Watch Angels rookie Jo Adell commit a rare four-base error in another loss
Top Angels prospect Jo Adell has begun his MLB career going two for 15 with nine strikeouts in four games.
A slow offensive start was expected. The 21-year-old compiled a .676 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in just 27 games at triple-A last year. He also arrived at the major league level after only two weeks scrimmaging against minor league teammates.
The most alarming trend involves Adell’s defense. Adell has made several mistakes in right field since being promoted. The most egregious one occurred in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. In the fifth inning, Adell angled back to chase a fly ball hit by Rangers rookie Nick Solak. He raised his glove to capture it. The ball hit leather but popped out and traveled several feet, up and over the right-field fence.
Adell put his hands over his head and looked up at Globe Life Field’s domed roof.
The play, which increased the Rangers’ lead to 6-2, was initially called a home run but the scorer changed it to a rare four-base error.
Anthony Rendon, the Angels’ prized off-season acquisition, is hitless in his last 28 plate appearance and his batting average has dropped to .103.
“That’s an embarrassing play for a fielder,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.
Adell agreed the play was “tough,” but he didn’t want to dwell on it.
“It’s gonna have to be me just settling in, figuring out my groove and understanding it’s a game and things happen,” Adell said. “You make mistakes. Just go out and do you. I think I’m not there yet. I’m ready to get there. I’m on my way to getting there.
“But it’s one of those things where I just have to, you know, go out, relax and just do my thing, and not really worry about the result.”
A few weeks ago, Adell was kept off the Angels’ opening day roster because he needed to make improvements on defense. He had struggled to handle right field at Angel Stadium during training camp.
Adell put in extra defensive work while at the Angels’ alternate site. He continued the fielding drills upon arriving at the major leagues, with Maddon taking over instruction in place of outfielders coach Jesús Feliciano, whose unexplained absence reached two weeks Sunday.
“It’s up to us now to continue that work and we will,” Maddon said. “It’s by far not finished, but I know he’s willing to put in the work, and he’s going to get better out there.”
Adell wasn’t the only Angel who struggled to adapt to the Rangers’ new ballpark. Second baseman Tommy La Stella kicked what should have been a double-play ground ball in Friday’s 4-3 loss. Shortstop David Fletcher couldn’t corral a chopper to his left Saturday. Center fielder Mike Trout let a fly ball glance off his glove in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, allowing Solak to reel off his second double of the game.
Globe Life Field’s outfield is asymmetrical. The distance from home plate down the left-field line is 329 feet compared to 326 feet down the right-field line. It’s 374 feet to the power alley in right-center and 372 feet to the left-center power alley. Straight-away center is 407 feet but the deepest point of the ballpark is 410 feet.
Angels vs. Texas Rangers highlights.
Plus, the synthetic turf plays quick and the retractable roof is paneled with a transparent material that filters in natural light. Afternoon sun wreaks havoc on right fielders, outfielder Solak said in a postgame interview with the Rangers TV network.
“During the day, that whole side is white,” Solak said. “It kind of blends in with the ball. Right field’s probably got it the worst of the positions.”
Three observations from the Angels’ loss to the Rangers on Sunday:
1. In a three-strikeout sixth inning, Hansel Robles’ fastball reached 97 mph for the first time this season. Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway said this weekend Robles, formerly the closer, was struggling to create adrenaline in empty ballparks. The Angels tried to help him by addressing it “nutritionally.”
2. Starter Andrew Heaney cruised through 3 1/3 innings before the Rangers delivered a parade of RBI blows in the fourth. Five of the eight hits Heaney allowed came during the Rangers’ four-run inning.
3. The Angels returned to Arlington, Texas, for the second time since pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ died of an opioid overdose in his hotel room in July 2019. Maddon didn’t think the reminder of Skaggs or news Friday of former Angels employee Eric Kay’s arrest in connection to Skaggs’ death rattled the team, which was swept by Texas. “We just haven’t hit well,” Maddon said Sunday.
Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of immensely popular Negro League baseball is particularly instructive during this time of racial reckoning.
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