Los Angeles Angels: Revisiting Jo Adell’s 2020 season
By Luke Graham
Jo Adell’s season showed flashes, but not consistency.
The 2020 MLB season will not be forgotten anytime soon. Between a global pandemic and the MLB and MLBPA disputes taking effect for months, no fans being allowed entry until late in the playoffs, and a 60 game season, a lot of different circumstances came to light in a unique season. An additional point is the amount of rookies who made sooner-than-expected debuts in 2020. Jo Adell didn’t have the greatest season on paper, but the flashes were there and Angels fans now hope that he will be even better in 2021.
The 2017 10th overall pick from Louisville, Kentucky flew through the minors, batting just under .300 in both of his seasons in 2018 and 2019. He likely would have hung out in Triple-A for most of 2020 if not all of it, but under the bizarre circumstances that the 2020 season saw, the Angels went ahead and pulled the trigger calling up their top prospect.
Adell, as we saw, didn’t impress entirely and had some moments that made the Halo faithful cringe. The Los Angeles Times went into more detail but the one that will not be forgotten is the ball off the top of the head from Rangers batter Nick Solak that bounced over the wall. A four-base error wasn’t an ideal moment for the young rookie.
He struggled at the plate for most of his 38 games after running out a dribbler in his debut for his first hit in Seattle. He finished with seven multi-hit games which wasn’t too shabby for the situation he was called up in. However, his inability to walk — he worked just seven walks — was a concern and especially in the games where he went hitless. His bright spot at the plate this year was without a doubt his first multi-hit game which just so happened to be his first two major league home runs.
Adell, would go on and finish the year with a slash line of .161/.212/.266. However, to already call him a bust is just irresponsible. I may end up eating my words here, but I want to see a full season with the guy before I’m ready to sell him off. We’d all love to see everyone come into the league ready like Ken Griffey Jr. or Bryce Harper, but that’s just not the case.
Joe Maddon has made it a point to have Adell in the lineup as his right fielder and it seems like it will stay that way for the foreseeable future. The Show is a different animal, but Adell has hit at every level of the game and showed flashes of coming around towards the end of the season. Truth be told, unless he came up swinging like Mike Trout, he probably wouldn’t bat above fifth or sixth anyway because of this lineup mixed with David Fletcher, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, and Shohei Ohtani.
He doesn’t need to be the face of the franchise and take on all the pressure like some top prospects do. He’s in a unique situation being able to watch and learn from Mike Trout every single day. It doesn’t hurt to pick the brain of a World Series champ in Anthony Rendon or a future Hall of Famer like Albert Pujols either. Jo Adell just flat out looked like a rookie 2020 and that is okay. The Angels made a late season push and came up short, but Adell will go into next year not nearly as raw and has a whole offseason to work on things he now knows he needs to improve. The talent is there and I’ll keep believing that when it clicks for Jo Adell, it’s going to be a real joy to watch.