The Chicago White Sox are already pretty set in center field with Adam Eaton roaming the green grass of US Cellular Field, but one of the team’s top prospects could eventually give the veteran outfielder a run for his money as he continues to run roughshod over the Arizona Fall League.
That prospect is Adam Engel, and he has been raking since putting on his uniform for the Glendale Desert Dogs. In 17 games so far this season, Engel leads the AFL in batting average (.417), OPS (1.216), and in runs scored (15). He also has stolen nine bases and has racked up nine doubles as he serves as the team’s potent lead-off hitter.
On Thursday night, Engel showcased all of his skills in the Desert Dogs’ 11-7 win over the Salt River Rafters. In the first inning, Engel led off the game with a solo home run as he turned on an inside fastball and deposited it onto the left field berm. In the bottom of the frame, he brought his glove to the party as he robbed Raimel Tapia with a spectacular running catch at the warning track to end the inning.
The good times didn’t stop for Engel there, as he coaxed a walk to open the second inning. He then brought his speed into the mix as he stole second base, and he coasted to third after the throw went into center field.
Engel is certainly the breakout star of the fall for the White Sox, but it still might be a while until he makes his way to the big league club. Taken in the 19th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Engel played the 2015 season in Winston-Salem as part of Chicago’s high-A affiliate, but he did put up some spectacular numbers. During the campaign, he stole 65 bases, cracked 23 doubles, and drove in 43 runs in 136 games.
There are concerns about his approach at the plate, as he strikes out too often (although during AFL play he has walked more than he’s struck out), and his on-base percentage is a touch low for a player who could aspire to be a lead-off man (.335 on the season), but with his terrific performance in Arizona, he could very well be on the White Sox radar in the very near future.