As baseball enters the last full week of spring training, roster evaluation becomes much more critical for every team. Some positional battles are still to be won, as well as one of the last precious few spots on an MLB roster. While starting lineups are likely generally settled, there are still reserve spots to be earned. Young players dreaming of playing in the Major Leagues will be going all out in an effort to convince management that they are ready to take that big step.
The Chicago White Sox are no different than other teams, and so, there is a high likelihood that the final position player roster spot is still up for grabs. MLB teams will be allowed to carry 28 players on their rosters until May 1st, and the Sox still have somewhat of a fluid situation in right field. While many believe that Andrew Vaughn will get the first shot in right, he is not a proven right fielder. Perhaps the Sox will consider going in a different direction. Maybe, just maybe, Micker Adolfo will finally get his chance to play at the MLB level.
Who is Micker Adolfo?
Micker Adolfo is a powerful right fielder who was once seen as a potential MLB star, at least according to White Sox scouts. The Sox signed him to a $1.6 million contract as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic back in 2013. At 6′ 3″ and 225 pounds, he impressed Sox scouts with his raw power and throwing arm, among other things. The Sox have had high hopes that he might become an MLB quality hitter. They have been patiently waiting for him to develop, as it has been nine years now since he signed his contract.
Unfortunately, Adolfo has had several injury issues, which have limited his development. In the seven seasons that he has played minor league ball, he has played a total of 465 games, an average of fewer than 70 games a season. In those games, he has put together a slash line of .248/.321/.433, with 65 home runs and 253 RBIs. He also has compiled 642 strikeouts, while drawing only 152 walks. In 2021, Adolfo split time between AA and AAA, and produced an overall slash line of .245/.311/.520, with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs in 101 games. The 25 home runs are the highest he has hit in a season.
Why Adolfo Might Stick
While Adolfo’s numbers are not overly impressive, there is still a possibility that he gets the call to the South Side for Opening Day. One factor may be his spring training performance. So far, in limited action, he has put up a slash line of .462/.467/.1.000, with two home runs and five RBIs. Of course, this is a very small sample size and it is spring training. Even so, he has shown the power and production that had sox fans salivating nine years ago. Yet, these numbers will probably not affect how the Sox view his potential to play at the MLB level. However, there are two factors that do weigh in his favor.
Adolfo is Out of Options
Having spent eight seasons in the minors, and being 25 years old puts Adolfo in a unique position. By rule, based on those criteria, the White Sox may not send him back down to the minor leagues this spring. They must either put him on the 26-man (temporarily 28) roster or put him on waivers. So, Adolfo will either be on the White Sox Opening Day roster, or he will essentially be a free agent. The White Sox will have to decide whether to keep him on the Major League club or risk losing him to another MLB team. With his power capability, it seems likely that there would be at least one team willing to take a flyer on Adolfo. In this case, as Mick Jagger might say, time is on Adolfo’s side.
Possible Injury Issues
Interestingly, even as this article is being written, Andrew Vaughn, the Sox likely starter in right field suffered an injury making a diving catch. For Sox fans, this may be deja vu, eerily similar to the spring training injury suffered by left fielder Eloy Jimenez in spring training last season. Ironically, it was Jimenez’s injury that led to Vaughn moving to the outfield in 2021. Now, it is possible that Vaughn’s injury might open the door for Adolfo to make his MLB debut. This is merely speculation at this point, as Vaughn will be thoroughly evaluated in the next few days. However, if Vaughn is on the shelf for any length of time, look for Adolfo to take his place on the White Sox roster.
Decision Time is Coming
In any event, Micker Adolfo’s immediate future will be decided in the next 10 days. Will he make the trip north with the major league club? Will the White Sox place him on waivers in the hopes that he somehow slips through every other MLB team? Is Vaughn’s injury serious, one that will find him on the injured list for a while? Are there other right field options that Rick Hahn is exploring? These questions will all be answered before Opening Day, which is April 8th. No matter the outcome, it seems highly likely that Micker Adolfo will find himself on an MLB roster, finally. Time will tell, stay tuned.
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