White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 18, 2021

It feels like Micker Adolfo is rivaling Hawk Harrelson for being part of professional baseball for eight decades even if his Baseball-Reference.com page only dates back to 2014, but thanks to his grisly injury history, he’s never earned a midseason promotion. The lack of reps that dogged him throughout his career has made a struggle out of most attempts to start a season. The one exception was his 2018 in Winston-Salem, but that year was cut short by Tommy John surgery.

When the White Sox promoted Adolfo to Charlotte a few weeks ago, he lacked a personal precedent. He’d just never been simultaneously productive and healthy enough to complete a season. The lack of track record made it hard to know how Adolfo would handle a shift in the degree of difficulty, especially with a Double-A strikeout rate of 35 percent.

Through 18 games, the answer is “really, really well.” Adolfo had a monster doubleheader against Norfolk on Wednesday, going a combined 5-for-6 with two homers, a walk and a strikeout. He’s now hitting .290/.353/.581 over 68 plate appearances at Triple-A, superior in all categories to his .249/.318/.525 line over 242 PA at Birmingham. He’s also striking out at a mere 31 percent clip.

Here’s homer No. 1:

And here’s No. 2:

Adolfo’s first blast was part of a stretch of four homers over six batters, so I don’t think you can go wrong in giving Truist Field a generous amount of credit. But Adolfo is also moving well a corner, as evidenced by his diving catch and leaping grab at the wall on consecutive plays. He can’t control where he plays, and his credible performance in Birmingham suggests that he’d be capable of producing in tougher Triple-A environments.

He’s playing his way into September consideration. If rosters weren’t capped at 28, he’d probably be an easy “yes,” given that he’s in his last option year. Alas, teams are limited to 28 players in September, and Billy Hamilton will probably take one of the two spots, making it harder to see how Adolfo makes the cut. However it’s resolved, congratulations to Adolfo for playing his way into a conundrum.

Charlotte 9, Norfolk 5 (Game 1, 7 innings)

  • Blake Rutherford went 0-for-4.
  • Yasmani Grandal came a triple short of the cycle while going 3-for-3 with an HBP. He also caught.
  • Gavin Sheets went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Jake Burger returned to the lineup, going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Yermín Mercedes went 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Micker Adolfo was 2-for-3 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Kade McClure: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Charlotte 6, Norfolk 5 (Game 2, 8 innings)

  • Blake Rutherford went 1-for-4.
  • Gavin Sheets was 0-for-3 with a sac fly and two strikeouts.
  • Jake Burger hit a sac fly and struck out three times.
  • Yermín Mercedes went 2-for-3 with a double.
  • Micker Adolfo had the best night of anybody: 3-for-3 with a homer and a walk.


*Grandal made this athletic play from behind the plate.

The Knights also shared his homer from the right side, his wall-ball single, and his double inside the line.

Tennessee 6, Birmingham 4

  • Romy Gonzalez went 1-for-5.
  • Yolbert Sanchez hit his first Double-A homer during a 1-for-4 night.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes made his Double-A debut, doubling, singling and striking out twice.
  • Lenyn Sosa was 0-for-4.
  • The latest in Alec Hansen: 0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, four of 16 pitches for strikes.

Winston-Salem 13, Hickory 2

  • Jose Rodriguez went 1-for-4.
  • Luis Curbelo went 2-for-5 with a double, two strikeouts and a stolen base.
  • Luis Mieses threw down a full house: two homers and three strikeouts.
  • Caberea Weaver went 2-for-5 with a double and a strikeout, and was caught trying to steal home.


*WInston-Salem snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Down East 4, Kannapolis 3

  • James Beard wore the silver sombrero during an 0-for-5 night.
  • Bryan Ramos also went 0-for-5, but with two strikeouts.
  • Harvin Mendoza went 2-for-5 with a double.
  • Samil Polanco had one of his random big games: 2-for-3 with a homer, double and walk.
  • Misael Gonzalez singled twice and struck out twiec.
  • Chase Krogman went 3-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • DJ Gladney was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
  • Wilber Sanchez singled, struck out thrice and stole a base.


*Kannapolis has lost 13 in a row.

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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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I dont think any of these guys will be stars in the league but its just nice that we’ve gotten MLB level contributions from the 4A fodder that is Burger, Sheets, Mercedes and hopefully soon Adolfo and the possibility they are one day MLB starters is realistic. Seemed like for the last decade whenever they went with a guy like that they were miserable the luis gonzalez, ryan cordell, goins, tilson, skoll, reed, lamare, rodon types


Sox fans should resist lumping Burger in with the “4A” group. It feels like he’s a part of that group because of the injuries, but he’s a top 15 overall pick and those injuries appear to be behind him. As a prospect, his biggest strength (the bat) has already played at the big league level and his biggest weakness (athleticism; 1B-only) is dissipating. It is, of course, incredible what he’s done to get to this point, but he should absolutely be viewed as a legit, 1st round prospect and not 4A fodder.


His draft status in 2016 is meaningless at this point, his injuries factor into the equation more on the con then pro side. The sox havent had real 4A fodder in a while but sheets, burger, mercedes, adolfo all qualify for such. If you lumped them all into a trade package do you think the return would be more then basically an average starting player? Im excited Burger is back in the picture and would rank him ahead of the other three but he has a lot more to prove to be seen as a likely every day mlb starter let alone a higher end player which a contending team should want at every position.


It depends on what you mean by draft status. Of course, where a player is drafted is more or less meaningless, but his prospect and talent evaluations from then aren’t meaningless. They are the most up-to-date information we have on him other than what he’s done this year. The injuries should absolutely give us pause for putting any stock in those evaluations, but he’s done enough this year to show he’s not a worse player because of them. The injuries are a con because he now has less experience and is older for a prospect, but I’m not concerned he’s going to snap a knee or ankle. Burger was a first round talent and the injuries haven’t changed that. He’s done enough this year to reinforce that the talent is still there.

I have no idea what his trade value is, but I do know it would be a mistake to lump him in with that crowd as an equal. It would absolutely be selling low to treat Burger like another Sheets or Adolfo.


I’ve seen suggestions that Adolfo is great trade bait. Any chance he might be developing into better?

Seems unlikely that Cespedes or Adolfo solves their RF issues, yet one can’t help but wonder what they have with either of them, best case.


I’d be curious if the Sox think they have a RF issue.. if Engel is healthy, he’s pretty good at this point.




I think we have seen so much gutter rot in RF that average seems great at this point. The sox are in the best shape they have been in a long time in RF though, given Vaughn can play there in a pinch, Engel seems like a legit MLB player, Adolfo and Cespedes have had nice minor league seasons and the likelihood of Oscar Colas being signed during winter….


And so is Vaughn. He came in as a defensive replacement last night.


He’s only been healthy enough for 105 at bats. With multiple DL stints this year I don’t see how they can count on him. Plus we don’t really know what he would do if he got 400-500 at bats. Penciling him in as their RF next year seems like a pretty bad idea.

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice

Sox fans hate the idea of depth but if Engel might be good enough to start, it would be awesome if he was the 4th outfielder, and if Adolfo might be good enough to make the roster it would be great to have him in AAA in case of injury(guess this is complicated by him being out of options).

Lets get a legit OF’er signed on a 1 year deal this off season.

Last edited 1 year ago by knoxfire30

Any legit OF’er is going to want more than a 1 year deal. 1 year deal would be dumpster diving, guys like Eaton, Pederson, etc. I think most Sox fans are tired of that kind of depth.

I think Engel is good, but probably more like a 4th outfielder than a starter on a championship team. It is unfortunate that he appears to not be a great bet to stay healthy, not one a team aspiring to win a championship should rest their hopes on. If he had been healthy most of the year, they would know more what they have with him, and could give consideration to him as a starter. I hope they have a better plan than that. Sounds like Adolfo’s options will force their hand as far as what to do with him.


Top of my head I dont have a list. But I could see a decent vet title hunting taking a 1 year deal, or the possibility say a conforto wants to take a 1 year prove it deal for big money … something like that. Trade route is always there too. Available salary is gonna quickly become a problem for the sox so I dont think they are gonna want to do a 3 or 4 year deal on a right fielder.

Root Cause

It seems there is a RF issue. I see a crowded right field. (can’t believe I just typed that)!

As they jerked Vaughn over to right, I would like to see him get some reps in the winter to refine his skills there. That is a decent defense and a potent offense.

I expect the phone will be ringing in the off-season and talks with other teams will sort out Hamilton, Engel, Goodwin, Lamb to decide our backups or at least that is what I hope happens.

Last edited 1 year ago by Root Cause

What’s the floor for defense to consider Vaughn for our everyday RF? His bat can play at the major league level so how much of a hit would we be willing to accept in defense (especially with Robert in CF) for Vaughn to be considered our RF?


Hi everyone! I have a question: Does anyone know how many years of control the Sox have with Adolfo? I’m always shaky on how this works. Just curious how long he’d be long around for and impact future plans, whether on the roster or a trade piece.



I believe he is out of options so next year he needs to be on the active roster or pass through waivers


Thanks! That’s what I thought I’d remembered hearing at the start of the season but for some reason couldn’t quite recall.

Okay, so it’s roster or make it through waivers next year. Interesting.


Which means it’s 26-man roster or lose him. Based on his play this year, I can’t see him making it through waivers.

Last edited 1 year ago by dansomeone

That seems like a shame. He has made massive progress this year and appears to be one of their best minor league hitters.

If they trade him this winter, is he still out of options with the new team? I don’t know how any of that works, if he would have any trade value. They are going to be forced to make a decision with him it sounds like.


Gotta think a rebuilding team like the pirates, cubs, orioles, diamondbacks, royals, marlins etc have a spot for him. Some of the lineups these teams are running out barely qualify as AAA.


You would hope so. I’m just disappointed in learning that he’s out of options. He has been one of the more fun minor league players to follow this year, and is certainly on the upswing.


Could Micker stay on the 40-man this winter?

Could Micker…make the Opening Day roster in 2022? (Assuming there is an Opening Day in 2022.)


Wonder what it’s like being Alec Hansen….


Well, go to the mound, pick up a baseball, put on a blindfold, spin around 3 times, and try to throw a strike … possibly while standing on a step stool, depending on your height.


I’ve not given up on Alec Hansen. I still believe he will figure it out and get back to being the promising pitcher he once was. I never gave up on Pilkington either, and look what he got for us and look how well he is doing in the Cleveland system.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elena

Alas, teams are limited to 28 players in September, and Billy Hamilton will probably take one of the two spots, making it harder to see how Adolfo makes the cut.

I am assuming teams can juggle guys through the month, no? For example, maybe see Adolfo for a week then swap him with a pitcher. Charlotte season runs through late Sep so it should be easy to switch guys out.


I had a brief interaction with Adolfo at spring training this year. He is a very large man!

I also ran into Rick and said hello. Couldn’t see his socks…


I like how Adolfo doesn’t collide with the center fielder….