The Angels announced this afternoon they’ve optioned outfielder Jo Adell to Triple-A Salt Lake. Utilityman Jose Rojas has been recalled to take his spot on the active roster.
Adell has been considered one of the sport’s most talented young players for some time. Baseball America slotted him among the top two prospects in the Angels’ system every year between 2018 (his first season after being selected 10th overall in the previous draft) and 2021, when he exhausted his prospect eligibility. Heading into last year, BA ranked him the game’s 13th-best prospect. Evaluators raved about his combination of power and speed, but the 23-year-old has yet to establish himself at the major league level.
During the shortened 2020 season, Adell broke into the majors and played 38 games. He hit just .161/.212/.266, and he spent the first half of last year on optional assignment. After beginning the season at the alternate training site, he was sent to Salt Lake. Through the end of July, he hit .289/.342/.592 in 339 plate appearances. That was above-average overall output highlighted by a massive 23 homers in 73 games, but Adell also struck out in 29.2% of his trips to the plate against a subpar 6.5% walk rate.
Upon being recalled to the big leagues in early August, Adell hit .246/.295/.408 in 35 contests. That marked a notable improvement over his 2020 production but was still ten percentage points below the league average, by measure of wRC+. He broke camp with the big league club this year but has gotten off to a disappointing start. Through 66 plate appearances, he’s hitting .231/.242/.431. Adell’s three homers and four doubles have led to a respectable slugging output — particularly in the context of a brutal offensive month leaguewide — but he’s punched out 24 times while drawing just a single walk.
In addition to those worrisome strikeout and walk numbers, Adell has had a rough go defensively. Statcast has pegged him as four outs below average to this point, tied for the second-worst mark among outfielders. The Angels will send him back to Salt Lake for further work on both sides of the ball in hopes that his next promotion to the big leagues can be permanent.
Adell entered this season with one year and 44 days of MLB service time. He has spent about 26 days on the active roster this year, bringing him up to around one year and 70 days altogether. Players are credited with a full year of service upon reaching 172 days on an active roster (or MLB injured list). If Adell is recalled before the last week of June and sticks in the majors from that point forward, he’d still remain on track to reach free agency after the 2026 season, as currently scheduled.
In the interim, the Angels will rely on Brandon Marsh, Mike Trout and Taylor Ward as their primary outfield. That group was the most productive in the majors through the season’s first month, with all three players off to fabulous starts. Rojas joins Jack Mayfield and Tyler Wade as infield/outfield hybrids who can over some depth on the grass.
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