In 20 games so far this season, Chicago White Sox outfielder and third baseman Nicky Delmonico has lit up the stat sheet. He’s hitting .329 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. He also reached base in his first 13 games, a Sox record. That’s impressive enough, but even more so when you consider everything the 25-year-old has been through to get here.

Big things were expected of Delmonico when he was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He inked a $1,525,000 signing bonus and played two seasons in their farm system before the Orioles traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. Somewhere along the way Delmonico became addicted to Adderall, the attention-deficit drug. While approved for medical use, he used the drug so much that in 2014 he was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games. The only thing noted by the league was that he had tested positive “for an amphetamine,” and he’s carried the stigma of drug user since. It’s the kind of situation that has ended many baseball careers.

The Brewers released Delmonico in 2015 but White Sox assistant GM Buddy Bell decided to take a chance on him, signing the minor leaguer while he was still rehabbing and taking care of himself. The low-risk, high-reward gamble paid off as they watched Nicky work his way up the minor league ladder before eventually calling him up at the beginning of August.

Delmonico still has a long way to go to prove he can be successful for an extended period of time, but for now, he’s enjoying the accomplishment of getting to the big leagues after all of his troubles.

“I went through all that at a time it was the best thing for me because I got to learn about myself, more than anything, and got back to what I loved the most.

“I hope my story can inspire a lot of people to never give up on your dreams.”

[Chicago Tribune]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.