Fresh off his return from the disabled list Wednesday, Chicago White Sox rookie left fielder Nicky Delmonico made a heck of a grab at the wall to take a home run away from Cleveland Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Not on Nicky Delmonico's watch pic.twitter.com/JjvAqKEbYI
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 7, 2017
Delmonico, who overcame an Adderall addiction in the minor leagues, was fortunate to have deep positioning in left field. That allowed him to drift back to the wall easily, but this was still an impressive jump, and he received a tip of the hat from pitcher Gregory Infante for it.
Delmonico has only appeared in 22 career major league games, all this season, but he’s batting .307/.429/.573. However, he hasn’t looked as great in the field overall, receiving a -2.9 wins above average contribution there. Catches like this certainly help, though. And it’s notable that while his stats suggest he may be due for at least some regression, Fangraphs’ Travis Sawchik wrote last month that he could perhaps stick around in the majors as a useful player, something many hadn’t previously predicted for him:
Delmonico has displayed the ability to hit for average, hit for power, and also to draw walks at times in the minor leagues — just rarely all in the same campaign. He’s put it all together at the major-league level. It’s unlikely it lasts — he’s not going to sustain 30% HR/FB rate — but he has opened some eyes and, at the very least, extended his stay.
The White Sox are a rebuilding club; they should be giving players like Delmonico a chance. Maybe this will be Delmonico’s equivalent of 15 minutes of fame, or maybe the White Sox have found a useful player — who with a left-handed bat — who could occupy the strong side of a platoon. For what it’s worth, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Delmonico has an “it” factor. He perhaps also has some defensive versatility, having played quite a bit of third base in the minors.
The White Sox went on to lose 5-1 in this one, so Delmonico’s grab wasn’t all that important in the end. But it was another nice highlight for him this season, and another step in his impressive and unlikely story.
[Sports Illustrated on Twitter]