LA Angels: When will Jo Adell be ready for the big leagues?

Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

With young talent waiting for their shot in the big leagues, the future of the Angels outfield is bright. Among the players to keep a close eye on is Jo Adell.

After racing through the minor leagues, Adell made his MLB debut last summer. The 21-year-old struggled in 38 games, slashing .161/.212/.266 with three home runs and seven RBI while striking out 55 times in 132 plate appearances. Adell also struggled defensively, playing 34 games in right field.

It appeared he was rushed to the big leagues, and manager Joe Maddon explained earlier this offseason Adell would begin the 2021 season in the minors to continue developing. This was likely to take any added pressure off Adell, but there is still a possibility he could make the Opening Day roster with an impressive spring camp. The Angels are projected to start the season with Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Dexter Fowler in their outfield, while the reserve spots are up for grabs.

So far, Adell has been outplayed by Juan Lagares, who is running away as the team’s fourth outfielder. Taylor Ward has cooled off, but his versatility as an outfielder and catcher could give him the advantage to earn a roster spot.

Through 11 spring training games, Adell is slashing .182/.471/.455 with one home run and two RBI in 11 at-bats. Adell has also recorded six walks and five strikeouts. Defensively, it appears Adell could use more development. There have been multiple misplays by Adell so far in spring training. His latest came in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the White Sox, resulting in Adell being removed with a knee injury. The Angels later said it was for precautionary reasons.

A solid glove could make up for any offensive woes, but right now, it appears Adell needs more work in both departments before a permanent stay in the big leagues. It’s easy to be critical, but Adell is still raw in terms of his development. The soon-to-be 22-year-old has all of the necessary tools, and now it’s a matter of putting it together consistently.

Angels: Outfielder Jo Adell needs more work in the minor leagues this season.

The good news for Adell is that he will be learning from one of the game’s best in center field. The Angels have also acquired veterans this offseason with the hopes they can create a positive impact on the clubhouse culture.

At this rate, it doesn’t appear Adell will be in Anaheim on Opening Day. Unless he performs at a high-level in the final two and a half weeks of spring training, beginning the season at the Angels alternate site for at least one month is more than likely. The minor league season is expected to start in May.

Just when Adell is called up depends on how much help the Angels need in their outfield and how well he is performing. The Angels No.1 prospect Brandon Marsh and No.3 prospect Jordyn Adams will also be considered for MLB opportunities.

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The Angels currently have 15 spring training games remaining before the regular season begins on April 1.