely have opportunities.”