Angels option announced by OF prospect Jo Adell to miners

The Angels announced on Tuesday afternoon that they have moved outfielder Jo Adell to Triple-A Salt Lake. Utility Jose Rojas has been recalled to take his place on the active roster.

Adell has been considered one of the most talented young players in the sport for some time. Baseball America ranked him among the top two prospects in the Angels system every year between 2018 (his freshman season after being selected 10th overall in the previous draft) and 2021, when he exhausted his eligibility. Heading into last year, BA rated him the 13th best prospect in the game. Reviewers were thrilled with his combination of power and speed, but the 23-year-old has yet to establish himself at the major league level.

In the shortened 2020 season, Adell broke into the majors and played 38 games. He only hit 0.161/0.212/0.266 and he spent the first half of last year on optional assignment. After starting 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. It was above-average overall production, evidenced by a massive 23 homers in 73 games, but Adell also struck out 29.2 percent of his trips to the plate against a walk rate of less than 6.5 percent.

After being recalled to the major leagues in early August, Adell hit .246/.295/.408 in 35 games. This marked a notable improvement over his 2020 output, but was still 10 percentage points below the league average, able to wRC+. He broke camp with the big league club this year but got off to a disappointing start. In 66 plate appearances, he hit .231/.242/.431. Adell’s three home runs and four doubles led to respectable slugging output – especially against the backdrop of a brutal league-wide offensive month – but he hit 24 times drawing only a single step.

In addition to those worrying numbers of strikeouts and walks, Adell struggled defensively. Statcast ranked him four outs below average so far, tied for the second-worst rating among outfielders. The Angels will send him back to Salt Lake for extra work on both sides of the ball in hopes his next major league promotion can be permanent.

Adell entered this season with one year and 44 days of MLB service. He’s spent about 26 days on the active roster this year, bringing it to about a year and 70 days in total. Players are credited with a full year of service after reaching 172 days on an active roster (or MLB injured roster). If Adell is recalled before the last week of June and remains in the majors from then on, he would remain on track to reach free agency after the 2026 season, as currently planned.

In the meantime, the Angels will rely on Brandon Marsh, Mike Trout and Taylor Ward as their primary outfield. This group has been the most productive of the majors in the first month of the season, with all three players enjoying fabulous starts. Rojas joins Jack Mayfield and Tyler Wade as infield/outfield hybrids who can get to some depth on the grass.

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