Former Angels top-prospect Jo Adell will begin the 2021 season at the team’s alternate site before transitioning to triple-A. The Halos announced on Sunday that Adell is one of four players who were cut from spring camp. Infielder Matt Thaiss, right-hander Kyle Keller, and left-hander Jose Suarez were the other players optioned.
Adell came into camp looking to improve on a short rookie campaign in 2020. Last summer, Adell slashed .161/.212/.266 with three home runs and seven RBI with 55 strikeouts in 38 games. The 21-year-old also struggled defensively.
Earlier this offseason, manager Joe Maddon explained Adell would begin the 2021 season in the Minors to continue developing. I think that was mostly to take some pressure off Adell, but there was still a possibility to make the Opening Day roster with a solid camp.
There was some improvement from Adell offensively as he finished with a line of .263/.440/.663 with two home runs and six RBI through 15 games. Adell also had six strikeouts and six walks in 25 plate appearances. Last season Adell managed just seven walks in 132 plate appearances. While he’s flexed his home run power, Adell still needs work as an outfielder. There were multiple misplays in right and center field that added to the decision.
Also playing a factor to cut Adell is the emergence of Juan Lagares, Taylor Ward, and Scott Schebler. All three outfielders have posted a batting average above .350 this spring and will need the most repetitions in the battle for the fourth outfielder spot.
There is a chance we see Adell at some point later this season, but it depends on a few things. The production of veteran outfielders Dexter Fowler and Justin Upton, and how well Adell is playing in the Minors. If the Angels are winning games, they won’t rush Adell or their other young talents like Brandon Marsh or Jordyn Adams to the big leagues.
The corner outfield spots have paths for Adell, Marsh, and Adams, but that’s not the case for Thaiss in the infield. There was a chance Thaiss could have earned a spot as a reserve, but a poor spring camp had the Angels go in another direction.
The same could be said about Keller and Suarez. Injuries to Felix Pena and Aaron Slegers leave two open spots in the projected bullpen, but neither player took advantage of their opportunities.
2021 Spring Training Statistics:
- INF Matt Thaiss: (2-for-17) 19 PA 1 BB 8 SO
- RHP Kyle Keller (6 games): 7.1 IP 5 ER 7 H 3 BB 9 SO
- LHP Jose Suarez (3 games): 4.2 IP 2 ER 4 H 3 BB 8 SO
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I think it’s too early to call Adell a bust. He’s still young, and there’s a lot of raw talent to work with. Adell will get more opportunities at the big league level at some point this season, and by then, we’ll see what adjustments have been made.