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Thoughts on White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo

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He’s out with Tommy John surgery. What will happen now?

Micker Adolfo
Scott Greenwald photography

Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox announced that outfield prospect Micker Adolfo needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. A few days before the announcement, I received this email about Adolfo:

Micker Adolfo, real breakout or not?”—-S.P. from Toronto

Let’s take a look.

The White Sox signed Adolfo out of the Dominican Republic back in 2013 for $1,600,000. He spent two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League with mediocre results then hit just .219/.269/.340 in 247 at-bats in Low-A in 2016.

Adolfo turned things around in 2017, hitting .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers in Low-A, thanks to some swing adjustments, physical maturity, and a slight but noticeable improvement in his batting eye.

Scott Greenwald photography

Adolfo ranked 12th on the Chicago White Sox Top 20 prospects for 2018 list with this comment:

12) Micker Adolfo, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013, hit .264/.331/.453 with 16 homer, 31 walks, 149 strikeouts in 424 at-bats in Low-A; would rank higher on pure tools alone, notably 60-grade raw power and a 65 or 70 throwing arm; made progress getting his swing in gear in ’17 and boosted his SLG by 100 points but still has some issues with strikeouts/pitch recognition; high-ceiling power bat but still unclear if he will handle advanced pitching; ETA 2021.

The elbow problem limited Adolfo to DH duty this season but he continued to progress with the bat, hitting .283/.368/.466 with High-A Winston-Salem, contributing 11 homers and 33 walks albeit with 91 strikeouts in 290 at-bats.

Of course he’s shut down with the surgery now but Carolina League observers saw enough to back up what the numbers indicate: his raw power is manifesting more and more often as in-game power.

At age 21, that’s a trend that should continue given proper surgery recovery. That said, contact against advanced pitching remains a question so we still don’t know what his batting average and OBP are going to look like. Additionally, his throwing arm was as impressive as his raw power pre-injury and we’ll have to see if that changes post-injury.

Overall I see Adolfo as a B- prospect right now: he has an impressive ceiling and positive signs for reaching that ceiling are increasing, but there’s still considerable uncertainty that we can’t resolve until he comes back from surgery next year.