CHICAGO — More than a year after Joe Adele made his major league debut, Joe Adele may have finally arrived.
Sure, the former top prospect of the Angels has work to do if he’s going to achieve the star status once predicted for him, but over the past month, and especially the last 10 days, he has spun around the organization. has given people reason to believe.
“He’s proving he can make adjustments in all aspects of the game,” said Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reid.
Assuming Adele recovers from Saturday night’s outfield wall collision, when the Angels open a series against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, she will bring an eight-game hitting streak to the plate.
Adele has 11 hits – including three home runs – in her last 30 at-bats. He has been out only six times.
In 130 at-bats so far this season, Adele is hitting .246 with .703 Ops. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a dramatic improvement from his .161 and .478 numbers in 124 batting last year.
His strike rate has been reduced from 41.7 per cent to 22.9 per cent.
In the outfield, he saved a negative-4 defensive run last year and is a plus-1 this year. A five-run net improvement in a one-month sample is significant.
Ask Adele how she improved so much and she’ll chuckle at the word “comfortable” over and over again.
It’s not just about feeling good in his stance, but how he feels in all aspects of his big league life, starting with the fact that 2021 is no longer 2020, a year in which there is so much for everyone. All adjustments are included.
When 22-year-old Adele made her big league debut in Seattle on August 4, 2020, it was the first time she had played a game against another team since spring training five months earlier.
The pandemic wiped out the minor league season, and Adele said the months’ impact could not be undone without true competition.
“Last year was like a scramble to start over and play the game,” Adele said. “I’m a guy who likes routine, and I know how much preparation it takes to make up for me. Not having that happen was tough last year.”
And when Adele finally got involved in those big league games, there were no fans.
“At times I felt uncomfortable in the big leagues, and I think it had to do with the energy level not being where I wanted it to be,” he said. “It’s crazy. I really enjoy the engagement of the fans. Even when they talk dirty to me, I love it.”
Adele said last year he was also facing pitches he barely even saw. He spent just one month in Triple-A in 2019, so he had little experience with the types of breaking balls that pitchers throw on every count in the Major or Triple-A.
He often ran wild on pitches that accounted for many of his strikeouts.
This year, after seeing pitches like these for three months at Triple-A, he is better prepared before he returns to the Majors.
Adele approached 55.9 percent of the breaking balls offered last year, but this year she’s getting the bat at 78.1 percent.
It’s somewhat counterintuitive, but Adele is actually swinging at a higher percentage of pitches overall – 50.8 percent in 2020 and 53.7 percent in 2021. The difference is now he is choosing the right people.
“Sometimes there were points last year where I felt like I was too passive at the plate, where I let pitches go that I shouldn’t have, trying to make the right decisions,” Adele said. “And then there were times when I was overly aggressive.”
Adele said she also learned that she doesn’t need to swing on every pitch that is strike. Last week he took a painted fastball from U Darvas of the San Diego Padres because he realized it was a pitcher’s pitch, and even if he put it into play, he wouldn’t have much to do with it. were going.
Likewise, there are a few pitches out of the zone that she hits well.
“Up and Away is really kind of a force to be reckoned with for me,” Adele said. “It used to be a hot area for me. It doesn’t mean you want to swing on that pitch every time, but I know I can handle it. It’s about finding your territory, what hit you well and what didn’t hit well. ”
Manager Joe Maddon said the difference is that Adele eliminates some of the movement in his stance, which helps him get to the bat quickly.
“I love how calm he is on the plate,” Maddon said. “I think it helps him make better decisions. You have to be calm and you have to be quick, which means ready to hit. When you’re late, you’re moving too far and That leads to bad decisions.”
Maddon was particularly impressed with Adele’s ability to take Blake Snell’s breaking balls last week, when the Padres’ lefty was on track to retire the first 18 hitters of the game. Eventually, in Adele’s third look at Snell, she ripped a breaking ball for the first hit of the game, giving the Angels two runs to lead.
Just as Adele has simplified and calmed down her approach at the plate, she has also shut down some of the noise in the outfield.
Defense had been an issue with Adele before she even moved on to the majors last year, and once it arrived it seemed she put all the instructions in her head.
“We’ve talked a lot about reading and stuff, and I think for me it’s not about trying to guess, but just reacting,” he said. “We put in a lot of work being just an athlete. hit the ball. Take it away. do not think much. ‘Did I make the right first step? Was it too steep? Do I have to come around?’
“The crazier it sounds, the better the dumber is for me. I can be an athlete instead of thinking about it.”
While Adele has improved off ground and plate, she said she is also trying to get better at base.
“I want to work on piracy,” he said. “I think I can be really in danger when it comes to theft.”
He has two burglaries in three tries this season.
Clearly, Adele still has plenty of room to improve, and discussion of how far she’s come only highlights just how bad her season was last year.
Adele could lament that she didn’t learn all this quickly, but she doesn’t think so.
“I won’t take back anything that happened last year,” he said. “I think part of baseball is the adversity that elevates your character, and it develops you as a person and as a player. I think I benefited from those struggles last year. I think It really elevated me as a player.”
Angels (LHP Packy Naughton, 0-1, 2.57 ERA) at White Sox (TBD), Tuesday, 5:10 pm, Bali Sports West, 830 am