White Sox: Could Nicky Delmonico have 2020 impact?
On Monday, the Nicky Delmonico announced that he is returning to the south side on a minor league deal with an invite to White Sox Spring Training.
For many, this signing will go completely under the radar as most don’t expect Delmonico to become anything close to a major contributor for the White Sox.
That being said, just because a move doesn’t grab headlines doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile and that could prove to be the case in Delmonico.
The 27-year-old is coming off a 2019 season in which he appeared in 21 games for the White Sox and hit .206/.265/.286 with one home run and six RBI to give himself a 49 wRC+ and -0.5 fWAR.
Certainly, those stats are less than inspiring especially when you add in that he is a below-average defender with -9 DRS and a -1.3 UZR in left field for his major league career which spans 942 2/3 innings there (FanGraphs).
Delmonico, though, did have some success with the White Sox in 2017 when he was initially called up, hitting .262/.373/.482 with nine homers and 23 RBI to give himself a 133 wRC+ and 1.1 fWAR over 43 games in the majors.
His 2018 season looked to have some promise too up until he fractured his right hand in May of that season.
The left-handed hitter was only hitting .224/.333/.302 with one homer and seven RBI before the injury, but it appeared that was due to overexposure being used as an every day left fielder.
In April of 2018, he actually was quite impressive as he hit .273/.360/.364, with his one homer and six of his RBI coming in that month.
Upon his return, Delmonico had a nice seven-game stretch, but eventually cooled off again.
What these trends, to me, would suggest is that the key to making Delmonico a useful player for the White Sox in 2020 is to make sure he isn’t overexposed.
If they use him as a part-time fourth or fifth outfielder and sometimes use him as a DH, Delmonico could actually become a useful piece for the team next season.
The White Sox are only guaranteed to have three hitters capable of hitting left-handed on the roster next season in Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, and Nomar Mazara.
All three will be in the starting lineup so having Delmonico on the bench, if he makes the team, could be smart. If the team keeps Zack Collins on the roster they would have two bench players for that role.
Nicky Delmonico certainly isn’t going to be a game-changer for the White Sox, but bringing him back for the 2020 season was a smart move.