Angels’ Jo Adell continues to find his stride after early career struggles – Orange County Register

ANAHEIM — Player development is rarely linear. For every Ronald Acuña or Juan Soto who becomes an instant star in the majors, there’s a Jose Ramirez or Austin Riley who takes multiple years to find their stride.

Jo Adell appreciates that better than most. After years of struggling, the former top prospect is finally beginning to blossom.

Adell, 25, has been a bright spot for the Angels this season. The 2017 first-round pick entered Saturday batting .267/.327/.529, all career-highs, and ranked second on the team in RBIs (15), stolen bases (7) and OPS (.855).

“I’ve kind of found out what’s worked for me and getting those pitches to drive,” Adell said, “and I’ve done a good job of not missing those mistakes.”

The most significant improvements Adell made have been shortening his swing and improving his strike-zone discipline.

Adell struck out in 35.4% of his plate appearances in his first four seasons while struggling with a long swing and a habit of chasing out of the strike zone.

During spring training, he focused on hunting for pitches in specific zones rather than trying to cover the entire plate. The result has been a naturally shorter swing and better pitch selection. With the improvements, he’s cut his strikeout rate to 24.5%.

“It’s just being ready for my pitch in my location, and I think that ends up kind of shortening the swing just on a mindset,” Adell said. “I’m definitely shorter to the ball and getting those pitches a little bit better. I’m definitely more so in the mindset of what I’m looking for and then being ready to get the barrel there.”

Indeed, Adell is getting the barrel to the ball on par with some of the best of the game this year. He’s barreling balls in 10.2% of his plate appearances, as measured by Statcast. That’s good for 15th-best in the major leagues, just ahead of Aaron Judge.

“This spring, I think he opened himself up to people suggesting things to him,” Angels manager Ron Washington said, “and showing him that they care about him and helping him get to the potential that everybody thinks he has. And now he’s getting the chance to play and he’s showing it.”

Adell still has things to work on. He’s been caught stealing five times, second-most in the majors, and his chase rate remains above the major league average.

But he’s finally hitting, and in the process, leaving the struggles of the past behind.

“It’s kind of made me who I am,” Adell said. “It’s made me not take anything for granted. Knowing that it’s not going to be a base hit every at-bat, it’s not going to go my way every time, I just focus on my craft and stay the course.”


Miguel Sano has begun taking grounders at third base, but there is still no timeline for his return, Washington said.

Sano has not played since April 26 due to right knee inflammation. He hit .262/.352/.361 in 21 games before going on the IL.

“He’s doing better. He’s not ready to be out on the field (for games) yet,” Washington said. “But yesterday he took ground balls. He’s going to do it again today. We just gotta see how he recovers. Hopefully we can have him back soon.”

The Angels have used four different starting third basemen in 14 games since Sano’s injury. Niko Goodrum, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Thursday, made his second straight start at third base Saturday.


Royals (RHP Seth Lugo, 5-1, 1.92 ERA) at Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 2-5, 4.85 ERA), Sunday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, KLAA 830 AM

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