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Top prospect Adell impressing at Angels' camp

6-man rotation likely for Halos; Castro raking at plate early
@RhettBollinger
July 10, 2020

ANAHEIM -- Angels top prospect Jo Adell has turned heads early in summer camp, impressing manager Joe Maddon with an opposite-field homer off Jose Rodriguez in Thursday’s intrasquad game at Angel Stadium. Adell, the No. 6 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, is currently part of the group that

ANAHEIM -- Angels top prospect Jo Adell has turned heads early in summer camp, impressing manager Joe Maddon with an opposite-field homer off Jose Rodriguez in Thursday’s intrasquad game at Angel Stadium.

Adell, the No. 6 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, is currently part of the group that is training at Long Beach State’s Blair Field, but he is getting invaluable experience playing against top competition in intrasquad action.

“Came off the bat hot,” Maddon said of Adell's homer. “I thought it was going to be a double, but he hit it so hard that it stayed up high enough to be a homer. We were just talking about it with the staff, the best part was how hard he broke out of the batter’s box. He didn’t assume that was going to be a home run. That’s refreshing.”

Maddon has long been a proponent of hustling out of the batter’s box -- or "Respect 90," as he calls it -- and he appreciates Adell’s old-school mentality. He also loves the tools and frame of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound outfielder. But now, it's up to Adell to prove he's ready to handle Major League pitching.

Adell likely wasn't going to make the Halos' Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, and he has an uphill battle to make the initial 30-man roster out of Summer Camp. But there’s no doubt he’s closing in on his Major League debut, which could come later this season, or in 2021.

“He’s ready physically, there’s no question,” Maddon said. “With him, it’s all about his hitting, his bat. Is his bat ready to play in the big leagues? That’s what you’re looking at. Under these circumstances, it’s difficult to ascertain that. I’m not even trying to pay attention to that.”

Instead, Maddon is looking more at the way Adell handles himself in Summer Camp, and so far, he’s been impressed with that aspect as well.

“I just like the energy, I like his attitude,” Maddon said. “That’s what we need. That kind of energy is going to make everybody else around him better, and I appreciate it.”

Six-man rotation likely
With Shohei Ohtani pitching once a week, Maddon reiterated that it appears likely the Angels will utilize a modified six-man rotation this season. Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning are locks for the rotation, leaving two open spots, with Matt Andriese and Félix Peña the front-runners. Jaime Barria is also competing for a spot, while Patrick Sandoval arrived at camp on Thursday. Barria has been pitching well in camp, including a strong outing on Friday.

The Angels could use off-days to switch back to a five-man rotation when necessary. But they open the season with 10 straight games without a break, and they also play 18 straight days from Aug. 14-31 without any days off.

“You have to have six you like,” Maddon said. “If you don't, then you start using the opener. Oh, my God. So there's different ways to do this. But you know, we got some really nice guys. I mean, Sandoval being back now should be helpful. Barria threw the ball well the other day. Andriese has been really sharp.”

Right-hander Julio Teheran and left-handers Dillon Peters and Jose Suarez haven’t arrived to camp, but they will add depth once they’re ready to return. Teheran was a lock for the rotation and could arrive to camp as early as this weekend, per ESPN Deportes. Peters has an oblique strain and hasn’t arrived to camp, but Maddon said he’s the club’s lone injured player.

Angels tidbits
• Catcher Jason Castro is off to a strong start offensively in summer camp, as he doubled on Tuesday and tripled off the wall on Friday. Right fielder Brian Goodwin had trouble tracking the ball because of the sun, but it was another hard-hit ball by Castro, who will be the club’s primary catcher.

• Infielder David Fletcher is among those who is in favor of piped-in crowd noise, as he likened it to white noise and said it’s better than playing in silence. The Angels will continue to experiment with it in camp.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.