We are writing prospect reports on players the White Sox might select in the June draft. This article is the third in our series. You can see the other reports we’ve already posted, here:
School: Ballard High School (Kentucky)
Height/Weight: 6’3, 200
College Commitment: Louisville
Jordon Adell attends Ballard High School in the Eastern suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky. Ballard is a sports powerhouse in basketball, baseball, football, soccer, softball, and track and field, and has nearly 2,000 students. The school has won 57 state championships. Some of the famous alumni are: Allan Houston (Former NBA star), Shawn Kelley (MLB pitcher), DeVante Parker (NFL wide receiver), and Bill Plaschke (famous sports columnist).
As a junior in 2016, Adell hit .449 with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. He is a two-way star that committed to the University of Louisville after his stellar freshman season. In that first year at Ballard, Adell hit .296 with 7 homers, 37 RBI, 11 doubles, and 26 runs scored while accumulating a 4-3 record on the mound with a 3.50 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. In 33 games as a senior, Adell has posted an .OPS of 2.091. He is sporting an .OBP of .656 in 131 plate appearances with 24 homers, and 60 RBI to go along with 18 steals, 32 walks and 9 strikeouts. High school pitching doesn’t seem much of a challenge for him at this point.
Jordon played in the Area Code Games this past season (and by trivial coincidence was on the White Sox squad). The White Sox represent the entire midwest region in the annual tournament. The Area Code Games are a series of games over a five day period in the fall used to showcase the best high school players in the nation split into 8 regional teams. Scouts from all 30 teams are generally present at the event. The tournament serves as the beginning of the nine month interview and scouting process leading up to baseball’s Rule 4 Amateur Draft. Steve Fiorindo from USA Today covered last years games. An MLB cross-checker told him that, “It’s the best event of its kind because the players are selected by scouts independent of the event organizers”. It was noted that Adell struggled at the plate in showcases, but he appeared to make adjustments during the Area Code Games and even won the Home Run Derby.
The video below is courtesy of Perfect Game USA and shows Adell’s swing from two angles:
The video below is an interview with Jordon Adell from the Area Code Games:
Below is some footage of “Jo” Adell’s 3 homer game from this past spring courtesy of Baseball America:
Below is video of Adell vs Lockport High School (It’s my high school) because I think it’s cool:
Baseball America has Jordon “Jo” Adell ranked as the #8 player in the 2017 draft class. The report says that his “explosive raw tools are rarely matched” and that he’s a workout legend that can run a 6.4 second 60-yard dash, hit a ball 450 plus feet with wood and has a 70-grade throwing arm from the outfield. Baseball America says that he “looks the part with a high waist, broad shoulders and defined muscles”. The write-up notes that he could become a superstar if he translates those attributes to baseball skills. BA also mentioned that Adell had raw baseball skills on the summer circuit and said that he had a rough week at the Tournament of Stars. BA identified some mechanical changes that Adell made to his swing. They said that he closed off his open stance and reduced the load of his back elbow, improving his direction to the ball. They noted that this allowed his head to stay on plane which helped his bat stay through the zone longer. Changes showed a much more functional swing.
Baseball America also says that Adell would be a significant prospect as a right-handed pitcher as well. He has an athletic body that plays well on the mound with a 92-95 MPH fastball with life. Adell also throws a 12-to-6 breaking ball that has “powerful bite” and low-to-mid 80’s velocity. He’d be a two-way player at Louisville but it is assumed that his bonus demands will be met and he’ll go pro.
MLBpipeline.com has Jordon Adell ranked as the #22 player in the class. They note that he has the “best all-around tools in the class” and compare him physically to Former Twins 1st rounder Byron Buxton. They also say that he won’t go as high as Buxton because of “persistent concerns about his bat”. They mention that Adell won the home run derby at the Area Code Games but struggled at the plate for much of the summer showcase circuit. They did say that he had a big spring in Kentucky but acknowledged that he faced very weak competition. MLBpipeline.com also notes his electric bat speed, huge raw power, plus arm and well above average foot speed that could keep him in center field. However, even though he’s a “tremendous athlete with a big league body”, he has trouble recognizing breaking pitches and even struggles with average fastballs at times. They also mention that as a pitcher, Adell possesses a fastball that has reached 97 MPH and a hammer curve.
Note: These Scouting Grades are from mlbpipeline.com. Baseball America has a 70 run grade on Adell and some sites have 60 or even 70 grade power attached to him as well.
Prospect Overview and Future Outlook:
Jordon Adell is a polarizing prospect with tantalizing potential. In the winter, the toolsy outfielder was seen as a “top ten lock” and one of the first high school position players off the board. He may still go in the top 10 picks after a big power surge in games but questions remain. Keith Law of ESPN.com has Adell rated as his #55 overall player in the draft class but has him projected to go #9 overall to the Milwaukee Brewers in his latest mock draft. Jim Callis of mlbpipeline.com and John Manuel of Baseball America also have Jordon Adell to the Brewers in their latest projections. I believe it’s likely that Jordon goes in the top 15 picks on June 12th. He has some obvious warts in his game but the promise that he provides makes the risk worth it for the potential reward.
The White Sox have been linked to outfielders all spring and Adell should be seen as a strong possibility for them with the 11th pick in round one. Nick Hostetler is very familiar with Adell. He plays his high school baseball near Hostetler’s home in Louisville, Kentucky and the White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting has had rave reviews about him when speaking publicly. Hostetler joined Bruce Levine of 670 The Score on his weekly show “Inside the Clubhouse” recently and spoke about the close proximity that he has to Ballard High School. He also vouched for Adell’s character calling him a “really great kid” and noted that they are very familiar with him because he played on their Area Code Games team. Hostetler did reiterate that the competition Adell often faces in Kentucky is sub-par. The White Sox past issues with developing prospects similar to Adell are well documented but players with ceilings as significant as Jordon’s are often worth gambling on.
Adell is a confident kid that works really hard and he also has some people pushing him to achieve his potential greatness. Jordon’s father Scott was an offensive lineman for North Carolina State in the late 1980’s and became a 12th round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 1992 NFL Draft. Scott knew that Jordon was going to be special at an early age but he credits his son with always striving to become better. Jordon’s sister was a big time high school athlete at Ballard as well and now plays softball and runs track and field at Louisville. Jordon’s most recent 60 time is 6.19 seconds and his father thinks he’d be even faster if he ran it again. Adell also has a 41 inch vertical leap which is another example of the type of athlete he is. It will be interesting to see what the White Sox decide to do if Jordon Adell is on the board when it’s their turn to pick on Monday June, 12th.
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