In 2017, Adell graduated from Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. He had committed to the Univ. of Louisville the year before.
A typical day for Jo Adell during his senior year at Ballard High in Louisville goes something like this: Wake up and go to class. After getting most of his classes out of the way during his freshman, sophomore and junior years, math and English are his only classes—he’s a co-op student. He goes to school until 10:00 a.m. and then goes to work out with his strength coach, Eric Hammer. A normal workout is from around 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
He’ll grab something to eat during that time and then head to practice. If he has time, he’ll change clothes. If not, it’s straight to the field, where he meets up with some fellow coops to get some work in before practice.
“We’ll meet up at the field early,” Jo said. “Get some bands in, weighted balls, probably do a long-toss session before practice starts because we probably won’t have time during the practice schedule to do that.”
Practice comes and goes, and if he doesn’t get the swings he is looking for he stays and gets additional reps.
Scouts love Jordan's work ethic and mentality. And they also see one toolsy prospect.
Jo's 41-inch vertical leap would put him the 98th percentile of the 1,706 players who competed in the NBA combine in 2017.
Scott Adell still remembers the first moment he realized his son Jo was a little bit different.
It was around 10 years ago. Scott was at a business meeting in New Jersey and Jo was about 8 years old at the time. Jo’s mother, Nicole, was with him at one of the surrounding Little League fields.
“You know, the little boy fields,” Scott said. “I don’t know what that’s called, Pee Wee or whatever. And it had a fence. And I guess that fence was 150 feet, it was a small, little fence.”
Small to someone like Scott, maybe. After all, he had been an offensive lineman for North Carolina State. The New Orleans Saints took him in the 12th round of the 1992 NFL Draft, and he was used to “just getting smacked upside the head” by extremely large defensive players in college and the NFL.
A simple, 150-foot fence wasn’t much to Scott Adell. To an 8-year-old Jo, though, it was a pretty big deal. But it wasn’t more than he could handle.
“I remember I had to excuse myself from the meeting because it was Jo on the other line,” Scott said. “He had just hit one out. And this is coach-pitch. And Nicole gets on the phone and tells me that they’ve never seen an 8-year-old hit one out of the park before.
“He hit one not only out of the park, but into the road. And so at that point I knew that this kid wanted to play baseball. I mean, I knew it from that point forward. There was no question that he wanted to play baseball.”
A few years after Jo conquered the 150-foot fence, he still had that mindset. Baseball was his focus. Even with his father’s history with football, with different middle school and high school coaches beckoning him to other sports thanks to his burgeoning athleticism, Jo was always drawn back to the diamond. (Carlos Collazo - Baseball America - 4/07/2017)
Jo has the benefit of inheriting some NFL caliber genes, but he’s not even the best athlete in his immediate family. That honor goes to his sister, who plays softball and track at Louisville.
“As crazy as it sounds, Jo is probably as good an athlete in any sport around, but his older sister Jessica is a monster,” Scott said. “She’s probably the most athletic person that’s ever been in this family.”
Jo points to how Jessica switched from playing softball to being a track star, seemingly with ease. Becoming an elite runner didn’t come so easily to Jo.
“It was extremely difficult, for a couple of reasons,” Jo said. “I used to not always be built the way I’m built. Lucky enough to be tall with lean muscle, and it wasn’t like that before. As a kid that was (5-foot-6), a little pudgy—couldn’t move the way he wanted to. And that was probably about four years ago really.”
His first 60-yard-dash was clocked in the 7.1-7.2 range as a 14-year-old. He wanted to get that time down, so he made a game out of it, tracking his progress and always trying to beat his last mark. At the same time, he was growing into his current 6-foot-3 frame and trying to adapt to his lengthening levers. (Carlos Collazo - Baseball America - 4/07/2017)
June 2017: The Angels chose Adell in the first round (#10 overall), out of Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Jo signed with scout John Burden for $4,376,800.
In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Adell as the second-best prospect in the Angels' organization. He was at #1 Halo's prospect in the winter before 2019 spring training. And he stayed at #1 in 2020, and also in the spring of 2021.
For many young athletes growing up, surpassing their parents in strength and athleticism is a huge moment in their childhood. For a future first-round pick in the MLB Draft, that moment may come a little bit earlier, but that doesn't make it any more monumental. Jordon, "Jo," boasts one of the most exciting power-speed profiles in the 2017 Draft class.
It's not hard to spot where Jo's athleticism comes from. His dad, Scott, played college football at North Carolina State University and was drafted by the Saints in the 12th round of the 1992 NFL Draft. While it seems unlikely that we'll ever see Jo and his dad on the field at the same time like the Griffeys, never discount the magical bond between father and son. (Mintz & Shusterman - mlb.com - 6/12/17)
Nov. 19, 2017: Adell took some time to give back to his hometown of Louisville, hosting a turkey drive to provide Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. Adell partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools and the Louisville Metro Police Department for the event. It was held at Newburg Middle School, where his mother, Nicole, is the principal. (Maria Guardado - MLB.com)
High School: By the time Adell’s senior year was finished, he’d led the nation in home runs, shortened his swing, and was just plain bigger, stronger and faster than any of his teammates. A few prospects could keep with him in terms of foot speed. A few older prospects could hit the ball with as much authority as he did. And still a few more threw the ball as hard as he did, and played the outfield as well as he did. But not a single one could do it all, like Jo could.
July 2018: Adell represented the Angels in the All-Star Futures game.
Nov 24, 2018: Jo Adell grew up watching his mom, Nicole, dedicate herself to her students and advocate for their well-being as the principal of Newberg Middle School in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. That same drive to give back has now embedded itself in Adell, who is finding his own ways to foster connections and support his local community this 2018 offseason.
Jo spent this past weekend distributing turkeys, stuffing and canned goods to 250 pre-selected Louisville families as part of his second annual Jo Adell Turkey Drive. Adell partnered with the Louisville Metro Police Department to personally deliver meals to five families before staging the main event at Newberg Middle School.
Adell, 19, said the Turkey Drive was particularly meaningful because it gave him an opportunity to help the families of kids he knows from his mom's school and ensure they'll have a proper Thanksgiving dinner.
"I'm close with a lot of the kids there because [my mom] spends a lot of time there," Adell said. "I drop by every now and then and work with some of the kids as far as baseball goes during the weekend, but I never really got to touch the families. I never really got to understand the kids' stories and where they come from, and that whole community around the middle school.
"I wanted to do that. I wanted to understand more about the kids and do that sort of thing. When this Turkey Drive idea came about last year, it was really important for me to reach some of these families. It's just a really small gesture by me to just go out there and do this kind of thing and really help people to have the same experience that I'm going to have on Thanksgiving."
Adell's charitable endeavors aren't limited to the holiday season, as he also held the second annual Jo Adell Baseball Camp at his alma mater, Ballard High School. Enlisting the help of Reds prospect Hunter Greene, Adell hosted local youth baseball players during the two-day clinic and offered instruction in all aspects of the game. (M Guardado - MLB.com - Nov 24, 2018)
Jo is very mature for his age, with both an exceptional work ethic and a congenial personality.
Adell had just turned 7 when he opened the door to a bedroom in his family’s new home and found a bat and glove left on his bed by his parents.
The discovery surprised him. This was a new sport. He spent his childhood trying to follow everything his sister did, and Jessica hadn’t yet moved toward baseball or softball.
Jessica, two and a half years older, flourished in softball and became a first-team high school All-America selection and Division I athlete. (Maria Torres - LA Times - Feb.2019)
Jo begins the 2019 season ranked as Baseball America’s best center field prospect and as one of the sport’s most promising minor leaguers. He will be on the fast track to the Angels’ major league depth chart if his 2019 campaign matches last year’s performance.
July 7, 2019: Adell represented the Angels at the Futures All-Star Game. Adell led both teams by reaching base three times, walking twice before singling and scoring a run.
August 21, 2019: Jo hit his first two home runs at the Triple-A level . . . kind of. Adell went deep in his first two at-bats for the Salt Lake Bees, but the game was cancelled due to rain in the fifth inning and will not be made up. So while his box score won’t show those two homers, they definitely happened, and demonstrated just one of Adell’s many talents.
Adell receives a grade of 55 or higher in every scouting category, and isn’t far off from playing alongside another five-tool player in Mike Trout in the Angels’ outfield. (MLB.com)
- Jan 13, 2020: Angels top prospect Jo Adell is close to reaching the Majors, and is learning more about what to expect in the big leagues while taking part in the annual MLB/MLBPA Rookie Career Development Program.
Adell, ranked as the club’s No. 1 prospect and baseball’s No. 5 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline, sat down with MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo to discuss several topics while at the program, which Adell believes will help him going forward. Adell heard about the program during the Arizona Fall League season, and said he mostly spent time picking the brains of those who have already reached the Majors.
"For me, it's a great opportunity to get some questions answered and learn more about the experiences that guys have had being a rookie,” Adell said. “Like what's that all really about. It's just a good opportunity to learn everything you need to learn and ask questions."
Adell, however, didn’t make his 2019 season debut until late May after suffering both a right ankle sprain and a left hamstring strain while running the bases in a Spring Training game against the Cubs. He finished the year healthy, though, and even played for Team USA in the Premier12 tournament in early November, both homering and robbing a home run at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
"I thought my 2018 was crazy, but then this year I had the dual injury at Sloan Park, so I think I just really learned how to come back from an injury and how to prepare,” Adell said. “I had to face something that hit me in my face. I could've gone one of two ways and put my head down and be sad, but I said, 'Nah, I'm gonna get up and get after it.'"
Adell will head to big league camp for a second straight year, but this season he’ll be competing with Brian Goodwin for the starting job in right field. Goodwin is considered the favorite, as Adell is likely to open the year at Triple-A. That said, Adell could make his Angels debut at some point in April or May, and he knows that he has to prepare himself for the challenges that being in the Majors brings.
"It does seem really close,” Adell said. “But obviously I don't make those decisions on when that's going to happen. I think the more detail oriented I am, the better it's going to be for me. I can hit the ball hard, run, play the field—all those good things. But when it comes to a difference between a big league player and everybody else, it's the little things like how you're reading the pitcher, what kind of jumps you're getting in the outfield, how you set up at-bats." (R Bollinger - MLB.com - Jan 13, 2020)
MLB debut (Aug. 4, 2020): The Angels received a boost with the addition of top prospect Jo Adell, who was called up from the minors.
Adell singled in his first career at-bat while facing right-hander Justin Dunn in the first inning of a 5-3 Angels win, beating out an infield single on a slow roller to third. Adell showed off his impressive wheels, as he had a sprint speed of 30.4 feet per second, per Statcast. (Anything faster than 30 feet per second is considered elite.)
2020 Season: Adell struggled at the plate for most of his 38 games after running out a dribbler in his debut for his first hit in Seattle. He finished with seven multi-hit games which wasn’t too shabby for the situation he was called up in.
However, his inability to walk — he worked just seven walks — was a concern and especially in the games where he went hitless. His bright spot at the plate this year was without a doubt his first multi-hit game which just so happened to be his first two major league home runs.
Adell, would go on and finish the year with a slash line of .161/.212/.266. However, to already call him a bust is just irresponsible. I may end up eating my words here, but I want to see a full season with the guy before I’m ready to sell him off. We’d all love to see everyone come into the league ready like Ken Griffey Jr. or Bryce Harper, but that’s just not the case. (Luke Graham - Nov. 19, 2020)
Jo knows how to make amends. Adell went the extra mile to develop a special moment, providing an Orioles fan with an autographed bat after an attempt to send a souvenir into the Camden Yards crowd between innings accidentally knocked the drink out of the youngster’s hand.
A fan wrote on Instagram: "Angels outfielder Jo Adell threw a ball up in our section the previous inning and knocked a kids drink out of his hands. Next inning comes out with a bat for the kid. Classy guy."
Fans in the left-field section documented Adell’s good deed as player and the opposing team's fan posed for a quick picture prior to play resuming. The O’s fan whose beverage got spilled added on Twitter that Adell is now his new favorite player. "Thanks @Angels and Jo Adell for the bat! New favorite player."
It’s probably not the simplest way Jo has won over a new fan, but it certainly could be one of the most memorable. (Guzman - mlb.com - 8/25/2021)
- 2021 Season: Adell was named Top MLB Prospect in the Triple-A West. A steady producer when healthy throughout his Minors career, the Angels outfielder put everything together to meet lofty expectations. He generated a .289/.342/.592 slash line with 23 homers, 17 doubles and four triples over 73 games for the Salt Lake Bees. Adell got a callup to Los Angeles on Aug. 2, and he had 11 extra-base hits over 35 games before being sidelined with a left abdominal strain.
|Birth City:||Louisville, KY|
|Draft:||Angels #1 - 2017 - Out of high school (KY)|
Adell has impressive raw power. And he makes good, hard contact. He has ridiculous bat speed and a great body. He has 70 grade power, and a 50 grade hit tool.
Jo stopped chasing fastballs in and sliders away as the 2021 season went on, leading to both higher averages and a reduced strikeout rate each successive month.
“What stood out the most . . . was his ability to turn on a ball and keep it true to the pull side (and) also use the whole field through the middle and then opposite-field power,” Round Rock manager Kenny Holmberg said near the end of the 2021 season. “He can hit them over the fence, foul pole to foul pole.”
Jo's rookie year in 2020 was marked by a high strikeout rate, lengthy power droughts and several defensive gaffes. Adell had just 27 games of Triple-A experience when he was called up in August to replace slumping veteran Justin Upton.
His lack of upper-level experience showed. He looked overmatched at the plate, hitting .161/.212/.266 with a 42% strikeout rate, and was uncomfortable and unsure of himself in right field. He committed a rare four-base error in which a fly ball popped out of his glove and over the wall on Aug. 9 and had another ball pop out of his glove over the fence on the final day of the season.
Despite Adell’s ugly debut, evaluators still view him as a potential impact player. He is a broad-shouldered, muscular and dynamic athlete who boasts plus-plus raw power, excellent bat speed and quick hands that allow him to drive the ball to all fields and get to high pitches. He has plus speed, which translates into more first-to-third sprints than stolen bases, a plus arm and a work ethic and willingness to learn that draw rave reviews from coaches.
But big league pitchers exposed holes in a swing that was too long at times and an approach that made him too vulnerable to secondary pitches. A month into the season, Adell tried to alter his swing path to get the ball in the air more and quieted his stance to remove some of the movement from his pre-swing setup. His pitch recognition and plate discipline improved with experience, even if the results didn’t come. (Mike DiGiovanna - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
When Adell was entering pro ball, the biggest worry was that he wouldn’t make enough contact to perform at the highest levels. He still swings and misses quite a bit, carrying a 25.3 percent strikeout rate in his pro career into the 2020 season. He could draw more walks, and it was encouraging to see him walk in nearly 10 percent of his AFL plate appearances, but his elite bat speed and ability to read pitches more than offsets that deficiency. He can drive the ball to all fields and his raw power will almost certainly show up more consistently as he matures. (Spring 2020)
When Adell was entering pro ball, the biggest worry was that he wouldn’t make enough contact to perform at the highest levels. He still swings and misses quite a bit, carrying a 25.3 percent strikeout rate in his pro career into the 2020 season. He could draw more walks, and it was encouraging to see him walk in nearly 10 percent of his AFL plate appearances, but his elite bat speed and ability to read pitches more than offsets that deficiency. He can drive the ball to all fields and his raw power will almost certainly show up more consistently as he matures.
Big and physical, Adell’s plus speed makes him a five-tool threat, though he didn’t run as much in 2019 following his injuries. (Spring 2020)
Jo has the strength to hit the ball out of the yard, displaying 70 grade power. With his impressive hit tool (60 grade), we know he will hit for average, and he mashes 450-foot power.
Adell has always destroyed fastballs and made an effort to avoid chasing breaking balls out of the zone last season. That hurt him when he first got to Salt Lake, where his passivity caused him to miss good pitches to hit, but he found the balance at the end of the 2020 season to round into form.
There is maturity and a purpose in Adell’s preparation and approach, and he is intelligent enough to make the adjustments necessary to hit the pitches he can handle and lay off the pitches he can’t. The sum of his skills and approach should annually produce 30-plus home runs, with a plenty-high batting average to go with it.
Adell can impact the game with his bat, glove or legs. His ferocious bat speed and improving plate discipline produce high exit velocities. Adell stays balanced and drives the ball to all fields with impact power. (Matt Eddy and Mike DiGiovanna - Baseball America - Spring, 2020)
His quick hands allow him to get to high pitches, and there is a maturity and a purpose to his preparation and approach. He uses the whole field, adjusts quickly and stays balanced in his swing. One area Adell can improve is his pitch recognition and plate discipline.
He destroys fastballs but needs to avoid chasing breaking balls below the zone.
"He’s a five-tool player—he hits for average and power, he can run, field and throw,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said near the end of the 2019 season. "As far as athleticism and power, his size, speed and strength—the trifecta that we look for—he checks all of those boxes. His play will let us know what his timetable is.
"As far as his early exposure to Triple-A, a lot of his peripheral numbers and underlying metrics that we look at kind of point to his first exposure to Double-A (in 2018),” Eppler said. "He’s hitting the ball really hard, drawing some walks. He’s still getting his feet underneath him and getting exposed to a different way they pitch in Triple-A as opposed to Double-A." (Spring, 2019)
Jordon, or "Jo," as his family calls him, has quickly made adjustments to his swing, transitioning from an open stance and deep leg kick to a more closed stance, and reducing the length of his hand load.
He simplified his swing, allowing him to make consistent contact. He cut down his leg kick and transitioned to a simple toe tap, trusting his thunderous hands to help him connect the barrel to the ball. (Spring, 2017)
Adell has quick hands and is so strong he can drive balls even when not making good contact. He is a quick-twitch athlete. He consistently makes hard contact. His quick hands allow him to get to high pitches and he shows maturity in his at-bats and work ethic.
Jo hammers both high velo and spin. He drives the ball in the air to all fields. He can occasionally got over-aggressive, but his special blend of physicality, bat speed and maturity checked every box of a future impact offensive player.
Jo has a keen understanding of the mental side of the game, keeping a notebook with details on every pitcher he faced.
2018 season: Adell's raw power has been on display since his high school days, when he hit 25 homers as a senior. Given some questions about his swing-and-miss tendencies, no one would have predicted he'd get to Double-A in his first full season of pro ball. He hit 20 homers in just 99 games along the way for a .543 slugging percentage.
2019 Season: Adell missed almost two full months at the start of the season because of hamstring and ankle injuries suffered during Spring Training, yet still managed to hit his way to Triple-A at age 20.
Adell is coming off a season that saw him hit .289/.359/.475 with 10 homers, 27 doubles, 36 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 76 games across three levels, including 27 with Triple-A Salt Lake. He also participated in the Arizona Fall League, batting .273/.351/.444 with three homers and nine RBIs in 24 games.
Hit tool - 55: It seems like a lifetime ago that Adell was a top Draft prospect, who had holes in his swing. He started answering questions about his ability to make enough contact at the next level when he hit .325/.376/.532 during his pro debut. He’s hit pretty much everywhere, even when getting moved aggressively, bringing a .298/.361/.518 line with him to Los Angeles. Yes, there is still some swing-and-miss to his game, with a strikeout rate of just over 25 percent to show for it. But he’s also drawn walks in 7.6 percent of his plate appearances, a rate that trended up in 2019 (8.8 percent) and continued in the Arizona Fall League (9.9 percent).
Power (65): No one on any current Top 30 list has a higher power grade than Adell’s 65. Adell has always had it, dating back to his high school days, but again he’s made much more contact than some expected out of the gate, hitting 20 homers in a first full season that saw him reach Double-A as a teenager. He’s slugged over. 500 at almost every stop along the way and there’s going to be much, much more to come as he continues to figure things out at the plate and make adjustments. With premium bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, seeing him hit 30 homers annually in a normal season could be conservative. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/3/2020)
- Aug. 30, 2020: Adell became the fifth Angels player to hit their first two career homers in the same game. And he was the third-youngest to have a multi-homer game, behind Mike Trout and Tom Brunansky.
Jo has a very impressive arm for right field, a 60 grade. He was clocked as high as 95 mph off the mound in high school.
Adell's routes, first step and throwing accuracy all progressed to the point he is now a confident, aggressive defender in both outfield corners. (Spring, 2022)
Big and physical, Adell’s plus speed makes him a five-tool threat, though he didn’t run as much in 2019 following his injuries. He can handle playing center field, but might best fit into an outfield corner, especially given Mike Trout’s presence in Los Angeles. His plus arm and his potential to be a run producer profile well in a corner, and he’s not too far from being ready to join Trout in that big league outfield. (Spring 2020)
Adell has the speed and the range to play center field. He has the youth and athleticism to stick there. Adell made big strides defensively during the 2019 season, improving his jumps and reads off the bat, and he must continue to hone those skills.
Arm (60): While Jo’s played center, his plus arm fits very well in right field, which is a good thing because ...
Field (60): We all know Adell isn’t seeing any time in center with the Angels. He could play there, for sure, but Trout will move him to right, where he should be just fine. There was the talk during Summer Camp that he needed to address some things defensively, but don’t expect that to be a long-term concern. Adell has played twice as many regular-season games in center as he has in right; he’ll settle in as he gets more and more reps at the corner spots. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/3/2020)
- Aug. 9, 2020: In a game against the Rangers, Adell misplayed a routine fly ball off the bat of Nick Solak, which bounced off the outfielder’s glove and over the fence in spite of the fact that it only barely reached the warning track.
Jo is a plus-plus runner underway. He has 60 grade speed.
In 2017, Adell was clocked at 6.19 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
Jo has above-average instincts on the bases.
His plus speed may not translate to double-digit stolen bases, but it benefits him going first to third and second to home.
- Although Jo is big and physical, Adell’s plus speed has always been an asset. He stole 15 bases in 18 tries during his first full season, though he didn’t run much in 2019 following his hamstring and ankle injuries. He’s shown enough to speed to play a lot of center field in the Minors. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/3/2020)
April 24-May 8, 2018: Adell was on the DL.
August 5-13, 2018: Jo was slowed by a jammed right thumb, an injury that sidelined the 19-year-old outfielder for a week in early August and contributed to a sluggish start at Double-A Mobile.
March 9-May 24, 2019: Adell strained his left hamstring and sustained a right ankle sprain while running the bases in the Angels’ split-squad game against the Cubs at Sloan Park.
Adell slipped at second base while running. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but left the game on a cart. Results of an MRI on Angels top prospect Jo Adell confirmed a Grade 2+ right ankle sprain and a Grade 1+ left hamstring strain.
- Sept 15-Nov 5, 2021: Adell was placed on the injured list with left abdominal strain.