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2017 Phillies Draft Preview: Jordon Adell, OF

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Jordon Adell has the honor of getting the most consistent weird (or should I say out-of-leftfield?) comparison in this draft. I’ve read at least 5 or 6 articles where he gets compared to Bo Jackson. Mostly in the vein of "If you ever wondered what Bo Jackson would be like if he only played baseball...". Adell is a big kid, as that description suggests, standing 6’3" and a chiseled 205 lbs. Write-ups on Adell are jam packed with effusive praise and a tad of hyperbole. That said, it is not hyperbole to discuss that Adell might be a true 5-tool athlete who can play a premium position (Centerfield).

Adell’s scouting grades are a bit eye-popping: 70 grade speed, 60 grade raw power, 70 grade arm (as a Pitcher alone he’d probably be a late First Round prospect), 60+ grade defense and well, the hit tool, let’s hit pause on that for a minute. Suffice it to say Adell’s Defense will not be an issue in any OF position. He’s also not a guy I expect to grow out of Center, despite have just turned 18 a few weeks ago. Jo is pretty mature physically, which makes him a little easier to project positionally, but also limits ceiling a little (I almost laughed while typing that, honestly, since the ceiling is already pretty damn high).

So let’s talk hit tool, since that seems to be the point where opinions on Adell cleave a bit. His batting practice swing is gorgeous. Quiet, lots of lift, good bat control and speed, almost exactly what you’d teach a power hitter as a textbook swing. It manages to be geared for contact and power. The problem is that his game swing isn’t that one. His game swing looks more rushed and doesn’t get the same loft. Additionally he seems to struggle with breaking balls against even good High School competition.

There are 2 ways to look at his hitting: First, perhaps with concentrated pro coaching they can get the game swing and BP swing to match. There’s a good basis for this in that he’d become the #1 priority in the Minors pretty immediately for that type of focused instruction and reports on his personality are that he’s whip smart, hard working and really understands the game. The second view on his hitting is less positive. Essentially guys who can’t hit well, will often continue to not hit well. Please insert a wooden spoon in your mouth prior to reading the following sentences. Anthony Hewitt was a whip smart kid and a hard worker (and by all accounts a tremendous guy everyone hated to watch struggle) who had a beautiful BP swing with plus power and he could never translate that BP swing to games, nor figure out how to not swing at breaking balls.

Working in Adell’s favor is that Hewitt also struggled in the field, but Adell has that down pretty well. So even a poor hitting Adell with plus power could carry value. Floor might be Cameron Maybin with a ceiling perhaps just south of the less, uhh, complicated years of Daryl Strawberry. I’ll leave you with a few videos.

First from rkyosh007 from last summer’s Area Code games. This video’s a bit ugly. I don’t like the knock kneed stance and his stride gets long changing the level of his head. You’ll see in the next video of his BP, that neither of those things are present in his BP swing.

This video is the Prospect Pipeline’s excellent work. A synced split screen of his swing from behind and facing. Very useful, there should be more videos like this. It came in handy. If he could consistently use this swing in games he’d be a hands down #1 overall pick and a future MLB superstar. He’s balanced, he keeps his weight back and transfers it to power well. Around the 3:00 mark he gets a ball inside and keeps his hands tight to power the ball out, still making good contact. There are Major LEague hitters who struggle to do that. So much to like in that swing.

Here’s a 20-80 Baseball video from just a few weeks back. This one has some defense and Pitching even in it and his swing is no longer knock kneed. If anything it’s almost bow-legged. It looks closer to his BP swing, but there’s still a decent bit of swing and miss.

This last one’s just plain fun. Baseball America’s video of his 3 Home Run game last week (good timing, kid).