KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rollercoaster that has been Jo Adell’s season went up again on Sunday.
After misplaying balls in right field on Friday and Saturday, Adell made perhaps his best catch in the major leagues on Sunday, diving toward the left field line to snag a line drive.
Adell said he determined that he could at least smother the ball if he didn’t catch it, keeping it from rolling to the fence, which allowed him to make an aggressive dive rather than just pulling up and playing it on a hop.
“It felt good,” Adell said. “It saved us a couple extra bases and kept Reid’s outing going.”
40 percent catch probability for Jo Adell.
It’s 8-0 after 5. pic.twitter.com/zCER4filLX
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 24, 2022
Adell has been one of the most polarizing players in the Angels’ system in years, because he shows such electric tools at times but also shows so many holes as he struggles to mold his talent into performance.
He’s been working on his defense with outfield coach Damon Mashore when he’s in the big leagues, including spending some time reading live balls off the bat on Monday afternoon in Kansas City.
“I’ve had to adapt a lot throughout the season so far,” Adell said, “but I feel good about my process. Just keep working.”
The metrics on Adell’s defense, however, show he still has plenty of work to do. Last year he was +1 in terms of Defensive Runs Saved, and this year he’s at -4. He’s played 56 fewer innings this season than he did last year, so that’s an even more dramatic decline.
By Outs Above Average, Adell was in the 34th percentile last season, and this year he’s in the 28th percentile.
Manager Phil Nevin had hoped that Adell would be better if he kept him in right field, instead of left, but he abandoned that on Sunday.
Adell said it doesn’t matter to him. He played both corner outfield spots in Triple-A.
“I’m going to keep working on both,” Adell said. “It’s kind of been a rotation the whole way through. However I can help. Wherever they want to put me.”
Adell’s defensive issues could likely be ignored if he hit to his potential, but so far he hasn’t done that either. He was hitting .239 with a .639 OPS, both slightly down from his .246 and .703 marks in 2021.
His strikeout rate and walk rates have also gotten worse since last year.
There are some encouraging numbers, though.
His average exit velocity is slightly up from last year, as are his percentage of barrels, which suggests that Adell is making better contact when he puts the ball in play.
During his current stint in the big leagues, he’s also slightly improved his plate discipline, swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone. That’s helped him see 4.7 pitches per plate appearance during his current stint in the majors, compared with 4.1 in his first two times up this season.
“I’m not really afraid to get down in the count,” Adell said. “I think that’s one thing that’s really helped me kind of stay alive and run pitch counts up. I know that’s big, especially here. Reaching into the bullpen maybe early in a series. If I continue to have good quality at-bats and swing at what I can handle, good things should happen.”
Nevin said Mike Trout is still “progressing. Basically, it’s a lot of rest right now.” The three-time American League MVP is on the injured list with rib cage inflammation, with no timetable for his return. …
Janson Junk will start for the Angels on Wednesday. Junk has pitched one scoreless inning in the majors so far this season, after posting a 3.86 ERA in four games last season. He has a 3.88 ERA this season at Triple-A, including a 1.20 ERA in three starts this month. …
Nevin said Shohei Ohtani might get a day off on Friday, which would be the day after his next start.
Angels (LHP José Suarez, 1-4, 5.60) at Royals (TBD), Tuesday, 5:10 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM