The Milwaukee Brewers traded closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Baltimore Orioles this evening, receiving third baseman/first baseman Nick Delmonico in return. Here is the scoop on the newest member of the Brewers farm system.
Nick Delmonico, 3B-1B:
Nick Delmonico was drafted by the Orioles in the sixth round in 2011, from high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. The son of former college coach Rod Delmonico, Nick was a first-round candidate at one point, but a back injury, a shaky spring, and a University of Georgia scholarship put his signability in doubt. The Orioles spent $1,525,000 to keep him away from college, though he signed too late to play pro ball in '11.
Delmonico played 95 games for Delmarva in the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2012, hitting .249/.351/.411 with 11 homers, 47 walks, and 73 strikeouts in 338 at-bats. Moved up to High-A Frederick for '13, he's hitting .244/.351/.471 with 13 homers, 56 walks, and 59 strikeouts in 225 at-bats. Overall, Delmonico has played 155 minor league games (perfect for seasonal notation!) hitting .247/.351/.435 with 34 doubles, 24 homers, 83 walks, and 132 strikeouts in 655 plate appearances.
Listed at 6-2, 195, Delmonico was born July 12, 1992. A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, he is exactly the player you'd expect from his numbers: a power hitter with a patient approach who works counts but is prone to the strikeout and probably won't hit for a great average. He was seen as more of a pure hitter coming out of high school, but he's shown more power (and less contact) than originally anticipated.
Although his running speed is below average, he is fundamentally sound (as you'd expect given his background) and is an adept runner, stealing 13 bases in 15 attempts as a pro. He won't steal many at higher levels, but the success percentage is testimony to his polish and the fact that he was well-coached as a kid.
The Orioles valiantly tried him at both second base and third base, with poor results to this point. His arm is good enough for third, but he's error-prone at this stage and may lack the quickness to stick there in the long run. First base would put more pressure on his bat of course.
Delmonico has flaws but he has virtues as well and has a chance to be an impact power hitter, though I'm curious to see how he'll do in Double-A. Still, this is a good return for the Brewers, picking up a young power bat in exchange for a 31-year-old reliever who won't be part of Milwaukee's next good team. It is a win-now move for the Orioles, but that's OK too. They already have a couple of pretty good players at the corners.