Jo Adell is an intriguing prep outfield prospect with the best all-around tools in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft class. Ranked by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect, Adell will likely hear his name called in the top 10 picks of the MLB Draft, which begins on June 12.
“My big thing is that whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” said Adell about the draft. “I’ve done all I can do. You just have to fun with it and make a decision when the time comes.
“I want to be in the right place if I choose to go (pro). I want to be somewhere where the organization is excited to have me, and I can improve on my skills and improve.”
At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Adell is a centerfielder with five-tool potential. He is an outstanding defender with above-average speed and arm strength. He also has enormous raw power offensively.
As a senior at Ballard High School this spring, Adell earned Gatorade Kentucky Baseball Player of the Year honors, after hitting .562 with 25 home runs, 61 RBIs, 22 stolen bases and a .667 on-base percentage in 35 games.
“I really wanted to capitalize on the opportunities I got,” Adell said. “I thought I did a really good job of that. I was able to cover the outside of the plate and work opposite field like I wanted to, as well as if something comes into the kitchen I was able to pull it and do what I usually do with those pitches.”
On opening day 2017, Adell’s biggest question mark was his ability to make consistent contact. Armed with a laser-like focus, Adell enhanced his plate discipline, striking out only nine times this spring.
“In high school you deal with some zones that aren’t in your favor and a lot of those strikeouts were really me taking pitching and knowing that it wasn’t in the zone,” said Adell about his improved plate discipline. “The more at-bats the better. Staying comfortable was the reasons I was able to limit those strikeouts and put the bat on the ball.”
With the draft rapidly approaching, evaluators tend to nitpick highly regarded prospects. Some believe Adell’s numbers are inflated because of the lack of quality pitching he faced this season. Does Adell think that is a fair argument?
“I have the cards that I’m dealt,” Adell said. “Second of all, we faced out-of-state pitchers. We didn’t played just teams from Kentucky. We are facing teams from Tennessee, Indiana and North Carolina. We were able to face good arms this year.
“Being a powerhouse team in this side of the region, which is the toughest region in Kentucky, we were getting everyone’s No. 1. You don’t first think baseball when you hear the state of Kentucky, but we definitely have arms here.”
A Louisville, Ky. native, this slugger will have to decide between turning pro or attending college as a student-athlete at the University of Louisville following the draft. Adell grew up five miles away from Louisville’s campus and said he’s in a win-win situation.
“You see what Louisville has done this year and you see the guys they bring out in the draft every year – it’s remarkable,” Adell said. “There’s a sense of comfort knowing that if things don’t go the way I want and I chose not to go (pro), it’s not bad to fall back on.”
Read my first MLB Draft feature story on star prep outfielder Jo Adell here.
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