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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 86: Craig Dedelow

The lanky left fielder brings solid defense and power to the table

Soured on southpaws: Dedelow’s power stroke is solid, but he’ll need to improve his hitting against lefties to advance past A-ball.
Tiffany Wintz (@TiffW96)/South Side Sox

Craig Dedelow
195 pounds
Throws: Right
Age: 24
SSS rank among all left fielders in the system: 4

Dedelow is the kind of player that baseball evaluators refer to as a “grinder.” He survives on grit, and he’s going to make his presence known through hard work and perseverance.

Dedelow was a three-sport athlete in high school for a short time, before a broken arm ended his prep football career as a freshman. However, he continued to excel in both basketball and baseball. Dedelow played power forward on the No. 1-ranked basketball team in his home state of Indiana during his senior year, but when he failed to garner collegiate recruiting attention he realized baseball was his sport.

But even the path to collegiate baseball required Dedelow to utilize his grinder mentality. He tells South Side Sox that he began an e-mail campaign to “pretty much every D-1 school in all the states surrounding Indiana.” He received a lukewarm response from both Purdue and Indiana, which hurt, having grown up as a huge Purdue fan he wanted to go there. “I had my student I.D. and my classes picked out, but after Indiana went to the College World Series, coach Tracy Smith gave me a call and invited me to see the campus. I fell in love, and accepted a recruited walk-on spot.”

At IU, Dedelow made the most of his opportunity, and after his junior year was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 34thround of the 2016 draft. Instead of signing a professional contract, he opted to return to college for his senior season. There, his hard work and dedication to strength training resulted in a power surge, as Dedelow hit 19 long balls during his final season, surpassing his previous three year’s combined total. The power surge opened some eyes and Dedelow was selected by the White Sox in the 10thround of the 2017 draft.

Dedelow continued mashing during his rookie ball debut at Great Falls, authoring a fantastic .321/.353/.574 slash line that included a dozen round-trippers.

He came into the 2018 season with high hopes, kicking off his first full pro season as the primary left fielder for the Kannapolis Intimidators. At the end of the first half, Dedelow was one of eight Intimidators earning a selection as a SAL All-Star, and he showcased his plus raw power by finishing as the runner-up in the Home Run Derby.

After the All-Star break Dedelow’s stat line dropped off precipitously, as he slashed .214/.261/.381 in spite of doubling his first half home run total. He recognizes that those numbers weren’t representative of his ability, and feels that they may have been a result of pressing after not being promoted after the All-Star Game. “I wanted to do even better and prove myself,” Dedelow explains succinctly. “I put extra pressure on myself ,and I think I just dug a hole I couldn’t get out of.”

The lanky 6´4´´, 215-pounder takes an aggressive approach from the left hand side of the box; Dedelow strives to hit fastballs early, staying out of counts that give the pitcher an advantage. This offseason, he has spent time working on keeping his hands inside the ball and keeping his swing short while hitting the ball where it is pitched. Dedelow’s splits against left-handed pitchers were rough, as he hit only .164 with a .221 OBP in those matchups. He’ll need to improve in this area to avoid being a platoon player.

In the outfield, Dedelow takes pride in his defense. “If you’re not hitting,” he says, “playing good defense is something you can always do to help the team.” He uses a long, loping stride to track down fly balls, and seems to get a good read on the ball off the bat. His arm accounted for 17 outfield assists, which led all White Sox farmhands.

Dedelow recognizes that being a 24-year-old in A-ball is not an enviable position. “Not being a high money guy and being a little older makes me feel a little extra pressure,” he says. “But I want to focus on controlling the things that I can control.”

Dedelow’s goals for 2019 include starting the season at High-A, finishing the season in AA and staying within himself while doing the little things right. “He has some tools, but chases too much,” an American League scout offers. “That K-BB rate will get him. He reminded me of Jeremey Hazelbaker, but doesn’t run as well. He may have a similar career.”

With a projectable body, plus power, and a focus on the intangibles, though, Dedelow presents a case for optimism. He’s a player in a make-or-break year, and someone White Sox fans should be interested in.

Take a look!

(thanks, 2080!)

2019 South Side Sox Top 100 Prospects

86. Craig Dedelow, LF
87. Wilber Pérez, RHSP
88. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
89. Johan Dominguez, RHRP
90. Mitch Roman, 2B
91. Ty Greene, C
92. Tanner Banks, LHSP
93. Jake Elliott, RHRP
94. Kevin Escorcia, LHRP
95. Luis Rodriguez, RHSP
96. Ian Dawkins, LF
97. Victor Diaz, RHRP
98. Travis Moniot, LF
99. Will Kincanon, RHRP
100. Brian Clark, LHRP