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Fangraphs - Jo Adell talks hitting


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Is his ceiling even that high anymore honestly?  I get it, he's only 23, is smart and well spoken, has the power, etc. and I want to see our guys succeed more than anyone.  But I think the deficiencies he still has in his game at this point are too major for him to be anything other than "just a guy".

His defensive routes/reaction times are abysmal, and even when he's in the right spot he still makes the easy plays look hard.  His arm accuracy is low.  His contact rates even on pitches in the zone are among the worst in MLB, on top of his awful plate approach.  

I'd say just keep him in the minors the entire year, let him build back his confidence, and play him in LF/RF every single day to get the reps.  

 

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Yeah, his ceiling is high. He's just missing the "middle part" - the fine-tuned skills of plate discipline, maybe pitch recognition, and of course, defense. Sometimes these guys work out, sometimes not. If Adell improves a bit on all accounts and just gets more time and confidence, he'll still be a good player; if he does all that but also greatly improves his plate discipline and defense, he'll be a star.

As I said elsewhere, I think the Angels didn't take a great approach to his development: they seemingly let him ride on his talent, perhaps thinking the other things would work themselves out naturally. What ended up happening is that he sky-rocketed through the minors, and then was prematurely called up in 2020. I don't know for sure, but it seems they continued their relaxed approach in 2021, although he did start developing slightly better plate discipline in the minors towards mid-season, and overall he hasn't been as bad in 2021/22 as he was in 2020. But his play still shows big developmental gaps.

While hindsight is 20-20, what I think they should have done is hammer down on fundamentals--especially plate discipline--from the time he was drafted, and now just been wowed by his natural talent. Also, recognize that he was never going to play CF in the majors, and put him in LF/RF in the minors (a lot of future corner guys play CF in the minors, in a similar way that many/most relievers start as starters). If they had taken that approach, he'd probably have gotten his first cup last year, and be doing a lot better this year.

But the silver lining is that Adell's struggles have opened the door for Ward's breakthrough.

 

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Fair enough.

If he can regain his AAA form and match or exceed those previous contact and walk rates (7%+) with much improved defense over a full season, I'll gain some more optimism. 

I think overall he just needs reps and confidence.  Sitting and platooning over the first 20 games was just a cycle of him playing a game, making a horrendous blunder, and then sitting and thinking about for two or three more days before playing again.  I think in general the stupid platoons with very young players trying to gain experience is another one of my Maddon gripes, but it is what it is.  But with Ward looking like he's emerging as the every day RF option, the problem pretty much took care of itself anyways and will hopefully allow Adell to stick around the Bees.

 

 

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People's expectations for Adell are that it's just gonna click one day and he becomes that dynamic player everyone has been waiting for.  His level of athleticism and his intelligence probably warrants that expectation but unfortunately, it doesn't always work like that.  He been perceived as this potential 'savant' but that perception needs to change where small incremental improvements are acceptable.  There's nothing wrong with him becoming a good player in 2025 as a 26 year old about to enter his conventional prime.  

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On 5/6/2022 at 9:20 AM, Reveille1984 said:

Is his ceiling even that high anymore honestly?  I get it, he's only 23, is smart and well spoken, has the power, etc. and I want to see our guys succeed more than anyone.  But I think the deficiencies he still has in his game at this point are too major for him to be anything other than "just a guy".

His defensive routes/reaction times are abysmal, and even when he's in the right spot he still makes the easy plays look hard.  His arm accuracy is low.  His contact rates even on pitches in the zone are among the worst in MLB, on top of his awful plate approach.  

I'd say just keep him in the minors the entire year, let him build back his confidence, and play him in LF/RF every single day to get the reps.  

 

You got to stop thinking about him as a finished product and instead as a prospect. He has made significant improvements since 2020 in just about every aspect of his game. Yes he still has huge deficiencies and I no longer think he's capable of being an above average defender BUT it's the rate of improvement that matters. As long as he is still clearly developing, as a 23 year old with a high ceiling, there isn't reason to worry.

Of course there are a lot of people who placed unreasonable expectations on him from the start, and to them he will probably always be a bust, in the same way that some always saw Howie Kendrick or Jeff Mathis as a bust.

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The longer I watch the game, the more I realize that success in this game all comes down to adjustments. 

Whoever adjusts quicker and better, will experience success. The isn't a single player in the modern game, that has been a great player in the pros on talent alone. Talent alone can probably get you to AA without much effort, but at that point, you can't just middle your way to the top. Because at that point guys are as talented as you, but combine it with intelligence, hard work and a thirst for victory. 

Jo Adell has as much talent and athleticism as anyone, but as far as I can tell, it takes him a while to adjust. That doesn't mean he won't be successful. It might click for him and he'll find something he can rely on that works. 

Look at Taylor Ward. It took him a few years for it to click in the minors and it took a few more years in the majors for it to click at the top level. 

Among the things that set Mike Trout apart, is the pace at which he adjusts. It changes for him at bat to at bat and I've never seen that before. 

Probably the most talented player ever is Shohei. He wasn't successful, then he changed his timing as a better which is something you never want to do in the middle of the season and with the implementation of a toe tap he turns into an offensive monster after scouts all doubted his ability to translate as a hitter. 

We'll see if Jo adjusts. I think he will. 

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25 minutes ago, halonatic13 said:

I know his defense is terrible in the majors, but didn't anyone see this as a problem in the minors?  It's not like the game is different for outfielders in AA or AAA.  We should know very well whether his defense was up to par already.

Yes I’m sure everyone saw it. 

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This is my issue with Adell. It's like it doesn't register with him that he's one of the worst left fielders in baseball and his K rate and lack of consistency in hitting isn't forcing us to keep him up and play him despite that. These things are obvious to literally everyone who watches him. But Adell? "Adell said his demotion came out of nowhere" and he "was shocked". 🤦🏻‍♂️

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9 minutes ago, Pancake Bear said:

This is my issue with Adell. It's like it doesn't register with him that he's one of the worst left fielders in baseball and his K rate and lack of consistency in hitting isn't forcing us to keep him up and play him despite that. These things are obvious to literally everyone who watches him. But Adell? "Adell said his demotion came out of nowhere" and he "was shocked". 🤦🏻‍♂️

Or Joe isn’t the communicator that everyone praises him to be. 

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I swear his defense wasn't THIS bad in the minors.  He's never been a guy to get great jumps but at mlb he's horrible at it.  I'm sure they've checked him for eye issues but his depth perception seems like a real problem.  You can literally do a one to two count between when the ball is hit and when he's starts to move toward where it's hit.  

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He's not wrong. He has nothing left to prove in the minors.

Unfortunately Ward is the best hitter on the team right now and Marsh is holding his own at the plate and playing good defense. Mike Trout.

There's no spot for him. If he was playing even below average defense he'd likely be platooning with Marsh. But he plays catastrophically bad defense, and his bat isn't making enough noise.

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4 minutes ago, Stradling said:

Or Joe isn’t the communicator that everyone praises him to be. 

If Jo isn't aware that he's been a poor defender and takes horrible routes and they haven't communicated that with him, then that's two problems.  Jo's lack of self awareness and poor communication.  

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4 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

If Jo isn't aware that he's been a poor defender and takes horrible routes and they haven't communicated that with him, then that's two problems.  Jo's lack of self awareness and poor communication.  

I was more referring to being surprised by the demotion.

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Anticipation is key in this sport.  You have to have a reasonable ability to project and predict what is likely to happen before it happens.  And you need to know very quickly what you need to do on each play before you play it.  Jo is never ready and able to slow the game down because he’s anticipated, he’s always a step behind.  He just doesn’t understand the game yet.  

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That comment by Adell is a bit worrisome, and what I was alluding to in response to the Fangraphs piece. On one hand, you want a player to have confidence in his talent, on the other he should have self-awareness about what he needs to work on.

As I said elsewhere, Marsh isn't so good (yet) that LF is a platoon is out of the question. But he's good enough--or better enough than Adell--that it makes sense to give him the job.

Compounding Adell's problem is the fact that Ward has emerged as one of the best players on the team. I mean, we're all shocked. Now his numbers will trend down, but presumably not so far that it would warrant him not being a full-time player.

All of which brings me to: there isn't really a place for Jo Adell on this team, whether this year or the next few. Unless Marsh doesn't develop, and unless Ward is a total fluke. So it may be that the Angels are stashing him in AAA as a trade piece, once they pin-point what they need for a playoff run.

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