Jo Adell finally looks like he could be breaking out thanks to one key change

As it turns out, Jo Adell can be really good at baseball after all thanks to a major adjustment on his part.
Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels
Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

One of the biggest decisions the Los Angeles Angels had to make coming into the 2024 season was what to do with Jo Adell. Based on pure talent and athleticism, Adell is one of the highest ceiling players in all of baseball. However, he had never been able to put things together in the big leagues after multiple call-ups and was at a crossroads this year, as he was out of minor-league options.

The Angels chose to keep him around out of camp, and Adell seems to have finally figured things out. In his 43 plate appearances this year, Adell is slashing .313/.372/.553 while showcasing his power and speed, despite the fact that some umpires can't seem to figure out what he looks like when he is safe. It is still early, but Adell's results have been legitimately great, while his competition for playing time in the Angels' outfield, Mickey Moniak and Aaron Hicks, haven't exactly lit the world on fire.

There are a lot of people trying to figure out the cause of Adell's turnaround. Jeff Fletcher at the OCR put together a great piece on Adell's improved approach and opposite-field hitting paying dividends. Jeff is 1000% correct and that has played a big role. However, there is another huge factor in play, and that is Adell lifting the ball a lot more these days.

Jo Adell's improved ground ball and line drive rates have unlocked his potential again for LA Angels

Everyone talks about wanting guys to "just put the ball in play," but it isn't as simple as that. A guy could strike out 10% of the time, but if all he does is hit soft fly balls and rollers to short, that means absolutely nothing. Adell certainly has the strength to hit the ball hard, as his maximum exit velocities the last three years have been nutty, but one big problem he has had is that he hasn't been able to put the barrel on the ball. Instead, he's rolled over a lot of pitches, with ground ball rates of 43.5%, 47.5%, 40.7%, and 48.5% in each of the last four seasons. No matter how fast a guy is, those grounder rates aren't going to lead to much very often.

The alterations to Adell's approach in 2024 have yielded a big change here. Yes, he is pulling the ball a lot less and instead shooting the ball up the middle a lot more, but the biggest change may actually be in how he is elevating the ball, as his ground ball rate has dipped all the way to 31%, while his line drive rate rocketed up to 44.8%. Line drives are almost always good, and have led to vastly improved batted ball characteristics for Adell across the board in 2024.

Asking Adell to hit line drives half the time is probably not going to happen over 162 games. However, it does show that his swing is in a great place right now, and that he is seeing and recognizing pitches well. All he has to do it impact the ball and let his crazy tools do the rest of the work. If he can just do that, Adell could end up turning into the star that so many Angels fans were hoping he would be.

More LA Angels News from Halo Hangout