Angels prospect Jo Adell is one of the best athletes in baseball. Yes, there are not many baseball players who elevate for a 63″ box jump.
But Adell’s hitting ability and power may end up being even more impressive than his hops. The Angels No. 2 prospect hit .325/.376/.532 last season between the Rookie-level AZL Angels and Rookie-level Orem. That hitting ability was on display again Friday, when he found the opposite field power alley for a single followed by an easy home run over the left field fence.
In the summer before his senior year of high school, Adell often looked overmatched at the plate against top competition. But he tweaked and simplified his swing heading into this senior year, improving his ability to make contact. That improved contact has carried over to pro baseball.
“The Angels and Jeremy Reed, our hitting coordinator, are really big on decision making, having a rhythm at the plate and having the same approach at the plate,” Adell said. “You have the same mindset that you’re going to be in rhythm. You’re going to find a pitch to drive. We’re looking to find an early pitch to drive into the gap.
“We’ve really been big in having rhythm at the plate, keeping all the parts moving, not being static. That’s huge for me.”
Adell did not play a game in the field last season as the Angels kept him from throwing to allow a shoulder injury to heal. He’s back to full speed this spring. On Friday, he was part of an exceptionally athletic outfield as he roamed center field while Brandon Marsh and Torii Hunter Jr., manned the corners.
“The shoulder and everything is perfect. I was cleared to play outfield in the middle of the season last year,” Adell said. “Billy (Eppler) was just taking care of me. I pitched a little bit (in high school). It feels good to be back out there. It’s one thing to be in the batter’s box, but being able to do both parts is important to me.”
Adell throws from the outfield haven’t yet matched the excellent arm strength he showed in high school (he was 92-94 mph off the mound), but in every other aspect, Adell has impressively gotten better and better since high school.
“It’s all about preparing for 140 games. That’s a lot of ball. We get here about six we don’t leave til around six. It’s all about can you handle a full day,” Adell said.
Angels righthander Jose Soriano already has plenty of arm speed and velocity, but it’s what he could become that makes him a young arm to watch.
Soriano, who ranked 14th on the Angels Top 30 Prospects list this offseason, has grown three inches in the past two years while adding several ticks to his fastball, but his long-limbed, lanky body shows that the 19-year-old still has plenty of room to fill out. He sat 95-96 mph in his one inning of work on Friday, mixing in a mid-80s slider that generated some swings and misses.
Angels 1B Jared Walsh hit a mammoth home run off of Diamondbacks righthander Yoan Lopez in the ninth-inning of a back fields game on Friday. The 2015 39th-round pick out of Georgia deposited the ball on the roof of the Angels’ clubhouse beyond right field, drawing gasps from many of the players.