Chicago White Sox: Adam Engel simply owns the Chicago Cubs
Though he hasn’t gotten a lot of recognition for it, Adam Engel of the Chicago White Sox really steps it up when playing against the Chicago Cubs. In his 16 game career against them, Engel has slashed .367/.415/.571 (987 OPS) with 2 home runs and 3 stolen bases.
This is coming from a guy that is a career .225/.282/.357 hitter. However, I’d wager he’s a much better hitter than his career slash line suggests, which is weighed down by his poor first two seasons. There’s no question that he performs better than usual against the crosstown rivals.
Though Engel is primarily known for his defense, his dominance against the rival Cubs could be indicative of him being a clutch offensive player. Engel also performed well in the wild card series vs. Oakland last year, hitting a home run and putting up a .833 OPS when most of the other Sox were struggling.
He could have developed the “clutch” gene from having a football player mentality, as Engel was a standout quarterback when he was in high school. Despite his success against the Cubs, Tony La Russa didn’t start him for Saturday’s game.
Adam Engel has become a fine baseball player for this Chicago White Sox team.
While I’m fine with giving Engel days off to keep him rested for the playoffs, I hope La Russa knows about Engel’s tendency to perform well against the Cubs or in games that have extra meaning to them. That will be useful to know as the team tries to win games in October.
Even with center fielder Luis Robert’s near return, Engel should continue to get regular playing time platooning in right field with Brian Goodwin, and spelling Eloy Jimenez in left field as Jimenez will likely speed a lot of time at the designated hitter position. This will also give him a chance to improve on his poor career slash line and get it more in line with the solid player that he is.