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South Side Sox 2024 Top Prospect No. 96: Drew Dalquist

Free-falling righty needs to resuscitate his career in 2024

Since this March 2022 photo, it’s been rough going for this once-promising arm.
| @DrewDalquist/Instagram

[As we began rolling out the Top 100 a month ago, Dalquist was our No. 99 prospect. Given six players on our list elected free agency and three prospects were added in the Aaron Bummer trade, it made sense to reboot the list and make adjustments.]

Drew Dalquist
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
175 pounds
Age: 23
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking 13
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 10
2022 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 12
2023 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 33
2023 High Level Winston-Salem (High-A)
Age relative to high level -1.1 years
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system 20
Overall 2023 stats 3-6 ⚾️ 22 games (15 starts) ⚾️ 62 IP ⚾️ 7.69 ERA ⚾️ 1.823 WHIP ⚾️ 60 K ⚾️ 49 BB

Drew Dalquist’s 2019 prep stats for Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, Calif. were quite impressive, with a 9-0 record, 1.78 ERA and 103 strikeouts. His junior stats were equally impressive (1.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 25.8 K%), but his results may have gone under the radar if not for an uptick in velocity during his senior season that saw his heater jump from 91 to 95 mph during offseason tournaments and varsity competition. He was verbally committed to the University of Arizona, but reneged on it to sign an extreme over-slot deal ($2 million; the slot value was $755,300) with the White Sox as the team’s third-round selection in the 2019 MLB draft.

Dalquist was handled delicately by the Sox organization in 2019. In three starts totaling the same number of innings for the AZL squad in 2019, he allowed nary an earned run as he surrendered just two hits and two walks while striking out two. Of course, he missed a precious year of development time in 2020 due to the pandemic shutdown.

The 2021 season was a difficult transition for Dalquist to full-season baseball, as while he struggled with command, he uncharacteristically had more difficulties with his control. In 23 starts totaling 86 innings, he posted a 4.99 ERA and 1.72 WHIP by relinquishing 87 hits (.269 OBA) and 56 walks (6.07 BB/9) while fanning 79 (8.57%). There were signs of a good changeup, as lefties hit just .215 against him, as opposed to righties hitting .307. Thus, perhaps a more consistent two-seam fastball running in on righties may be the answer to that problem. Dalquist did keep the ball down, as opponents hit grounders at a 42% rate.

While fellow young arms from late last decade Jared Kelley and Matt Thompson flashed some signs of consistency, Dalquist continued to flag in 2022 — and that’s in spite of matriculating all the way up to Double-A (Project Birmingham, based on status more than merit, let’s be frank). His control continued to elude him, as the K-rate sagged. In Birmingham, Dalquist put strung together two starts as good as any he had in Winston-Salem earlier in the year; if you squint hard, that’s a promising sign.

If 2022 was a red flag, however, 2023 was an unmitigated disaster. Dalquist returned to Winston-Salem (where, to be fair, he was still more than a year younger than his competition) and failed badly over 15 starts, racking up a 7.98 ERA with shaky control. He was demoted to the pen in mid-July, but unlike Kelley’s move to relief in 2023, Dalquist did not respond to the shake-up or shift of mindset. In fact, his game broke down so completely he threw in just six games of relief in the last two months of the season.

In any sort of legitimate minor-league system, Dalquist would have fallen out of the Top 100.

Dalquist’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Durability 71 (+1 from 2022 ratings)
Hittable 28 (+2)
vs. Power 28 (+2)
Strikeouts 26 (+5)
Walks 19 (-3)
K/BB 13 (same)
Team Winning Percentage .354 (same)

Given his struggles, Dalquist will likely return to Winston-Salem for a fresh start, competing against competition his age for the first time in his pro career. However, he was so lost in 2023 there’s a chance he sees extended spring training work in Arizona and starts the season on the developmental list. Whether Dalquist returns to the pen or gets back on the starter’s mound is anyone’s guess.

2024 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

96. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
97. Jason Matthews, SS
98. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
99. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
100. Daniel González, LHRP

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