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OC Register: Angels top prospect Jo Adell is on the doorstep of the big leagues


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  • LDN-L-ANGELS-0223-03-KJS.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels outfielder Jo Adell takes live batting practice on the lower fields during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • LDN-L-ANGELS-0223-01-KJS.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels outfielder Jo Adell takes a break during live batting practice on the lower fields during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • LDN-L-ANGELS-0223-02-KJS.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels prospect Jo Adell warms up during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • LDN-L-ANGELS-0223-05-KJS-2.jpg

    Angels manager Joe Maddon has been impressed by his first spring-training glimpses of top prospect Jo Adell. “I saw what everybody’s talking about,” Maddon said. “He got loud. He’s going to get loud for many years.” (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • LDN-L-ANGELS-0223-04-KJS.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels prospects Jo Adell, left, and Brandon Marsh head to the lower fields during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • LDN-L-ANGELSPHOTO-0218-39-KJS-1.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels outfielder Jo Adell poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • LDN-ANGELS-SPRING-0224-KB771.jpg

    Jo Adell #59 of the Los Angeles Angels during a MLB spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • LDN-ANGELS-SPRING-0224-KB761.jpg

    Jo Adell #59 of the Los Angeles Angels during a MLB spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • LDN-ANGELS-PHOTO-DAY-0220-KB1751.jpg

    Angels outfield prospect Jo Adell ascended through three levels of the team’s minor league system in 2018 and is considered one of the most promising all-around talents in the sport. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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TEMPE, Ariz. — This time last year, Jo Adell was in his first big league camp, essentially just to get a taste.

Now he’s back, but this time with an outside chance to make the team.

“I feel more relaxed,” the Angels’ top prospect said. “I think guys are more comfortable with me. I’m more comfortable. I’m just getting in and getting to work… I’m going to go get after it, and whatever happens is going to happen.”

Adell, 20, is coming off a rollercoaster season, one that began with an injury in spring training that cost him two months, followed by an ascent from Class-A to Double-A to Triple-A. He finished up with a stint in the Arizona Fall League and then a spot with Team USA in an Olympic qualifying tournament.

Adell was the star of Team USA, hitting .394 with three homers in 33 at-bats in the tournament in Japan.

“It was busy, man,” Adell said. “It was good. Playing with Team USA is pretty awesome. You can’t really give that experience up.”

Adell said the atmosphere was electric in Japan, and also he enjoyed the urgency of a tournament.

“It was all about the winning,” he said. “It wasn’t about individual performances. It was like playing postseason baseball.”

The team failed to qualify for the Olympics. They’ll have one more chance in a tournament next month in Arizona, although Adell still isn’t sure if the Angels will let him play in such an event just days before Opening Day.

The Angels, of course, have higher aspirations for Adell, who is listed as high as No. 2 in all of baseball in prospect rankings. He is the best prospect to come through the Angels system since Mike Trout.

Manager Joe Maddon said a recent live batting practice session against Dylan Bundy demonstrated Adell’s potential.

“He really squared some stuff up, right on it,” Maddon said. “I saw what everybody’s talking about. He got loud. He’s going to get loud for many years.”

Asked how far Adell is from being ready for the majors, Maddon said: “Not far. I gotta see it in games. Practice is one thing. The game exposes exactly what needs to be worked on.”

General manager Billy Eppler has several times referred to the difficulties Adell experienced after he got to Triple-A last summer as evidence that he might need a return visit to iron out some issues.

Adell hit .308 with a .944 OPS last season at Double-A, before hitting .264 with a .676 OPS at Triple-A. He was not credited with any homers at Salt Lake, although he hit two in a game that was rained out before it could become official.

Adell said it took him some time to adjust to the higher quality of pitching.

“There’s nothing that’s going to be laying there over the plate,” Adell said. “They are going to nitpick around the zone. Don’t miss a fastball. Don’t miss those pitches that you can drive. Capitalize on those mistakes. They are only going to make a couple, so you gotta make do with them.”

The speed with which Adell makes those adjustments will determine when the Angels bring him to the big leagues.

There has been speculation that the Angels would be sure to keep Adell in the minors at least 15 days, because that’s the amount of time would get them another year of control before Adell is eligible for free agency.

However, it’s worth noting that there will be a new collective bargaining agreement after 2021, and the rules may change. Also, the Angels didn’t take the opportunity to manipulate Shohei Ohtani’s service time in 2018. He had a terrible spring, and no one would have questioned if they’d started him in the minors, but they put him on the Opening Day roster.

Adell said he’s trying not to think about any of that.

“I can’t have an expectation for something that I can’t really control,” Adell said. “It’s out of my hands.”

ALSO

Shohei Ohtani threw off a mound on Sunday, a small step toward preparing to pitch this season. Ohtani is not scheduled to pitch in regular season games until mid May. The Angels are limiting his innings this season and they’d prefer to have him available at the end than the beginning…

Anthony Rendon rejoined the team on Sunday after being away for the birth of his daughter. Rendon may be able to play in his first Cactus League game as soon as Tuesday, Maddon said.

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