Whoa, Jo: Adell keys sweep with 451-foot HR

Win streak hits 4 as former top prospect cranks hardest-hit ball by Angel in '23

June 9th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- didn’t take long to make an impact with the Angels in his season debut on Thursday after a dominant showing at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Adell displayed his incredible power in his first at-bat of the season, crushing a homer off lefty Drew Smyly to lead off the second inning and help spark a 3-1 win over the Cubs to complete a three-game series sweep at Angel Stadium. 

It was an absolute no-doubter, as it left his bat at 117.2 mph and went a projected 451 feet to left field. It was the hardest-hit ball by any Angels player this season and is tied for the second-hardest hit homer by a Halos player since Statcast was introduced in 2015, behind only a 118 mph blast hit by Shohei Ohtani.

“It felt good,” said Adell, who finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk. “I stuck to my approach and got a pitch to handle and was able to do something with it. And I think more importantly, jumping out early in that situation kind of kept the momentum through the game. That was the big positive.”

It was a continuation of the power Adell showed at Triple-A this season when he hit .278/.365/.593 with 18 homers, 12 doubles and 43 RBIs in 55 games with the Bees. He started in right field and batted sixth after he was called up on Wednesday to replace outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who went on the paternity list. Renfroe’s wife, Courtney, gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Wednesday, and Renfroe is expected to return on Saturday.

Adell's stint with the Angels could be as short as a few days, but he said pregame Thursday that he hopes to make the most out of his opportunity. The Angels have a crowded outfield situation, which also includes Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak, Renfroe and occasionally Luis Rengifo, but Adell maintained that he tries not to focus on that.

“I’m playing the game me vs. me,” Adell said. “Every opportunity I get, I try to compete and see how much better I can be, whether it's practice, weight room stuff or out on the field during the game. I'm not doing anything comparative to anyone else other than myself. I'm gonna go out and play my game and see what happens.”

Adell, 24, said that mentality helped him at Triple-A this season, as he was able to keep his confidence despite starting the year in the Minors, rather than the big leagues. He said it allowed him to simply work on getting himself better -- and his results reflected that.

Adell has improved defensively, while seeing action at all three outfield spots, and has also worked to drive the ball into the air more often this year. Adell's 18 homers were tied for the most in the Minor Leagues at the time of his callup.

“Our approach this year as a team was to go out there and do what you do best, and for me it’s been my power numbers,” Adell said. “I've been able to put the ball in the air more consistently this year to this point. So I'm hoping to do that, and bring that to the table as a strong suit for me.”

Angels manager Phil Nevin said he was excited to see Adell finally get his opportunity, much like Moniak did in mid-May. Moniak's success in Spring Training and Triple-A has immediately translated this year, as he's hitting .304/.339/.643 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games. Nevin wouldn’t say how long Adell will be up, but praised him for his attitude and the improvements he’s made -- and that impressive homer.

“That was awesome,” Nevin said. “I didn’t know it was the hardest one hit, but I could’ve guessed it. You don’t see many come close to that second deck, and that was as close as I’ve seen one.”

Adell, selected seventh overall by the Angels in the 2017 MLB Draft, credited his family for helping him stay mentally strong this year and he believes good things will come with hard work. Adell added he's learned from his experience in the Majors, as he entered Thursday with a career line of .215/.259/.356, with 15 homers and 60 RBIs in 161 games over parts of three seasons with the Angels. But he sees this as a fresh start, as he’s improved his game since last year and has learned more about the mental side of the game.

“My family support is huge,” Adell said. “My mom and dad, really just the morals that we hold on to as a family to be able to come out and do this. One of the hardest things to do is come out here and play at this level. I've seen both sides of success, and the foundation that I have back home has really been huge for me.”