clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago White Sox
What will the White Sox do with Micker Adolfo, now that he’s out of options?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Filed under:

White Sox Deep Dive: Birmingham and Charlotte right fielders

Two sluggers lead this list of upper-level minor leaguers.

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Welcome to another year of Deep Dive, where we analyze the past, present and future for each position in the White Sox organization. Each position is broken into five parts:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican and Arizona)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on a White Sox player
  5. Free agent options

Right field has long been an area of concern — especially since the White Sox began their most recent rebuild. Many an outfielder has tried to patrol that area, but names like Daniel Palka, Nicky Delmonico, Nomar Mazara and Adam Eaton were at best stopgaps, at worst failures unable to produce consistently positive outcomes since that time.

Unfortunately, due to injuries or underperformance, the minor league system hasn’t produced anyone as yet to fill that hole. While Gavin Sheets did perform nicely last year, he’s by no means a sure thing. The White Sox currently have three right fielders among its Top 30 — the most of any outfield position. And this doesn’t even include Oscar Colás, who is slated to officially sign with the Sox in January and is currently ranked among the Top 5 international prospects per MLB Pipeline.

Will anyone be the answer to a question that has long perplexed the organization?

Below are the organization’s right fielders who finished the season at either Charlotte (Triple-A) or Birmingham (Double-A).

Ages below are as of April 1, 2022

Charlotte Knights

Micker Adolfo
230 pounds
Age: 25
Bats/Throws: R/R
Other positions played: LF
2018 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 10
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 7
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 9
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 11

Thanks in large part to his power bat and arm, Dominican native Adolfo received what was then the highest international signing bonus in White Sox history, at $1.6 million on July 2, 2013. However, his professional career has had trouble gaining traction, primarily due to his inability to stay on the field. As a result, Adolfo found himself playing for the team’s AZL squad for all of 2014 and 2015, finally earning a promotion to full-season Kannapolis in 2016. Of course, he missed significant time that year, as he slashed just .219/.269/.340 in 65 games with 13 doubles, one triple, five homers, 21 RBIs, 14 walks (5.3%)and 88 strikeouts (33.2%).

Adolfo bounced back to play 112 games with Kannapolis in 2017 and hit .264/.331/.453 in 112 games with 28 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 68 RBIs, 31 walks (6.6%) and 149 strikeouts (31.5%). To avoid the risk of losing him in the upcoming Rule 5 draft that year, the White Sox added him to the 40-man roster.

Due to elbow pain, Adolfo missed the first half of the 2018 season with Winston-Salem, and when he returned he was limited to DH duties. Despite his injury, he still posted a career-high .833 OPS by slashing .282/.369/.464 in 79 games with 18 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 50 RBIs, 34 walks (10.1%) and 92 strikeouts (27.4%). After undergoing arthroscopic injury during the offseason, he was limited to just 36 combined games in 2019 with Birmingham and AZL (rehab assignment), and produced subpar results as he tried to shake off the rust. Despite hitting four homers in 15 games in the Arizona Fall League for some extra 2019 reps, Adolfo’s results were still lacking, as he slashed just .167/.262/.389. He missed yet more playing time in 2020 due to the pandemic shutdown.

In 2021, Adolfo had another bounce-back season, although the results were a mixed bag, as even though he produced a 20 doubles-20 homers season his batting average was low while playing a portion of year at Charlotte’s Truist Field. In a combined 101 games with Birmingham and Charlotte, Adolfo slashed .245/.311/.520 with 24 doubles, one triple, 25 homers, 69 RBIs, four stolen bases, 31 walks (7.7%) and 138 strikeouts (34.1%). With Birmingham, Adolfo produced a 128 wRC+; with Charlotte, a still respectable 112. His numbers were similar for both teams, but many fans expected more at Charlotte based upon his results with Birmingham.

Despite being in the organization since 2014, Adolfo is still just 25 years old. Despite that, he’s still not a finished product based upon his injury history and the 2020 pandemic. He currently is the highest-ranked right field prospect in the organization and 11th overall according to MLB Pipeline. As one would expect, his arm (70) and power (55) are graded as his loudest tools; his fielding (50), running (45) and hitting tools lag behind. Despite his size, Adolfo still plays a decent right field and still possesses a cannon arm despite his previous elbow surgery.

Because he was added to the 40-man roster at the end of the 2017 season, Adolfo is now out of options. Thus, the White Sox must decide whether to add him to the Opening Day roster or risk losing him to waivers. A lot may depend upon what the White Sox wish to do with their right field opening via free agency or trade. If no acquisitions are made, he’d have to make a strong case for himself during spring training. If added to the active roster, he could be a contender for a platoon role with someone like Gavin Sheets; easing him into the lineup in more conducive situations. Of course, with Adolfo’s career 33.1% strikeout rate in the minors, there would be room for skepticism as he’d be facing the best pitching the world has to offer. If placed on waivers and he goes unclaimed, the Sox would likely opt to return him to Charlotte for more seasoning.

Birmingham Barons

Craig Dedelow
210 pounds
Age: 27
Bats/Throws: L/R
Other positions played: LF
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 86
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 43

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.

At IU, Dedelow made the most of his opportunity, and after his junior year was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 34th round of the 2016 draft. Instead of signing a professional contract, Dedelow 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 10th round of the 2017 draft. He continued mashing during his rookie ball debut at Great Falls, authoring a fantastic .321/.353/.574 slash line that included a dozen round-trippers.

Dedelow 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. But 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.

Dedelow advanced to Winston-Salem for the 2019 season and fairly well duplicated his 2018 numbers from Low-A, slashing ,245/.307/.445 and driving out a personal professional-best 18 homers. Advancement to Birmingham, however, was delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic shutdown.

Birmingham’s not an easy place to hit, as while the dimensions aren’t particularly overwhelming, balls simply don’t carry well in the evening air there. Thus, it was expected to be a challenge for Dedelow. While he did produce his share of extra-base hits, his numbers were relatively underwhelming overall. For the year, he slashed .224/.315/.423 with 20 doubles, one triple, 17 homers, 56 RBIs, three stolen bases, 46 walks, 138 strikeouts and a 104 wRC+. He did attain a career-high walk rate, but also hit his career worst in strikeout rate. Inconsistencies with Dedelow’s swing seem to be the biggest culprit for his whiffs.

Thanks in part to the pandemic and his ever-so-slow rise in the system, Dedelow played against competition about 1.5 years years younger in 2021. Thus, while he’s still a prospect, he’s not rated high in the prospect ratings. However, with his left-handed bat that produces extra-base hits regularly and his ability to play all outfield positions, Dedelow could open some eyes if he gets the opportunity to play in Charlotte’s Truist Field next year. He will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

Luis Alexander Basabe
180 pounds
Bats/Throws: B/R
Age: 25
Other positions played: CF
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 11
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 10

For his 16th birthday on Aug. 26, 2012, Basabe (along with his twin brother, Luis Alejandro) received a signing bonus from the Boston Red Sox as his gift. Basabe’s first two seasons in that organization were spent in the DSL, where the Venezuelan posted decent but unspectacular numbers. After playing in the New York-Penn League in 2015, Basabe started moving up the prospect charts in 2016 with Salem (A) and Greenville as he combined to slash .264/.328/.452 in 110 games with 26 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 53 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. Then in December of that year, Basabe was traded along with Yoán Moncada, Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz for ace hurler Chris Sale in a blockbuster deal.

In Basabe’s first year in the White Sox organization, he struggled with Winston-Salem, at .221/.320/.320 in 107 games with 12 doubles, five triples, five homers, 36 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 49 walks (11.3%) and 104 strikeouts (23.9%); the struggles were due in large part to a torn meniscus. At the end of the season, Basabe was added to the 40-man roster to prevent him from being snatched from another squad via the Rule 5 draft. The 2018 season was his most successful in the White Sox system, as he combined with Winston-Salem and Birmingham to slash .258/.354/.445 in 119 games with 21 doubles, eight triples, 15 homers, 56 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 64 walks (12.4%) and 140 strikeouts (27.2%).

Injuries (Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand during spring training and lost more at-bats to a recurring quadriceps injury during the season) greatly impacted Basabe in 2019. As a result, he slashed just .246/.324/.336 in 69 games for Birmingham with 12 doubles, one triple, three homers, 30 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 29 walks (10.0%) and 85 strikeouts (29.2%).

Basabe didn’t originally begin the 2020 season with the White Sox taxi squad, but that’s not to suggest it wasn’t an eventful year for him. When the Sox added reliever Brady Lail to its active roster, the White Sox designated Basabe for assignment on August 4 — ultimately trading him to the San Francisco Giants five days later for cash considerations. About a month after that, Basabe was promoted to San Francisco where he spent two weeks as a reserve outfielder. During that cup of coffee, he got two hits in 14 at-bats with an RBI, two stolen bases, four walks and five strikeouts.

The 2021 season was quite a different story for Basabe. He was designated for assignment in early February in order to make room room in the 40-man roster for new Giants free agent acquisition Tommy La Stella. Then, on March 10, he suffered a sprained left wrist. In between injury rehab assignments with the Giants’ ACL squad, he spent time with the team’s Double-A affiliate in Richmond. In 33 games totaling 95 combined at-bats, he slashed .253/.393/.411 with six doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs, five stolen bases, 21 walks (17.9%) and 37 strikeouts (31.6%). He opted for minor league free agency, and it was announced on November 24 that he had re-signed with the White Sox on a minor league deal.

Basabe, at the time he was claimed by the Giants, ranked 12th on the White Sox prospect list according to MLB Pipeline. His most significant tools at the time were considered his running and arm (60 each), fielding 55, power 50 and hitting 45. Despite his low homer output (likely due to that hamate injury), Basabe does indeed have 20-homer power, as evidenced by his blast off a 102-mph fastball from Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The biggest concern is Basabe’s bat, as like earlier versions of Moncada, Basabe strikes out far too often after taking way too many called third strikes.

White Sox Game Recaps

Chisox sweep secured with a Burger Bomb

Six Pack of Stats

Six Pack of Stats: White Sox 6, Tigers 2

Bird App Recap

Bird App Recap: White Sox 6, Tigers 2