Micker Adolfo’s injury another setback for prospect, system

If surgery is required, White Sox will have to look elsewhere for an international success story in 2018

Between Carlos Rodon and Zack Burdi, the White Sox already had to nurse a couple of injured arms through spring training.

Micker Adolfo’s sprained UCL is a bit out of left field, or whichever corner he prefers.

Adolfo, who finally put together a mostly healthy 2017 after multiple season-shortening injuries, might not be able to summon an encore:.

“Micker Adolfo reported with some soreness in his arm after some drills the other day,” Hahn said. “We had it examined and unfortunately it revealed a sprain in his ulnar collateral ligament and a strain in his flexor tendon. While that is never good news, the positive side of it is that the tear is on the proximal side, which our doctors have explained to me means rehabilitation has a higher likelihood of working than the normal circumstances where a guy has a UCL tear or tendon tear.”

Even if he doesn’t need surgery, it sounds like he’ll miss the rest of spring training, then require extended spring training to make up for the time he missed.

There is some silver lining, in that Adolfo’s absence will alleviate some of the logjam in the outfield at Winston-Salem, which might have been rather crowded with some mixture of Luises (Robert, Gonzalez, Basabe) and non-Luises (Blake Rutherford, Alex Call, Jameson Fisher, etc.).

But Adolfo was the only international prospect out of Marco Paddy’s system with momentum, at least if you don’t count Luis Robert and his now-prohibited bonus.

Adolfo was the highest-ranked Latin American prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America, coming in at No. 17. The only other such signing in their top 30 is Lenyn Sosa at No. 28.

That’s positive news for Sosa, who signed out of Venzuela for $325,000 in 2016. He had an encouraging debut in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .270/.330/.358 with 14 walks and 24 strikeouts over 180 plate appearances.

It’s just not a great reflection on the rest of the system, as nobody has been able to break through the barrier at High-A. Johan Cruz has come the closest to smashing the Dash Ceiling, and he’s only logged 75 games of below-average hitting there.

Going year by year through Paddy’s first three signing periods, Adolfo was the only July 2 guy who had generated detectable upward momentum. Everybody else had either topped out in the low (low) minors, or hasn’t yet received regular playing time stateside.

2012

  • Winston-Salem: Johan Cruz, Yelmison Peralta
  • Kannapolis: Antonio Rodriguez
  • Great Falls: Hanleth Otano
  • AZL White Sox: Victor Done, Luis Castillo
  • DSL White Sox: Roger Ramos

2013:

  • Kannapolis: Micker Adolfo
  • AZL White Sox: Maiker Feliz
  • DSL White Sox: Jose Reyes

2014:

  • Kannapolis: Yosmer Solorzano*
  • Great Falls: Carlos Perez, Amado Nunez, Felix Mercedes
  • AZL White Sox: Jhoandro Alfaro, Jose Colina, Andres Sanchez
  • DSL White Sox: Jorgen Rosas

(*Solorzano made one spot start in Winston-Salem.)

I wouldn’t hold a slow start against Paddy since he had to build a system from the ground up after the David Wilder scandal, and it’s not his fault that his greatest success story belongs to San Diego now. It does underscore how important it was to sign Robert, because capitalizing on his talent can cover up for so much inefficiency elsewhere. The lack of traction is also another reason why it’s hard for the Sox to forfeit draft picks at this stage in the rebuild, even if signing a protected free agent would help the team up top.

UPDATE (12:40 p.m.): This struck me as weird …

… until this follow-up:

As Yinka Double Dare pointed out to me, Brewers first-round pick Keston Hiura successfully navigated this obstacle this past season. Given the flaws in Adolfo’s approach even when completely healthy, I can’t say I have high hopes for him in a similar arrangement. But if surgery is a possibility regardless and it’s possible that more drastic action can contained to an offseason, then it may not hurt to get him reps and tracking pitches in Winston-Salem.

* * *

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s for the others, on the Patreon Request Line, Michael Wagner wanted updates on Carlos Rodon and Zack Burdi.

One update may be all that’s needed.

Rodon is unavailable for Cactus League play as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but he and the White Sox are handling it in the opposite fashion this year. Unlike last spring, when Rodon barely participated in drills and gave cagey answers before one start exposed his physical issues, he’s throwing in front of people and answering questions afterward.

It doesn’t mean he’s on a faster track, though. Rick Hahn said Rodon’s schedule takes spring training games out of play and puts him on the back end of that original six-to-eight-month timetable, which in turn puts him in line for a June return. The candidness doesn’t mean that any projected return is a safe bet  given Rodon’s previous injury history, but just like the rebuild, it’s encouraging to see them learning from past mistakes.

As for Burdi, he had Tommy John surgery seven months ago, so the conservative window still has him missing all of the 2018 season, but he is at Camelback Ranch and throwing.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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asinwreck

My Spanish is remedial, but apparently “Micker Adolfo” translates to “Nick Johnson.”

PauliePaulie

Wish they could’ve traded Abreu, Yolmer and Avi this offseason. Need more depth down on that farm.

sausalito pale hose

All three should be a part of ‘around the corner’ winning team

Right Size Wrong Shape

I feel like this has been done before, but for the life of me I can’t remember by whom.

PauliePaulie

Kid’s loudest tool is his arm. Sox take that away, while possibly just prolonging inevitable TJ, in the hopes he’s part of their accelerated window of contention. Ugh.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think this makes sense, as long as there is no risk of further injury. It allows for another season of development, and if you need to, shut him down a month or two early for surgery so that he’s ready to go for the start of next season. Better to rehab during the off-season.

PauliePaulie

Then, IMO, they should do rest/rehab, then test the arm until July. Not keep him from throwing for a year and see what happens when he starts again. They have had a poor recent track record of using surgery as an absolute last resort.

Greg Nix

I think you’re misinterpreting. They’re not going to keep him from throwing for a year, they’re going to give him two months to rehab his elbow/play DH. If the elbow doesn’t respond, then they’re going to do Tommy John.

Makes sense, assuming he actually can’t make the elbow worse by hitting.

PauliePaulie

The above tweet says “this season” But I have seen the updates from Fegan and mlb about rest/rehab and dh for the early part of the year. Makes far more sense.

yinkadoubledare

What needs the most development is at the plate. And what makes or breaks him as a viable major leaguer is the bat, specifically pitch recognition and contact issues. If they can either avoid surgery entirely, or delay it to give him at bats, that seems best for his development, because he needs the at bats. Presumably they’ll be monitoring to make sure it isn’t negatively affecting there because developing bad habits would be the worst case here. But another lost year would be almost as bad.

Un Perro

Zack Burdi’s post -TJS casual throwing is about as hard as I can dial it up without losing all control. These people are superhuman freaks.

patrickcroberts

My wife said all winter olympic sports should start with a relatively athletic person trying to do them and failing spectacularly so that we have some idea of how incredibly hard they are and how incredibly easy the athletes make it look.