Los Angeles Angels: What’s on their post-lockout to-do list

Apr 15, 2020; Anaheim, California, USA; General overall view of the Los Angeles Angels logo at Angel Stadium of Anaheim amid the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY NETWORK
Apr 15, 2020; Anaheim, California, USA; General overall view of the Los Angeles Angels logo at Angel Stadium of Anaheim amid the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY NETWORK /
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DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 19: Brandon Marsh #16 and Jo Adell #7 of the Los Angeles Angels walk together across the field during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on August 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The Angels defeated the Tigers 13-10. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 19: Brandon Marsh #16 and Jo Adell #7 of the Los Angeles Angels walk together across the field during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on August 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The Angels defeated the Tigers 13-10. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels should be patient with two of their top outfield prospects

While this is not necessarily a transactional move as most of these “to-do list” items are, it is still an important point worth mentioning. The Angels need to be patient with youngsters Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell.

Starting with Adell, the 22-year-old appeared in around 30 games and gathered about 130~ plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. He struggled mightily in 2020 but saw some slight improvements in his game last season. Starting last season in the minor leagues helped the young Adell get additional reps that he desperately needed and after a solid showing in Triple-A (highlighted by 23 home runs in just 73 games), the Angels brought him back up. While strikeouts are a serious issue for Adell, his batting average, OBP, SLG%, and OPS all improved in 2021 as well as a 97 wRC+ against the wRC+ of just 27 he put up in 2020.

On defense, Adell has extensive experience at all three outfield spots but the Angels have used him mostly as a corner outfield option since his debut. Right field is his likely home moving forward in his big league career.

Steamer projections on FanGraphs have Adell taking a significant step forward in 2022, hitting 21 home runs over 126 games and 500+ plate appearances, carrying similar batting-line numbers over from 2021. He’s projected for a 97 wRC+ and a total of 0.8 WAR. No, this is not a superstar-level performance, but it is certainly an improvement that Angels ownership and fans are no doubt going to be pleased with.

Brandon Marsh, another uber-prospect (albeit not quite on the same level as Adell), made his debut last season for the Halos, appearing in 70 games and hitting two home runs and a .254/.317/.356 slash line in 260 plate appearances. His home run power has never been noteworthy, Marsh has great speed on the basepaths and is much more of a high-batting-average top of the lineup player than Adell.

Steamer projections on FanGraphs have Marsh playing in 120 games in 2022, with 11 home runs and a 91 wRC+, while carrying similar AVG, OBP, SLG%, and OPS numbers than the ones he had in 2021 during the regular season. Marsh is projected to be worth 1.4 WAR and — most notably — is projected to raise his walk-rate to 8.8% (still in the bottom half of the league) while also lowering his ghastly 35% strikeout rate in 2021 to a somewhat more respectable 29% in 2022.

Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh are two of the most prized prospects that Angels fans have been waiting on for years. They both have already made their Major League debuts, but with mostly poor results. The Angels need to do what they can to stay patient with the two of them while they develop at the big league level and see what happens when they’re able to make adjustments and learn on the fly.

If these two can perform the way they’re expected to, they could pair with Mike Trout and form one of the most terrifying outfields in the game, now and maybe all-time.