The Angels have challenged Jo Adell three times and he's passed each test with flying colors.Debuting at his third level this season, the Angels' top prospect homered, singled and scored three times on Tuesday to lead Double-A Mobile over Jacksonville, 9-6, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
The Angels have challenged Jo Adell three times and he's passed each test with flying colors.
Debuting at his third level this season, the Angels' top prospect homered, singled and scored three times on Tuesday to lead Double-A Mobile over Jacksonville, 9-6, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
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The 10th overall in last year's Draft began this season at Class A Burlington as the Angels skipped him to full-season ball after he played in the Rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer leagues last summer.
"It's really about slowing the game down," Adell said of excelling at three levels. "I hopped off a plain at about 4 [p.m.] and the next thing you know, I was in the lineup. [Angels general manager] Billy Eppler is really big on, at the plate, 'Hit your strike.' When you get your pitch in the zone, get ready to attack it.
"That's the plan I had from Low-A to High-A to here. In the beginning, I was jumping out early; now, I'm taking the approach that I'm waiting for my strike."
All he did was bat .326/.398/.611 with six homers to earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Inland Empire, where he hit 290/.345/.546 and clubbed 12 more long balls after totaling five in his pro debut.
The power hasn't surprised Adell.
"Go back to last year, it was kind of one of those things that I was getting my feet under me and not trying to do too much, he said. "Now I'm starting to get more comfortable, and on which pitches I can explode on and what pitches I just need to put in play. It's about knowing what the situation calls for. For example, on the home run tonight, I just stepped out of the box and I was understanding that there's a 3-1 count and there's two outs -- and that's something I wouldn't have done last year. Now I understand there's going to be something in the zone that I can handle."
The Louisville, Kentucky, native earned another promotion to Double-A at 19 years old, making him the second-youngest player at the level behind top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who's three months younger.
Adell credits his desire to keep improving for his quick ascent.
"For me, I was coming up through high school, I packed my summer schedule down with games," he said. "I took advantage of playing one game after another. So I took something from every game and I tried to figure out what happened. When at-bats went well, I tried to figure out why did they go so well. Playing every game has helped get me into a rhythm. I've always been about rhythm and pace of play -- the more games, the better for me. I'm a student of the game."
Batting behind Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones, Adell was hit by a pitch in his first Southern League at-bat in the first inning. He scored on a single by Jose Rojas to cap a two-run frame.
MLB.com's No. 16 overall prospect reached on an error by shortstop Joe Dunand -- the Marlins' No. 23 prospect and nephew of Alex Rodriguez and -- and scored when 18th-ranked Brennon Lund blasted a three-run homer to right.
Adell's first hit at his new level came in the third as he clubbed his 19th homer of the season, a two-run shot to left that scored Jones, who tripled. Adell singled in the fifth and struck out in the eighth to end his night with two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs.
"I've been here one day and I can already tell guys are trying to get quick outs," he observed. "From a stuff standpoint, I think at all levels [pitchers are good]. In Low-A guys throw in the low 90s but moreso the location gets better and better and guys are more around the zone."
The University of Louisville commit had plenty of help on offense as Lund fell a triple short of the cycle and drove in four runs, Jones scored three times and Rojas banged out three singles.
Alex Klonowski (7-2), who relieved starter and Angels No. 13 prospect Jesus Castillo, got the win after allowing three runs on two hits in three innings.
Jacksonville starter Max Duval (2-11) surrendered eight runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits in three frames.
Rodrigo Vigil homered and drove in four runs for the Jumbo Shrimp.
But Adell was the story. He credited his dad, Scott, who played in the NFL for the Saints, as well as Ballard High School coach David Trager and his boss, Eppler, for his success.
"My dad played college and professional football -- the mentality was to go into every game that it was my last and to never forget what you are, an athlete. You're explosive, you have the tools and never been afraid to fine-tune those," Adell said. "I didn't want to step into pro ball and be anyone else but Jo. No matter where you go, there has to be a part of you that's you."
Even with all of his upward movement, he's not looking too far ahead.
"For me, this goes back to college and [Louisville coach Dan McDonnell]. A little before I got drafted, he told me, 'Wherever you go, always be where your feet are.' That stuck in the back of my head," Adell said. "Right now, I'm in Double-A with the Mobile BayBears. Those decisions are not up to me, my decisions are how I go about my business. That's the stuff I can control.
"Guys are flying through, we're getting challenged day by day and at-bat by at-bat. I trust our process as an organization."
Vince Lara-Cinisomo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincelara.