One of the draft prospects this season who could be in the Royals vicinity with the 14th pick also has the loudest set of tools in the draft. He is Jordon Adell of Louisville, Kentucky. At 6’3 200 lbs there likely isn’t more than one or two prospects in this draft that will bring a similar tool set to the diamond with them every day. The prep outfielder brings a physical power and speed combination that could be even a tick above Garrett Mitchell who I wrote about prior.
Playing in center field, Adell features as much speed as you will find in this draft, flashing a 6.19 time in the 60-yard dash to go with an explosive first step and outfield movement. That speed and explosive ability lead to no worries of Jo’s ability to stick in the position long term, making him a premium asset at one of three key middle spots in the diamond. To go along with the plus speed, Adell has one of the best arms in the entire draft, hitting 96 mph on the mounds and 97 from the outfield. The arm strength and speed combination could lead Jordon to a gold glove someday depending on his reads and instincts which show themselves to be solid now.
At the dish, Adell turns those quick twitch skills into plus-plus bat speed which combined with his strength leads to big power ability. Employing a high leg kick allows Adell to sit back on off speed stuff while the bat speed is enough to catch up to velocity. There is some swing and miss in his game, but he’s seen his ability to make contact against upper-level competition greatly improve in the past year which has pushed his stock from pitcher to outfielder. On draft day, Adell will have been 18 for just two months leaving his upside as considerable considering his late blooming status with the bat. The swing and miss in his game could leave his batting average more in that .250 range, but he’s shown ability to hit spin which should mean he has what it takes to compete at the pro level.
Offensively, I most like Adell’s ability to tilt shoulders to create elevation. This combined with his bad speed and strength should give him a great ability to drive the ball and lead to 30-home run type power. All while playing a premium defensive position at a premium level. The tools scream Royals prospect and the fact that he played summer ball in the same outfield as Royals 2016 3rd round pick Khalil Lee should mean that the brass has focused in on Adell’s growth with the bat. As the season goes on, I suspect Adell’s tools will blow him up and he ends up in the top 10 picks even if he doesn’t appear there currently.
Daniel Tillo – I went over to Iowa Western on Sunday to check out the JUCO lefty that has some helium in the MLB draft. The former Iowa Mr. Basketball transferred back to Iowa Western after one year at Kentucky and has recently pushed his way into the Top 100 of Baseball America’s draft prospect list.
On Sunday during a colder 45-degree day, Tillo wasn’t reaching his upper-level velocity levels working mostly in the 89-91 range while topping out at 93 mph. With a low 3/4 degree release, Tillo flashed a solid average slider at times in the mid-80s. While he didn’t use his changeup that I saw during the outing he did toss a couple in BP in the upper 70s that presented some fade. The fastball presented some arm side run at times and Tillo was able to keep it low in the zone while flashing the ability to put it on both sides of the dish. In addition to his normal angle, Tillo is able to toss from a lower nearly 50/50 slot that could be helpful
The big and athletic lefty was around the zone the entire seven-inning outing, working mostly in the middle early which didn’t hurt him against a weaker Iowa Lakes lineup. From the third inning on he seemed to find his arm angle and was able to put away the lineup by hitting his spots and getting some swing and miss to earn 7 strikeouts. Overall, it was an okay outing that presented flashes with the two primary pitches while also giving the semblance of a pitcher who can pitch with better control than he’s flashed earlier this season when he tossed with louder stuff. The combination of size, athleticism, and stuff seems worthy of a pick after the 2nd round.
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