Angels outfielder and top prospect Jo Adell struggled through the 2020 season and he should probably start 2021 in the minors.
Jo Adell is absolutely dripping in talent. He was ranked as a consensus top-three prospect in Major League Baseball for a reason. While many prospects these days are immediately becoming stars upon their arrival to the majors a la Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña Jr., not all are. Adell should be shown full patience with considering just how talented he is. He can still become a superstar in the league — no 60 game shortened season should change that assessment.
To denote just how bad Adell was in 2020, we need to look at some of his numbers. Adell held a .161 batting average and .478 OPS. He mustered up just a 31 wRC+ and was the worst player in all of baseball in 2020 with a -1.3 WAR. He played in just 38 games. That’s horrifyingly bad.
As I mentioned, though, a bad 38-game stint is no reason to throw Adell in the trash prematurely. He’s an excellent young talent and he is only 21 years old. He has all the time in the world to deliver on his superstar potential. According to Angels manager Joe Maddon, the organization is planning to give him some additional time to figure it out — in the minor leagues. This is what Maddon had to say regarding Adell:
“He needs more time in minor leagues no question. He needs a normal pattern next year to get himself rolling, but this guy is ultra-talented. He has a lot of great things going for him. He needs a normal year to get his feet back underneath him.”
Maddon is exactly right and we will likely see Adell up at some point with the Angels, hopefully to provide a lineup jolt for a playoff push. It isn’t hard to see Adell being a star in this league some day, but there is no question whatsoever that the Angels rushed him to the big leagues in 2020. He wasn’t ready and his numbers showed it.
The Steamer projection system is currently projecting Adell to play 102 games this season and improve to an 80 wRC+. That’s a very likely scenario. At this point in time, the Angels need improvement and development out of Adell, not superstar production.