It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Cardinals were looking to move on from Dexter Fowler, with a starting outfield of Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader expected for Opening Day (with Tommy Edman also a potential option). Would anyone have guessed that the Los Angeles Angels would’ve been the ultimate landing spot?
The Angels have Mike Trout and Justin Upton, as well as their two top prospects in Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. It’s the impact on those two players where the Fowler acquisition will truly have an impact.
That said, does the news that the Angels want to give Adell more time in the minors come as a surprise? It was less than two months ago that manager Joe Maddon was quoted by Maria Torres of the LA Times:
Maddon on #Angels Jo Adell: "he needs more time in minor leagues no question…He needs a normal pattern next year to get himself rolling. But this guy is ultra talented. He has a lot of great things going for him. He needs a normal year to get his feet back underneath him."— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) December 18, 2020
We all know that Adell is one of the premier prospects in the game, despite struggling during his MLB debut in 2020 as he hit .161 with 3 HR and 7 RBI over 132 PA. He struggled to make contact against all types of pitches, which helps support his need for more time in the minors (Whiff%):
- Hard – 21.45%
- Breaking – 20.60%
- Offspeed – 24.44%
Just how much time is needed remains to be seen, but would it be surprising to see him at Triple-A until the All-Star Break? If he isn’t producing gaudy numbers, could he be down longer? That said should Fowler or Upton really be a stumbling block for Adell’s arrival? Both shells of their former selves, if Adell is producing he should leap in front of them on the depth chart.
That risk is obviously already being factored into his ADP, which currently sits at 321.23. At that price he’s a no-brainer gamble, considering the upside is there to deliver like a Top 30 outfielder (if not better).
As for Marsh, he shouldn’t be viewed as a complete afterthought either. Prior to 2020 we gave him a “B+” grade saying:
While you can question Marsh’s power, which has yet to present itself on the field (he had 7 HR in 360 AB at Double-A in ’19), it’s something the left-handed hitter should develop as he continues to learn/mature. Once he does the upside is across the board production, as his approach took a key step forward last season at 21-years old (Strikeout Rate / Walk Rate / SwStr%):
- 2018 (580 PA) – 27.2% / 12.6% / 8.6%
- 2019 (433 PA) – 23.1% / 10.9% / 7.9%
The improvement came despite spending the bulk of the year at Double-A. As he continues to develop the upside is there for at least 20 HR and he started to show it late in the season (.357 with 3 HR and 5 SB in August) and throughout the Arizona Fall League (.328 with 2 HR and 4 SB). It shows how high the ceiling could be, especially with the proven ability to make consistent contact.
No one is going to have Marsh on their radars, especially now that Fowler is in the mix, but he could arguably make just as big of an impact. Keep him closely on your radar, because it may not take much for him to arrive.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, NFBC