The Chicago White Sox never expected Nicky Delmonico to come back the way he has in 2020 and there’s a reason for his newfound success.
In 13 spring training games (35 plate appearances), Delmonico hit .250/.314/.438 with one home run, three doubles, and four RBI.
While the 27-year-old’s performance wasn’t outstanding, it very well could be enough to land him a spot on the team’s 2020 bench to start the season.
That was also significantly better than what he showed in his most recent chance in the big leagues, as Delmonico found himself released in 2019 after hitting .206/.265/.286 with one homer, six RBI, and a 49 wRC+ over 21 games to give himself a -0.5 fWAR (FanGraphs).
According to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, the reason for his newfound success is his now-healthy shoulder.
"“Being healthy finally, and going through the routine again of not having to go the training room and being there all day and figuring out if you’re going to feel 80 percent, 60 percent that day, just mentally every day coming in and knowing that I feel good and waking up feeling good is big for me,” Delmonico said."
The corner infielder/outfielder got labrum shoulder in his left shoulder last season, as detailed by Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune.
His inability to perform in 2019 prior to the surgery suggests that he was significantly hindered by the injury and that the surgery really became a requirement to continue his career, even if the procedure, in itself, was risky.
The left-handed hitter actually had a 133 wRC+ in his rookie season (2017), which shows that he might be able to provide an impact in the South Side, at least offensively.
It remains to be seen what the Chicago White Sox are looking for in terms of players to fill out their bench, but Nicky Delmonico certainly has a higher chance of making the team in 2020 than he did coming into spring training as a non-roster invitee.