Top prospect Adell starts in spring opener

19-year-old center fielder could reach Majors this season

February 23rd, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels fans got a glimpse of top prospect Jo Adell in the Cactus League opener against the Giants on Saturday, as he went 0-for-2 while starting in center field and batting eighth in a 10-3 win at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Adell, ranked as the club’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 14 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, is considered the club’s top homegrown prospect since and is on the fast track to the Majors at age 19.

Adell climbed two levels last year, finishing the season at Double-A Mobile, as he continued to take major steps forward offensively and with his already strong defensive and baserunning skills. When he was taken as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 Draft out of Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., there were concerns about his hit tool, but he eased those doubts with his breakout 2018 season.

“It went really well for me in terms of adjustments, numbers aside,” Adell said. “I really made it a focus to try to figure out what I’m trying to do every at-bat. I try to study the pitcher and what’s going on. I felt like I did that at a very high level. Part of the game is adjusting to the pitcher -- when they adjust, you adjust back.”

Adell hit a combined .290/.355/.543 with 20 homers, 32 doubles, four triples, 77 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 99 games across Class A Burlington, Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile. He didn't fare as well in his short stint at Double-A, batting .238/.324/.429 with two homers, six doubles and six RBIs in 17 games, but was a full five years younger than his average competition.

In an effort to stay productive late in the season, Adell worked hard this offseason in his hometown of Louisville to get physically stronger. He raved about the facilities at PFR Performance, which he called a one-stop shop that allowed him to work out but also participate in baseball-specific drills.

“It’s important for me to stay there and get the work in,” Adell said. “Where I am today is because of where I came from. The guys that I’m around at home where I lift, where I work out, where I hit doesn’t have to change. That’s part of the reason why I was there.”

Adell said he added about eight pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame and doesn’t believe it’ll slow him down as a runner. He made sure to keep cardio work as part of his workouts, but changed his overall routine this offseason.

“From a workout perspective, I wanted to get everything possible out of every workout I could,” Adell said. “I felt like last year, I would do a lift day or a core day or a conditioning day but I took all those and put them together for several workouts a week.”

Adell, who is expected to open the season at Double-A, is also trying to get the most out of his first big league camp. But he’s also not getting ahead of himself. He knows he could reach the Majors as early as this season, but that’s not his main focus.

“It’s obviously not up to me,” Adell said. “The thing that will really help me is to soak up as much info as I can and really focus on every at-bat and not take any pitches off in an at-bat or in the field. Run the bases with authority. Things like that. Those are the things I can control. The rest is out of my hands but if I take care of that, I’ll be in good shape.”