In this year’s Arizona Fall League, White Sox prospect Adam Engel has been doing his best Daniel Murphy impression.
The 23-year old outfielder has watched everything suddenly click for him at the plate, hitting a league-best .403 with a home run, nine doubles, a triple and nine RBI. He’s also swiped 10 bases in 14 attempts.
Engel has been known for his defensive play and tremendous speed (65 SB in Single-A in 2015), but the right-hander has finally discovered a game day routine that has helped his approach at the plate.
“I’ve found something that I really like as far as a pregame routine to prepare for the game everyday,” Engel said. “It’s been nice to get my work in and have a consistent feel everyday and be confident in the way my swing is working so when I go into the game I can really lock into an approach rather than worry about how I’m swinging the bat.”
Drafted in the 19th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the White Sox, the Louisville product hit just .251 in 136 games at Winston-Salem this year with seven home runs and 43 RBI.
White Sox director of player development Nick Capra confirmed on a conference call on Tuesday that Engel, who was named the Arizona Fall League’s player of the week, would start 2016 with the Birmingham Barons in Double-A. For Engel, the promotion is one that is important in his path to the majors, beyond obvious reasons, and he hopes to draw from his success in the past few weeks when he heads to Birmingham.
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“I've heard multiple people say that if you can hit at Double-A, you have a good chance to hit anywhere," Engel said. "Me, coming from High-A, I've never been to Double-A, so I don't know exactly what the pitching looks like up there. Coming up here and being able to see these guys and see their stuff, having the ability to compete and have quality at-bats, it's definitely been a big confidence boost.”
Capra has watched the White Sox organization load up on young talented arms, so it’s refreshing for him to see a position player succeed. One of the keys to the progress of some of the hitters has been strike recognition. Capra believes some of the young hitters in the organization, like Engel, are starting to turn the corner and fully embrace the aggressive mindset at the plate.
“It seems like we give a lot of at-bats away,” Capra said. “We give in to the pitchers by swinging at a lot of pitches we shouldn’t be swinging at. We’re offering at too many pitchers’ pitches. We’ve got to change that culture. We’re starting to do it. People are starting to buy in.”