A big storyline for the LA Angels ever since Billy Eppler took over has been the rebuild of the farm system. The highlight of the system is Jo Adell, who is one of the best prospects in all of baseball.
However, the LA Angels have yet to see Adell ascend into the top ranks of minor leaguers. Adell usually sits in the second tier of prospects, behind the elite names such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez, and Fernando Tatis Jr. He is the highlight of their much-improved farm system, but has steps to take to become an elite prospect.
The argument of whether or not Adell belongs with those names is not what this article is for, though. Some prospect rankings, such as Baseball Prospectus who ranks him second behind Guerrero Jr., already rank Adell with that group. However, those are outliers as Adell sits in the 5-15 range for most other rankings.
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So what steps can Adell take to join the top-tier of prospects in baseball?
The first step for Adell would be to make the most of his non-roster invite to Spring Training. Working with big league coaches and players will be extremely valuable for Adell, who despite his success is still not fully developed. However, if Adell can go into Tempe and show he can hit off major league pitchers and show his elite athleticism transfers against big leaguers, it will be a big jump for the Angels’ top prospect.
While Jo Adell has had a solid minor league career thus far, there is still some reason for doubt as far as being a top prospect goes. In his limited AA experience, Adell’s numbers dropped drastically, as he seemed overpowered by the jump from the lower levels of the minors to AA. Obviously he has had an entire offseason to prepare for AA and AAA, and there is a good chance he has much-improved numbers in 2019.
The biggest concern for Adell is his plate discipline. In 99 games played last year, Adell had 111 strikeouts while only walking 32 times. This is something that raw, toolsy prospects often struggle with over their first couple of years in the minor leagues, and Adell has been no different. However, with rumors of him possibly making his way to Anaheim by this summer, Adell’s discipline at the plate needs to improve before any real talks of his MLB debut start.
Jo Adell is much more than a top prospect. Since Mike Trout, the Angels have had only one other top prospect, and that was Shohei Ohtani, who was so great it seemed unfair to consider him a prospect. Now, Adell has taken the reins and is the next guy up for a rebuilt Angels farm system. With just a little improvement, Adell can join Ohtani and Trout as Angels who have topped MLB’s prospect rankings.