White Sox Are Confident Adam Engel Will Be A Contributor
Best Player: A relative unknown heading into the 2015 season, center fielder Adam Engel changed that at high Class A Winston-Salem, ranking third in the minor leagues with 65 stolen bases and leading the Carolina League with 90 runs scored while ranking second with 133 hits. Engel capped his breakout 2015 season with a .403 batting average in the Arizona Fall League, winning MVP honors.
Engel opened this year at Double-A Birmingham and shuttled all over three levels. The White Sox once demoted him to Winston-Salem but bumped him back to Birmingham two weeks later. The 25-year-old outfielder spent the rest of the season bouncing back and forth between Double-A and Triple-A Charlotte. He finished with a .259/.344/.406 line and 45 stolen bases.
A 19th-round pick in the 2013 draft out of Louisville, Engel has standout speed and strong defensive skills. The White Sox are confident the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder will eventually hit for power.
Best Pitcher: A second-round pick out of Oklahoma in June, righthander Alec Hansen was sent to the Rookie-level Arizona League and Rookie-level Great Falls to start his professional career.
The 6-foot-7 righthander dominated both leagues, combining to go 2-0, 1.03 while piling up 70 strikeouts in 43.2 innings.
Hansen was promoted to low Class A Kannapolis to end the season and went 2-1, 1.32 with 81 strikeouts in 54.2 innings overall, allowing just 24 hits and 20 walks.
"He just had a couple of minor mechanical issues that our pitching guys cleaned up,” White Sox farm director Nick Capra said. "He’s a big kid; he wanted to fall over a little bit, so we kept him a little bit taller and got the ball out of his hand a little bit quicker.”
Keep An Eye On: Initially a starter in the Athletics system after being a 2012 second-round pick out of Arkansas, righthander Nolan Sanburn shifted to the bullpen the following season, and he remained a reliever after the White Sox acquired him from Oakland in an Aug. 31, 2014 trade for Adam Dunn.
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The White Sox saw enough to transition Sanburn to the rotation with Birmingham late in the season. In his first four starts in August, Sanburn allowed just five runs in 21 innings (2.14 ERA), though he got tagged for nine runs in 5.2 innings in his final outing. He finished 2-5, 3.53 in 81.2 innings overall.