'He's a different guy': Adell embracing change in approach

March 11th, 2024

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For Angels outfielder , the power has always been there, but now it’s about learning to tap into his other tools as he tries to reach his potential.

Adell was once ranked as high as the No. 6 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline in 2020 but has struggled to put it all together in the Majors and now heads into a pivotal season where he’s out of Minor League options. He’s also part of a crowded outfield that also includes Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Aaron Hicks, which complicates things even further.

But Adell isn’t focusing on his roster status and is simply working hard every day and is starting to see results at the plate. He went 1-for-3 in the Angels' 15-5 loss to the Rangers on Monday and is hitting .241 with a homer, three doubles and a triple in 14 games this spring

“My rhythm is getting there,” Adell said. “I’ve missed a few pitches here and there and hit some fly balls but overall I’m feeling really good. But getting my rhythm is really the main focus. Everything else will come into play.”

Angels manager Ron Washington said he’s already noticed a change in Adell since early this spring, as he believes he’s getting better in all areas because of his work with the coaching staff. He said he thinks he can find enough playing time for his outfielders because of the designated hitter spot but it’ll be up to them to earn their time on the field.

“He's a different guy right now,” Washington said. “And because he's going through this process, once the season starts, I think we might have the Jo Adell everybody wanted because now he has to be engaged. And now he's using the whole field. He's feeling good about himself. He's working hard every day. So let's just wait and see where it goes.”

Adell has made a few small mechanical tweaks with his swing but it’s more about a shift in mentality. Washington said Adell has worked to improve his contact rate and it was evident with his hard-hit single to left in the second inning off Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

“We know he’s capable of hitting it out of anywhere but when you’re not hitting it out you have to hit some singles,” Washington said. “And he’s done that this spring. He’s hit some balls up the middle between short and second. He’s growing. He’s not one-dimensional like he was in the past.”

Adell said he’s enjoyed working with the new coaching staff this spring, especially with the energy that Washington brings as manager.

“Wash is awesome,” Adell said. “He’s a worker and he expects everyone to work and pull their weight, which is not a problem with our group. Everybody’s working really hard to make things happen and I think the vibe is right where it’s supposed to be.”

Washington names his five starters

The Angels aren’t ready to name their Opening Day starter just yet but Washington said his five starters will be lefties Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and Tyler Anderson and right-handers Griffin Canning and Chase Silseth. It’s not a surprise but Washington clarified his rotation because of the emergence of right-hander José Soriano, who is getting stretched out as a starter after a breakout rookie year in relief last season.

The club is also stretching out Andrew Wantz and José Suarez as starters but Suarez is expected to be the club’s long reliever, while Wantz is expected to provide depth at Triple-A Salt Lake. Zach Plesac, Davis Daniel and Kenny Rosenberg offer further depth, while Washington alluded to the potential of the Angels adding another starter via free agency. The club continues to be linked to free-agent lefty Blake Snell.

“Things can change and I'm not talking about things changing because somebody got taken out of the rotation,” Washington said. “Things can change where someone has to leave the rotation. And you never know. Something magical might happen. But I won’t tell you what that magic is.”

Angels tidbits

• Detmers was the second pitcher to go through the “chaos drill” after reliever Ben Joyce went through it last week. The Angels had Detmers pitch in simulated situations on the club’s half-field with a loudspeaker blaring and fans all around the field to simulate a game atmosphere.

• Sandoval struggled in his third start of the spring on Monday against the Rangers, allowing seven runs (four earned) on five hits and four walks over 2 1/3 innings. He also wasn’t helped by some sloppy defense from the Angels.