Jo Adell: From High School To The Pros

Jo Adell HS To Pros Story

Humble Beginnings

Four years ago, Jo Adell was just a freshman at Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky trying to make a name for himself and his city on the baseball field.

Now fast-forward to the present and Adell has taken his name to new heights after being drafted 10th overall in the 2017 MLB draft. A feat not many can accomplish without playing college ball.

But Adell was confident in his God-given talents from the get-go.

“I first recognized I had a shot to play professionally during my sophomore year of high school,” he said.  “After I got that first year under my belt playing at the varsity level I just took it and ran with it. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be. I took my role on the field and just knew that if I kept focusing, anything was possible for me.”

Some days, this focus meant dedicating three to four hours outside of school and practice to working on his hitting, strength, and speed.

Jo Adell HS to Pros 2

Learning From The Best

Adell grew up alongside a number of athletes. His sister is a former high school softball player and track and field athlete at the University of Louisville while his father is a retired professional football player.

“The biggest influence in my life growing up was definitely my father,” Adell said. “He played college and professional football, and just his mindset, what he instilled in me, just to go after it — I definitely took that and ran with it.”

Along with his family, the city of Louisville also played a big role in Adell’s life as a kid.

He said the city had his back from the beginning, whether it was in baseball or his personal life. Not only did the community recognize his talents early on, but the locals supported him along his journey through high school by showing up to his games and giving him the extra push he needed.

This push was necessary as Adell worked his way through high school and travel baseball, playing in front of a number of collegiate and pro scouts. Adell credits his travel team coach for helping him get all that recognition.

“My travel ball coach Jeff Petty really allowed me to put my face on a national stage. He always had a top-of-the-line, best travel ball team in the country,” He said. “And you know pro scouts are going to show up for that and draw a lot of attention.”

But Adell’s relationship with his coach ran deeper than just on the baseball diamond. Petty not only thought highly of Adell as a five-tool outfielder, but he also believed who Adell was off the diamond played a role into getting him where he is today.

“My favorite aspect of Jo’s game is how great of a human being he is,” Petty said. “He is a standout on the baseball field in every way, but one thing that stands out for me is how good of person Jo is to the core. He is the type of person that is going to be a great member of society and help others for a long time.”

Becoming Better Every Day

Adell’s hard work, character, and laser-sharp focus drove him to a big decision at the age of 18. He could either accept a full-ride scholarship to the University of Louisville or take his talents to the professional ranks.

But after some thought, and a senior season that saw him launch 25 home runs and swipe 21 bases, the choice to sign the contract was a no-brainer.

However, Adell knows that what he went through in high school was the easy part, and the journey is truly just beginning for him. What lies ahead now is a lot of adjusting to the pro game.

Adell makes sure to study plenty of film of current and former professionals. This allows him to see what those players are doing to be successful each and every day. But along with this, he knows his play in games needs to adjust as well.

“The little stuff that I was able to get away with playing high school I’m not able to professionally, like getting a small lead and trying to steal a base,” he said. “Now I have to get the biggest lead possible to be able to steal second base because the catchers are so good.”

As Adell begins his rookie season this spring, what he doesn’t know is where his career will take him ten years from now. But what he does know is if he continues to stay humble and focused he has a good shot at reaching his goals.

“Everything that you are doing — be right there in the moment,” he said. “Don’t worry about what’s ahead of you and just focus on the task at hand day in and day out, because it’s really easy to get caught up in what could be next or what may be coming up in your future.”


  • Chad Coleman:

    This is one of the most inspiring stories I’ve read in regards to a young black male baseball player in America. I am going to have my son read this, because he is sort of in the same early situation as Jo. He is a three-sport varsity athlete in football, track, and baseball during his freshmen year. Jo Adell’s story gives young black boys hope, as well as someone they can relate to. Baseball is not a popular sport in our city (Flint, MI), as well as many other urban cities. So Jo’s story serves as truly a great inspiring messsage to them all! Good luck Jo!! Chad Coleman

  • Lavorne Walker:

    I am the grandmother of Jo Nd couldn’t be more excited about his journey!

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