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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 44: Theo Denlinger

This multi-faceted fireballer is already forging ahead in the White Sox system.

Theo Denlinger Wants You to acknowledge him as the 44th-best prospect in the White Sox system.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Theo Denlinger

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
240 pounds
Age: 25
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system: 5

One can say that Theo Denlinger certainly has enjoyed an unorthodox baseball career to date. As a three-sport athlete from Cuba City H.S. (just 10 miles from Platteville, Wis.), Denlinger earned a combined 12 varsity letters in baseball, football and basketball. While in high school, he began his blacksmithing career while attending a Native American rendezvous for Father’s Day in Prairie du Chien, Wis., with his father and his older brother, Trent, who was an offensive right guard at the University of Wisconsin. Now, Denlinger has a shop right outside his house with a propane forge, a 180-pound anvil and grinders.

Now, let’s look at Denlinger’s college career. As a freshman in 2016 for Madison Tech CC, he relieved in nine games and posted a 3.57 ERA — albeit with high walk totals (14 in 19 1⁄3 innings). He only entered two games in 2017 and 2018 combined, due to blowing out his knee and Tommy John surgery.

As a junior for Bradley University in 2019, Denlinger put together his best college year by producing a 2.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 22 relief outings, as he saved six games and limited hitters to a .175 OBA. As a result of his efforts, he was named All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team. After a rough three-game start to begin his senior season in 2020, the year was derailed due to the pandemic. In 2021 for the Braves, Denlinger posted a 4.58 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 17 2⁄3 innings by relinquishing 19 hits (.275 OBA) and 10 walks (12.5%) while striking out 21 (26.3%). He also turned heads during the Northwoods Summer League prior to the draft, as he produced a 1.06 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 17 innings for the Madison Mallards while allowing just 13 hits and four walks while striking out 25.

Shortly after being selected to pitch in the Northwoods League All-Star Game, Denlinger was selected by the White Sox in the 2021 draft. In a combined 16 relief appearances for the ACL Sox and Kannapolis, Denlinger compiled a 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. In his 16 2⁄3 innings, he surrendered just 13 hits (.217 OBA) and seven walks (10.3%) while striking out an incredible 31 (45.6%). He was about two years older than his average competition this year while at Kannapolis, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Denlinger promoted to Birmingham to begin the 2022 season. With that said, it’s likelier that he begins with Winston-Salem, but will earn a promotion if he gets off to a good start.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Silven, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP