Showcase | Story | 6/15/2015

Two-way talent tames Jr. Nat

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

FORT MYERS, Fla. – To hit or not to hit? To pitch or not to pitch? For standout Louisville, Ky., two-way talent Jordan Adell, those are two pertinent questions as he moves into the two most decisive years of his still blossoming baseball career.

Adell, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed pitcher and outfielder who will be a junior at Ballard High School in Louisville this fall, considers himself a primary pitcher, but right now most baseball people are looking at him as a pretty solid two-way guy.

The University of Louisville – to which Adell has committed – recruited him as both a pitcher and a hitter. It is his intention to keep doing both for as long as he can while also realizing that at some point it’s going to come down to doing one or the other.

While it’s likely the ultimate determination is still years away, it was with the question of “Do I pitch or do I hit?” that was on Adell’s mind when he arrived at the Perfect Game Junior National Showcase at JetBlue Park on Sunday.

Scott Adell, Jordan’s father, feels like his son has been “pigeon-holed” as a pitcher since he was about 10 years old, mostly because the velocity Jordan has shown compared to other kids his age. Both father and son felt it was important for Jordan to have the opportunity to run the 60-yard dash, throw from the outfield and take a good, solid session of batting practice in front of scouts and college recruiters.

Adell certainly did not disappoint anyone who was paying attention. He threw 97 mph from the outfield, which was not only a personal best but set a PG Jr. National Showcase record. He ran a 6.47-second 60, just six-hundredths of a second off the event record of 6.41 set by TJ Costen in 2009. Finally, he was impressive enough during his BP session that a PG scout wrote:

“(Adell) is extremely athletic (and) hits with a wide base, slight crouch and shows good feel for the barrel with the ability to put a charge into the ball to all fields.”

He was given the opportunity to pitch Monday morning and delivered fastballs that sat consistently between 85-89 mph.

“I’ve been feeling really good and I feel like I’ve been playing really loose and I’m not really tensed up,” Adell said after his workout session. “I’m going out there and playing the game and that’s the way I go about it. That’s the mindset I have when I go out there.

“It’s really awesome to see some familiar faces here and be on the same team with some of the guys that I’ve played against in the past. It’s been pretty awesome that way.”

This was Adell’s first showcase experience and he said he came in with a little bit of a different mindset from he might have when playing in a tournament. Over the last two days, he walked out on the field with the idea in mind of just letting it all loose and showing people exactly what he’s capable of. He figures it’s likely every other prospect in attendance is doing the same thing.

“We look at it as an opportunity for Jordan to play with kids his own age and kind of see where he is and how he lines up,” Scott Adell said. “He’s a two-way guy, so to get the opportunity for him to come out here and run and throw with these other guys a little bit kind of lets us know what he needs to work on, where everybody else is, and what they’re working on. And it also give us an opportunity to meet some of the other parents and develop a fellowship with them.”

While this is Adell’s first PG showcase, he has been involved in four PG WWBA and PG BCS tournaments the last two years. He was an all-tournament team selection at the 2013 14u PG BCS Finals and at the 2014 15u PG WWBA National Championship while playing with the Midland Tribe.

He finished the 2014 season off by playing with the EvoShield Canes 2017 Prime at the PG WWBA Underclass World Championship here at the JetBlue Player Development Complex. He is planning on playing a full season with the Canes this summer and fall.

The experience of playing with the organization has been “absolutely awesome” in Adell’s words, and he’s been impressed with the professional manner in which the group conducts its business. He has especially enjoyed having the opportunity to work with Jamie Evans, a professional pitching coach who acts as the Canes’ head pitching and velocity consultant, working primarily with the 16u group.

“Coach Jamie Evans has been amazing with me, just the little things with my mechanics and tweaking some things,” Adell said. “It’s been awesome being able to work with him – he works with pro guys, as well – and it’s been a great experience.”

Adell spent the offseason “busting my tail” by lifting weights and adding muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame. He noticed a jump in his velocity this spring after first finding a proper slot and release point while also crediting the work he did in a velocity program. The program involves working with weighted balls four or five times a week, and it’s a workout he can do from his own home.

“I’ve been pretty pleased and I feel like I’m getting into my own body,” Adell said. “I’m hopefully filling out a little bit and I’m starting to really feel it now.”

Scott Adell called his son a “grinder” which is a necessary trait for any athlete striving to compete at the highest level. Scott tries to impress on his son the importance of maintaining an intense training regimen throughout amateur baseball’s long offseason.

“If you want to be an elite athlete you’ve got to work, work, work, and that’s what I tell him all the time,” Scott said. “He’s running, he’s hitting in the cages, he’s lifting weights – he’s doing everything that needs to be done in order to improve his game.”

Adell has been playing baseball pretty much his entire life, or at least as long as he’s been able to pick up a ball and give it a toss. He has also participated in basketball, soccer and swimming, just about anything to stay active. One of the few sports he bypassed was football, which is interesting simply because his dad was a standout offensive tackle at North Carolina State who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 30th round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

“I never got into football myself,” Jordan Adell said with a laugh, “but (Scott’s) mindset and my mindset are kind of similar now. He kind of pushes me just with his football mentality.”

This is an athletic family. Jordan’s sister – and Scott and Nicole Adell’s daughter – Jessica Adell just completed her freshman season playing softball at the University of Tennessee but is considering transferring to join her brother at Louisville.

Jordan’s decision to commit to Louisville seems like the ultimate no-brainer, considering the family has lived in the city for 10 years now. He said the campus really did feel like a home away from home, and in this case one that really was just down the street from his real home.

“There was a family feeling that I got when I was around the coaching staff and the players,” he said. “You can talk to those guys and it felt like nothing; it was like talking to your dad with that family atmosphere.”

Jordan Adell came into the Perfect Game Jr. National as PG’s No. 36-ranked prospect in the national high school class of 2017, and everything he did here on Sunday and Monday should only serve to enhance that ranking.

“It blows me away,” Scott Adell said with a laugh. “The rankings come out and he’s 36, and I’m like, ‘This kid, compared to everybody in the country, I don’t know,’ and then he gets out here and he competes with them … and he comes back and it builds his confidence up.

“Baseball is a sport of failure and anytime you can get an opportunity to do a few things that make you feel good where you are and what your progression is, it’s a good thing.”

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