White Sox in AFL: Michalczewski puts time to good use
Prospect getting a jump on offseason workout program, observing other players
By Jim Callis
As an Arizona Fall League taxi-squad player, Trey Michalczewski plays only on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the Glendale Desert Dogs. While he'd like more action, the White Sox No. 6 prospect also sees some benefits to getting into the lineup just every third game.
The third baseman says he'll use the added downtime to get a jump-start on his offseason workout program. As one of the youngest players in the AFL at age 20, he also figures he can learn a lot via observation.
"Some of these guys are older, so they have a better understanding of how to go about their business and stuff," Michalczewski said. "You can always take little things from everybody you watch, so that's what I'm going to try to do when I'm not in there."
He also believes that being in and out of the Glendale lineup will help him prepare for the ups and downs of a long season.
"Obviously, playing two times a week, it's going to be tough with your timing and stuff like that, but just go in there and do your best," Michalczewski said. "I think that's what's going to help, because during the season, you're not always going to be at your best. You're going to go out there at some low times and some high times, and you just want to try to even it all out."
Because the Desert Dogs had two of their first six games rained out, Michalczewski has appeared in just two contests so far, going 2-for-9 (.222) with six strikeouts. During the regular season, he was one of the more potent hitters in the high Class A Carolina League, ranking second in doubles (35) and RBIs (75) and third in extra-base hits (46), while posting a .259/.335/.395 slash line in 127 games for Winston-Salem.
When he signed for an above-slot $500,000 as a seventh-round pick in 2013, Michalczewski immediately became one of the best position prospects in the White Sox system. He's a switch-hitter with a nice swing and good power potential from both sides of the plate. He has decent agility and solid arm strength, so the club believes he'll be able to stay at third base.
White Sox hitters in the Fall League
• Nick Delmonico, 3B -- His bat and power potential earned him a $1.525 million bonus as an Orioles sixth-round pick out of a Tennessee high school in 2011, but he hasn't produced in pro ball. He went to the Brewers in a July 2013 trade for Francisco Rodriguez, then drew a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines and got released in 2014. Delmonico spent most of 2015 at Double-A Birmingham, putting up a .238/.313/.386 slash line with three homers in 62 games.
• Adam Engel, OF -- The toolsiest outfielder in a system loaded with toolsy outfielders, he has well above-average speed, fine center-field skills and plenty of raw power. The Louisville product dropped to the 19th round of the 2013 Draft because of inconsistency at the plate, however, and he hit .251/.335/.369 this season while topping the Carolina League in runs (90), steals (65) and strikeouts (132).
• Jake Peter, 2B/SS -- A seventh-round pick out of Creighton in 2014, he hit .260/.330/.348 with 23 steals in 130 games at Winston-Salem in his first full pro season. Peter is an advanced hitter with modest power and average speed.
White Sox pitchers in the Fall League
• Brandon Brennan, RHP -- He has had trouble staying healthy since signing as a fourth-rounder out of Orange Coast (Calif.) JC in 2012, needing Tommy John surgery in 2013 and missing two months this year with a neck injury. He went 3-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 13 starts at high Class A Winston-Salem, continuing to show a heavy 92-96-mph sinker but lacking consistency with his control and secondary offerings.
• Robinson Leyer, RHP -- One of the hardest throwers among White Sox prospects, he has a 92-95-mph fastball that has been clocked as high as 98. Still quite raw four years after signing out of the Dominican Republic, he went 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 122 innings between high Class A and Double-A in 2015.
• Peter Tago, RHP -- A Rockies supplemental first-rounder from a California high school in 2010, he struggled so much that the White Sox were able to claim him in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft four years later. Utilizing a fastball that can reach the mid-90s and an improved slider, Tago recorded a 2.71 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 66 1/3 relief innings between two Class A stops and Double-A in 2015.
• J.B. Wendelken, RHP -- A Red Sox 13th-round pick from Middle Georgia JC in 2012, he went to the White Sox in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston and Jose Iglesias to Detroit a year later. Using a low-90s fastball and a deceptive changeup, Wendelken posted a 3.20 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 59 innings between Double-A and Triple-A Charlotte this season.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.