The 2017 MLB Draft is shaping up to feature a deep, talented class of amateurs. Hunter Greene was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in April, making him the first high school baseball player since Bryce Harper to grace the cover. Louisville’s Brendan McKay is almost a lock to be a top-three selection, and he could be drafted as either a first baseman or a starting pitcher; he’s that good. College arms JB Bukauskas and Kyle Wright have the look of future aces, and prep hitters such as Royce Lewis and Austin Beck should be big league contributors down the line. But perhaps no prospect in this draft has the upside of Jordon Adell.
“Jo” Adell is a 6’3″, 200 pound outfielder at Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Baseball America pegged Adell as the 14th best draft prospect back in March, and the senior outfielder has certainly lived up to the hype in his final high school season. Adell is hitting .554 in his senior campaign with 24 home runs in just 33 games. Adell’s hitting ability just scratches the surface of his sky-high ceiling, though. Don’t believe it? Check out his highlights in the video below.
Adell is often described as “toolsy” by draft scouts, but that term doesn’t really do the Oklahoma State commit justice. Adell is a true five-tool potential player, displaying serious ability to hit, defend, and run. His offensive numbers this season speak for themselves, but this is hardly the first time Adell has shown his hitting potency. The future star has dominated top-flight pitching in events like the Tournament of Stars, which features the premier high school players in the country. His power isn’t anything new either; he won the 2016 Area Code Games Home Run Derby. Adell uses a high leg-kick to generate torque from his lower half, and uses an efficient launch angle and displays great extension to create loft and drive the ball. His balance at the plate is near-perfect, and he consistently hits for power to all fields. Adell has filled out physically at a young age, making his projection as a solid professional hitter an easy one. Another promising sign is Adell’s patience. He has 32 walks in his senior season, showing that he prioritizes getting on base and resists chasing bad balls.
On the basepaths, Adell could be a terror for opposing pitchers. Adell ran a 6.4 sixty yard dash last summer, which is comparable to Mike Trout. He has 18 steals in his senior year, a number that is likely depressed because he has been getting so many extra-base hits. Adell has plus-plus speed that should grade somewhere between 70 and 80 on the MLB 20-80 grading scale.
As an outfielder, “Jo” projects as an above-average defender who may even have Gold Glove potential. He is a true centerfielder with great range and quick reaction time, allowing him to cover balls gap to gap. Adell has also pitched throughout his amateur career, which would explain his plus-plus arm strength. The Kentucky native has been clocked at 97 MPH from the outfield.
Adell’s wide skill set gives him the look of a top-five selection, but it is highly unlikely that he would be drafted that high. There are some signability concerns surrounding the prep star since he has a full ride to Oklahoma State. Moreso now than ever, teams have started drafting strategically, especially near the top of the draft in order to save their bonus pool money. This makes Adell more likely to go in the Compensation A round, where teams who took a player willing to sign for less money in the first round can give Adell above-slot money to entice him to forgo college. However, Adell’s talent and ceiling should prevent him from falling that far. Enter the New York Mets.
The Mets have followed a blueprint in the first round over the past 5 years or so. With the exception of Michael Conforto, the Mets have preferred to draft high school position players or college pitching with their first selections. In 2012, 2013, and 2015, the Mets selected Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith, and Desmond Lindsay with their first selections, all prep hitters at the time. In 2016, New York selected pitchers Justin Dunn out of Boston College and Anthony Kay from the University of Connecticut with their two first-round selections. Adell would follow that trend for New York. Top college arms Kyle Wright, JB Bukauskas, Alex Faedo, and Tanner Houck will likely be gone by the time the Mets are up at 20. Adell shouldn’t last that longer either, but if he does, he would be an absolute steal for the Mets.