"He’s physically gifted, he moves very well, good hands, strong arm, very mature for his age. Nice polished swing. He’s got some power potential. Certainly a lot of things to dream on and look forward to in the future with him,” said White Sox Director of Player Development Chris Getz when asked about 2018 fourth round draft pick, Lency Delgado in a conference call with bloggers last summer. These comments deliver some insight into why the White Sox were willing to draft the 6’3”, 215-pound shortstop out of Doral, Florida much higher than projected. Baseball America had an 11th round grade on him, but the team was willing to pay a slightly over-slot bonus of $525K to ensure they had him in the fold rather than allow him to fulfill his commitment to Florida International.
A quick skim of the scouting report makes it easy to understand the reasons the White Sox scouting staff stepped up to grab him.
Delgado has impressive body control and hands for a player his size. He has plenty of arm strength and above-average raw power. He has a long swing and some chase at the plate that he’ll need to improve. Defensively, he shows good footwork and impressive body control and athleticism in the field making accurate off-balance throws on the run that should give him a chance to be an above-average defender.
Blowing observers away with immense talent is nothing new to Delgado. On his second day in the United States, he was playing ball in the park when someone noticed him and immediately encouraged him to sign up for the high school team. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to comply as Delgado dreamed of playing baseball in the United States as a boy in Cuba, he told FutureSox through a translator in a phone interview.
Delgado played well enough at St. Doral Academy Charter High School to get an offer to play at Florida International. Instead he opted to sign with the White Sox upon being drafted, which is fairly standard for a fourth-round selection. “The White Sox saw something in me and I needed to do what was right for my family,” Delgado told FutureSox.
Here’s a glimpse of what scouts saw during his high school playing days:
Climbing up the Rankings
Delgado impressed the writing staff at FutureSox enough to inject himself into the conversation for our top 30 rankings in his first opportunity in August, achieving Just Missed status in our bi-annual prospect report. His solid defense and raw power potential earned him the fifth spot at shortstop in our positional rankings.
At his size, some project that he’ll end up at third base. He has the arm strength and the power profile to play there. For now, the White Sox are content to keep him at shortstop. It's part of an organizational philosophy. “I like guys to stay in the middle as long as possible,” said Getz on the previously referenced blogger call. This comment was in response to a question on Luis Curbelo who is currently our second-ranked shortstop and also is a candidate to move to third base based on his size. “It’s only going to help them in the long run,” Getz added. For Delgado, what position he’ll play down the road isn’t a concern right now. He’s focused on improving every aspect of his game and willing to do whatever the team asks of him.
No hay límite pic.twitter.com/WtQX43JImi
— Lency Delgado (@lency_delgado) November 23, 2018
To that end, Delgado is concentrating his offseason training program on adding strength and flexibility to his legs. The strength will help his speed and power while staying flexible is crucial in retaining his speed. He’s concerned that adding bulk in other areas could diminish his quickness, impacting one of his robust set of tools. With four steals in 38 games in the Arizona Rookie League, Delgado envisions speed as an essential aspect of his game.
On the Field
With a player this young and new to the system, big numbers are not expected initially. Delgado embodied this, slashing .233/.309/.301 in his abbreviated pro debut. He managed five extra base hits including one long ball while striking out at a 30% clip. At this stage, observers are more focused on the eye test and Delgado has impressed many with the raw talent he’s displayed.
See for yourself with a video of him at the dish:
Defensively, he started 34 games at shortstop with nine errors in 126 total chances for a .929 fielding percentage with a range factor of 3.34 and was a part of ten twin killings. Here's a look at him on defense:
The Cuban Connection
Through a translator, Delgado indicated he was surprised and excited to join the White Sox. He’s aware of the success the team has had with Cuban players and shared the field with a rehabbing Luis Robert for a handful of games in Arizona. He’s also planning on meeting Jose Abreu later this off-season.
Making it to the United States and playing baseball on a professional level, Delgado has already reached one of his major goals, but he dreams of more. He still has a ways to go for him to reach the dream that Chris Getz and ultimately White Sox fans share for him - being a major contributor to the big league team in Chicago. The next step starts in Spring Training. Keep your eye on Delgado beginning in late February.
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