Angels top prospect Jo Adell struggled in his first MLB stint, but Scott Boras believes he has a solution to the problem.
Jo Adell, who is represented by Scott Boras, struggled mightily in his first season with the Angels as he slashed .161/.212/.266 with only 20 hits in 124 at-bats, keep in mind the short 60 game season. In those 60 games, Adell played in 38 of them since he was called up and the team was going through it’s own slump and was already 3-7 for the season prior to calling Adell up.
There was no doubt Adell was ready for the big leagues, but the team also needed something to re-energize themselves after a poor start. Unfortunately for the Angels and for Adell, his call up didn’t help the team much and saw themselves once again narrowly missing the postseason even with the expanded postseason.
Obviously this wasn’t a normal season at all with it being only 60 games, but this wasn’t a normal year for players at all with getting tested for COVID-19, practicing under new conditions, and not being able to do the normal routines that they are accustomed too.
There should be no doubt that the talent for Adell is still there and he’s not a bust, but some slack should be given for his struggles as he wasn’t able to get the proper mentorship as Boras stated.
He wasn’t able to hangout with his teammates after games, his teammates were in struggles of their own prior to his call up, and the pressure to perform right away all might have been factors that contributed to his struggles. Hopefully with a new season that hopefully has relaxed safety protocols, a new general manager to keep things in check, and less pressure to perform great right away, Adell can get the proper mentoring from veteran players.
In an article by former baseball player, Dirk Hayurst, he writes about team chemistry and how it could help build a successful team. Within the piece, he writes his experience as being one of the newer players in the clubhouse stating “For a young player trying to find his footing in the majors, that 2008 Padres club had one of the worst atmospheres one could be in.
The prolonged failure had worn them down to the point where failing was accepted with a general sense of apathy, winning felt ironic and one was interested or committed to pick a teammate up.” This kind of quote sounds familiar to what the Angels have been experiencing and while Hayurst wasn’t on the same talent level as Adell is currently on, their stories aren’t too different. Hayurst came to the Padres when they were 48-80, well out of the race for the postseason and was already used to losing.
While the Angels weren’t in that particular spot and still fighting for a postseason spot, that feeling of losing could have carried over from last season when the team finished 72-90. Within the piece by Hayurst, he gives a nod to current Angels manager Joe Maddon by stating “Tampa Bay Rays skipper Joe Maddon is often cited as one of the best player managers in baseball. It’s not because he fills lockers with animals or knows the math of player interaction.
It’s because he’s good at distracting a team from focusing on its shortcomings long enough for its inherent talent to string a few wins together and get things back on track.” So if mentoring is one of the reasons why Adell struggled in 2020, then the Angels may have some luck should things get back to normal for the 2021 season.
They will have a manager that knows how to keep a team distracted from that losing atmosphere. They have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout to show Adell the ropes and who knows about struggling out of the gate. They also have another Boras client in Anthony Rendon, who, while might be adjusting to a new league and team, can help Adell knowing that they have the same agent and could have certain views aligned. While the Angels do need to see Jo Adell produce in 2021 if the team wants any shot at making the postseason, the lack of a mentor could be the reason for his struggles.