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MLB Rookie Profile: Adam Engel, OF, Chicago White Sox

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White Sox promote tooled-up outfielder Adam Engel to the major leagues

MLB: Fall Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox have been monopolizing our rookie profile reports over the last 24 hours, promoting pitchers Tyler Danish and Juan Minaya yesterday and bringing up outfielder Adam Engel today. Here’s a look at Engel.

Adam Engel is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He played college baseball at the University of Louisville where he drew raves for his blazing speed and impressive defensive ability, but he had a lot of trouble handling college pitching, hitting just .236/.367/.301 in his junior year. That was enough to knock him down to the 19th round in the 2013 draft, as it was clear his swing needed to be completely reworked in pro ball.

He spent 2014 and 2015 in A-ball, showing some improvement, then moved up three levels in 2016, opening in High-A and finishing in Triple-A with a combined .259/.344/.406 line.

Engel was rated as a Grade C+ prospect pre-season but was not ranked among the White Sox Top 20 prospects. He would have fit in the 21-25 range.

For 2017, Engel was hitting .221/.312/.463 for Triple-A Charlotte with eight homers, three steals, 17 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 149 at-bats.

Listed at 6-2, 200, Engel is a right-handed hitter and thrower born December 9th, 1991. He’s one of the best pure athletes in pro ball, featuring 80-grade speed and an above-average throwing arm that make him an excellent defensive outfielder.

The problem is the bat. Engel has at least average raw power but he’s never been able to keep his swing in gear to tap the strength consistently for more than a few weeks at a time. He’s boosted his isolated power production this year but his batting average and OBP remain low. Although he makes a good faith effort to work counts, he gets into the habit of swinging at unhittable pitches while letting hittable ones go by.

He’s dangerous if the pitcher makes too many location mistakes, but for the most part that danger has been containable.

Without considerably more hitting development, Engel projects as a defense-oriented reserve outfielder with occasional pop.