On Tuesday the Chicago White Sox promoted third baseman/outfielder Nicky Delmonico to the major league roster. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his MLB debut yesterday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s take a look.
Nicky Delmonico was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round in 2011 from high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father Rod Delmonico was the head baseball coach at the University of Tennessee for 18 years.
Nicky’s draft position was deceptive: he was viewed as a first round talent but was strongly committed to the University of Georgia and considered a difficult sign. The Orioles changed his mind with $1,525,000.
Delmonico was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013 for Francisco Rodriguez. His tenure in the Brewers system was difficult, hampered by injuries and then a 50-game suspension for amphetamine use in 2014. In the spring of 2015 he asked for his release citing personal reasons; the request was granted by the Brewers.
After some time off he signed with the White Sox as a free agent. He took advantage of his second chance and his 2016 season was quite decent (.279/.397/.490 between Double-A and Triple-A); he’s remained solid in 2017, hitting .262/.347/.421 in 378 at-bats for Triple-A Charlotte.
Delmonico is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, listed at 6-2, 230, born July 12th, 1992. His power potential has always been highly-regarded and he has a solid eye for the strike zone, but his production before signing with the White Sox was erratic and many observers critiqued his swing as stiff when he was with the Orioles and Brewers. He’s made enough adjustments to make it work, at least in the high minors.
Defensively his best tool is his throwing arm, but his lack of mobility limit his glove value. He’s spent most of his time at third base. His arm works there but his range is below-average and he makes too many errors. Alas, he also makes too many errors when used at first base. Brief trials in left and right field have not been complete disasters since he catches what he gets to, but unfortunately he just doesn’t get to a lot of balls due to lack of speed.
Despite these limitations, Delmonico has enough thump in his bat to be a useful role player.