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The Future of the Angels Outfield


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Adell-optioned.jpeg

The emergence of Taylor Ward as an elite hitter--as well as the slow development of Adell--has put a bit of a crimp in the Angels outfield outlook. Before the year, it was reasonable to assume that the Angels would platoon Ward, Marsh, and Adell in the corner spots, and let them hack it out for playing time all year long. Even last year, I presented various configurations on how the Angels could platoon Marsh and Adell with Upton, assuming Ward would be a bench guy. But Ward wasn't having any of it, and Adell is now in AAA.

But here's another "problem": Adell is absolutely crushing AAA pitching. He just hit an HR in his first AB tonight and is hitting .500 with 3 HR in four games. Oh yeah, he walked 4 times yesterday.

So the Angels have a "problem" - both in the near and long-term future: How to get Adell back in the lineup, when he's ready? Be that in a month or next year, it is going to happen. 

Ward is already 28, but is under club control through 2026 - that's 4.8 seasons of cheap offensive firepower, even if he chills out and becomes a more garden variety borderline star hitter in the 130-140 wRC+ range (and at this point, he could be a true 150+ wRC star).

Marsh (24) is under club-control through 2027, and Adell (23) through 2026. Meaning, basically all the same.

I know this question is unanswerable, but how do you see this playing out? Will the Angels trade one in July for another pitcher or a middle infielder? Or do they stash Adell in AAA all year until someone gets injured and/or go back to a platoon with Marsh? 

One other factor to consider is that Walsh is under club control through 2025, and had significant trade value so could also be traded and Ward moved to 1B. But that seems less likely.

It is a good problem to have, but hard to get my mind around - as far as what the Angels are likely to do.

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Given the recent health histories of Trout and Marsh, I would be reluctant to trade Adell (or Ward).  The OF depth drops off steeply and quickly.

Adell has had a good few days, but I would like to see him keep up good plate discipline for a prolonged stretch of time.  And again, given that injuries are part of the game, I would not be surprised to see him sooner than later.

I would rather try to figure out how to juggle players and playing time than trade anyone "too early," so to speak.

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3 minutes ago, Second Base said:

There most certainly won't be a platoon. It didn't work, and Marsh send to be hitting lefties fine, especially as a rookie. And I don't think Adell will be traded either. He has options, and these problems really do tend to work themselves out, brutally at times. Marsh got hurt a few times throughout the minors, abd Ward greens to get dinged up here and there too. And Trout has had freak injury issues the last three years or so and is now 30, the time where the Angels will want to start getting him off his feet more often. 

It's not likely than not that one or more will require IL stints unfortunately, not to mention Ohtani at DH. 

Adell will be back up at some point. 

But I think Adams is for sure gone

 

2 minutes ago, Warfarin said:

Given the recent health histories of Trout and Marsh, I would be reluctant to trade Adell (or Ward).  The OF depth drops off steeply and quickly.

Adell has had a good few days, but I would like to see him keep up good plate discipline for a prolonged stretch of time.  And again, given that injuries are part of the game, I would not be surprised to see him sooner than later.

I would rather try to figure out how to juggle players and playing time than trade anyone "too early," so to speak.

Here, I reposted for you (from the Minor League Thread)

Yeah, I hear you both about possible injuries - but it still sucks for Adell, if he never gets a chance. I mean it is possible that Ward, Trout, and Marsh are healthy all year. Probably unlikely, though.

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Just now, AngelsLakersFan said:

It will work itself out. As we’ve seen since they sent Adell down, we’ve seen a lot of bad infielders in the outfield. 

Yeah, I know, but...it is still a bit of a head-scratcher. I guess I'm extrapolating a month from now, assuming that the major league guys are still all healthy and Adell still keeps pounding AAA pitchers like they're minor leaguers. I mean, it is a good problem to have, as I said.

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2 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

 

Here, I reposted for you (from the Minor League Thread)

Yeah, I hear you both about possible injuries - but it still sucks for Adell, if he never gets a chance. I mean it is possible that Ward, Trout, and Marsh are healthy all year. Probably unlikely, though.

While it does suck for Adell, as recently as a week ago, he still didn't look very good as a MLB player.  That likely hasn't changed in a week.  He's also only 23 - an age when most are just getting their first exposure to AA or so.

I am all for Adell spending most of the rest of the year in the minors, if it helps him become a better MLB regular in the future.  Again, look at the evolution of Ward - he's having an amazing year at 28.  No one could have foreseen this level of production for him, even at the age of 26.  Players develop at different rates and ages.

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Just now, Angelsjunky said:

Yeah, I know, but...it is still a bit of a head-scratcher. I guess I'm extrapolating a month from now, assuming that the major league guys are still all healthy and Adell still keeps pounding AAA pitchers like they're minor leaguers. I mean, it is a good problem to have, as I said.

I think there are enough at bats to go around. Ward has shown enough that I think he could possibly play at first or third here and there. Maddon has already shown that he wants to give guys days off. Ohtani could use a day off every once and awhile too. 

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Just now, Revad said:

If Ohtani leaves I might become suicidal but it would open up DH and playing time, most likely for Trout and Adell.

I suspect Ohtani will be signed to a mega deal.  Arte will offer him a huge deal, and as long as this team is winning and successful, I think Ohtani will stay put.  That's why it's so great to see him succeed and see this team having a strong start of the year - it likely bodes well for us retaining Ohtani (as does us not signing other players to big deals in the interim).

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9 minutes ago, Warfarin said:

While it does suck for Adell, as recently as a week ago, he still didn't look very good as a MLB player.  That likely hasn't changed in a week.  He's also only 23 - an age when most are just getting their first exposure to AA or so.

I am all for Adell spending most of the rest of the year in the minors, if it helps him become a better MLB regular in the future.  Again, look at the evolution of Ward - he's having an amazing year at 28.  No one could have foreseen this level of production for him, even at the age of 26.  Players develop at different rates and ages.

OK, fair enough. Still, what about long-term? If Adell kills it in the minors, Ward is good all year, and Marsh slowly improves, they have one extra guy - a major trade chip. 

7 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

I think there are enough at bats to go around. Ward has shown enough that I think he could possibly play at first or third here and there. Maddon has already shown that he wants to give guys days off. Ohtani could use a day off every once and awhile too. 

Sure, but that's only true if they feel Adell has nothing more to work on in AAA. I suppose later in the year, or next, they can revisit the "mega-platoon" option.

5 minutes ago, Warfarin said:

I suspect Ohtani will be signed to a mega deal.  Arte will offer him a huge deal, and as long as this team is winning and successful, I think Ohtani will stay put.  That's why it's so great to see him succeed and see this team having a strong start of the year - it likely bodes well for us retaining Ohtani (as does us not signing other players to big deals in the interim).

I think so too. He'll get crazy money. The dude hasn't even reached his level with the bat and he's top 10 in overall WAR. If he leads the majors in WAR again, we're talking something like $40M a year, although probably more like 8 years than 10+.

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2 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Sure, but that's only true if they feel Adell has nothing more to work on in AAA. I suppose later in the year, or next, they can revisit the "mega-platoon" option.

I think the team is better with Adell on it. That said, it’s probably better for Jo, in the short term, to stay down in AAA to get regular AB’s and work on his defense every day.

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1 minute ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

I think the team is better with Adell on it. That said, it’s probably better for Jo, in the short term, to stay down in AAA to get regular AB’s and work on his defense every day.

Yes, agreed. Right now this is a moot point - Adell needs the playing time, if only to gain confidence in his bat and shag some fly balls. But let's say July is around the corner, and everyone is playing well - and Adell still in AAA. I wouldn't be surprised if he was floated in a trade to bring in someone for the stretch run, especially if no one nails down the sixth spot in the rotation, or the middle infield remains problematic.

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9 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Yes, agreed. Right now this is a moot point - Adell needs the playing time, if only to gain confidence in his bat and shag some fly balls. But let's say July is around the corner, and everyone is playing well - and Adell still in AAA. I wouldn't be surprised if he was floated in a trade to bring in someone for the stretch run, especially if no one nails down the sixth spot in the rotation, or the middle infield remains problematic.

I think trading Adell would be a mistake

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18 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

I think trading Adell would be a mistake

Yes, agreed. But again, if he's dominating AAA, how long can they keep him there? As you said, it will likely work itself - whether through injury, someone struggling, or just finding the playing time somehow. 

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On a serious note, everyone talks about trading Adell. And if Ward is still hitting like Mike Trout in July, his stock will be high. But for now, teams will be wary of his sudden offensive explosion so his value won't be as high.

So I wonder if the most valuable trade piece is actually Brandon Marsh. He's already great defensively and has shown he can hit, and he has speed. He's quickly becoming a proven commodity at a ripe young age.

But I don't want to see him go. I don't want to see any of these guys on other teams.

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From MLBTR

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 157 wRC+.  There’s little question Bogaerts will opt out of his contract after the season, but the 10-19 Red Sox at least have a fighting shot at the playoffs this year (FanGraphs gives a 21.8% chance).  If the team fades further, it’ll make sense to put Bogaerts on the market.  However, Bogaerts has full no-trade protection, so he controls his fate.  The Angels and Cardinals could make for good matches.

Would you trade Adell for Bogaerts? This would improve the Angels playoff odds for the near term.  Ohtani, Trout and Rendon are not getting any younger. 2002 was a long time ago.

 

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I really want then to move their AAA team out of altitude.  So much is lost between how the ball spins there and what a player can expect in mlb.  I want the players to progress from a development perspective and not just adjust to some stupid park.  

I bring this up because I just don't think being in AAA is helping Adell all that much.  Maybe a little.  But not to the extent that I'd want.  He's destroying fastballs and breaking pitches that don't break as much.  And even in the OF, the ball doesn't come off the bat the same way and doesn't move like it does at sea level.  

My biggest concern about any of the OFers right now is Adell's defense.  I think he'd hit well enough even now to put a solid offensive season together at the major league level.  

I wouldn't trade any of them any time soon though and stashing Jo in the minors is probably the best option for now.  He's a legit defensive liability in LF.  That said, I don't remember him being as bad in RF.  Or CF for that matter.  

I would consider trading Adell or Ward but only for a front line starter with 3 years of control.  And hell no to bogaerts or any other half year rental for any of these guys.  Boston shouldn't and wouldn't expect that type of return anyway.  If they do, they're not getting squat from the Angels.  

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Posted (edited)

Just taking a shot at the future here. Just a guess, unless I get it right in which case I totally knew it the whole time. 

Marsh does a solid job in 2022. He doesn't reach his peak form or really anywhere near it, but his baseline skill set is enough to make him a commodity .260 15 HR 15 SB. But starting in 2023 through 2026, he's going to be threatening or achieving 30/30 every year, which will come on the strength of him learning how to pull the ball with power and that short fence in RF. Currently, the majority of his pop is to CF. 

Ward turns into Josh Donaldson, and hits .280-ish with 30-40 HR for the next five years. 

Trout doesn't show any signs of slowing down. 

Adell continues to absolutely destroy AAA pitching, but with no discernible path to playing time. But he does do some things in September that makes us think he's got it figured out. 

Over next winter, the Angels and Marlins get together and hammer out a change of scenery swap, Jo Adell for Edward Cabrera. 

In 2023, Cabrera is inconsistent, but healthy in Anaheim while Adell reaches another gear in Miami, batting .260 with 30 HR. But he's still a flawed player, his OBP still hovers around .310 or .320 And despite the 15 SB he adds, he's still a below average defender. 

And that's what Adell remains for the rest of his career. Good power, but never reaches star level status because defense and OBP still be shortcomings. Meanwhile, beginning in 2024 and beyond, Cabrera will be a very good, durable mid rotation starter for the Angels, teaming with Ohtani, Syndergaard, Sandoval Detmers, and Silseth to form an incredibly strong rotation for the Angels. 

Edited by Second Base
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9 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

OK, fair enough. Still, what about long-term? If Adell kills it in the minors, Ward is good all year, and Marsh slowly improves, they have one extra guy - a major trade chip. 

While that's a definite possibility, there are three "IFs" to that statement (IF Adell .. Ward .. Marsh).

I would wager one at least one of our four OFers (including Trout) being injured at some point.  I agree with @Dochalo that the best idea is to probably stash Adell somewhere, so that we have all 4 OFers for now.

What will happen in 2023?  I don't know, hard to say.  But again, a lot can happen between now and then.  Entering last offseason, I mean we all assumed it'd be Trout, Adell, Marsh - who knew that Ward would become Mike Trout offensively?

For now, I think I'll just enjoy the fact that we have 3 legit OFers right now, with a 4th very promising one that just needs more development.

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9 hours ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

I think the team is better with Adell on it. That said, it’s probably better for Jo, in the short term, to stay down in AAA to get regular AB’s and work on his defense every day.

15 AAA at bats, 4 2Bs, 4 BBs, 3 HRs, OPS near 2.000, but he flubbed a play at the wall. 

Dude needs to get better defensively.  All the offense in the world means squat if he's no better than a Home Depot bucket with a hat and uniform out in the field.

What makes it worse is how much better Marsh looks defensively when he's out there.

 

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