Analysis

White Sox: After Conquering Personal Hurdles, Nicky Delmonico Looks Like he Belongs

Just three short years ago Nicky Delmonico feared his baseball career may have been over for good after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s drug policy after the young prospect failed a drug test and was handed a 50-game suspension.

Delmonico, who was prescribed Adderall, a prescription medication used for treating issues with anxiety such as attention deficit disorder, asked to be taken off of the medication at some point during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers after experiencing undesired side-effects. After taking the prescription medication again without the consent of Major League Baseball, Delmonico failed a drug test, and was subsequently suspended and placed on the Brewers restricted list.

Delmonico felt overwhelmed and requested that the Brewers grant him a release so that he could step away from baseball and seek help.

“I went to a dark place,” he said. “Not many people knew I was prescribed this medicine, the troubles it was causing me. I had to get to a point where I needed to get help, I needed to get back to being who I was.”

After Delmonico was granted his release from the Brewers he went home to find himself again. After five months out of baseball, and fearing that his baseball career was over, Delmonico got a call from the Chicago White Sox, a call that would parlay into his big break in baseball.

Just a few years after the Milwaukee Brewers wrote him off as a lost cause, Delmonico is now in the show, and showing everyone that he belongs in Major League Baseball.

“With all the maintenance, we didn’t feel like he was a major-league prospect. So, the work wasn’t worth it. It was too much to deal with. There was a lot going on there.” –Brewers Farm Director Reid Nichols in 2014 after Delmonico’s release. 

On August 1, the Chicago White Sox announced that Delmonico was being promoted to the major-league level after spending the last two years splitting time between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Delmonico burst onto the scene in 2016 with the Birmingham Barons by putting on an impressive display of hitting through his 38 games with the Sox’ Double-A affiliate. Delmonico hit .338 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI with the Barons before he was promoted to the Knights mid-season.

After struggling with the adjustment to Triple-A pitching initially, Delmonico put together a .262/.347/.421/.768 slash line to go along with 12 home runs, 48 RBI and 21 extra-base hits through 99 games with the Knights in 2017, prompting the White Sox to promote the 24-year old prospect.

Just hours after learning of his promotion to the major-league level, Delmonico collected his first major-league hit when he took a 2-1 offering in the bottom of the eighth inning of the contest with the Blue Jays into center field for a base-hit.

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Just two days later, Delmonico notched another milestone in his young career, blasting a three-run home run over the right field fence at Fenway Park against defending American League Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello.

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Not only was that his first big league home run, it had a special sentimental touch to it, much like most of Delmonico’s feel-good story of his journey to the big-leagues. Delmonico and his brother Joey grew up Red Sox fans, and the last time that Delmonico was at Fenway Park, it was as a fan with his brother Joey as they attended a game to see the Red Sox and the green Monster.

“The fact that Nicky was able to play the Green Monster and play left field, it was so surreal. And after that home run, talk about emotions going wild. We couldn’t even contain it. You can’t write this stuff.” -Joey Delmonico

In Delmonico’s short time with the White Sox he is already winning the hearts of the fan-base, and en route to forcing his way into a regular spot in the White Sox lineup. Through his first 17 plate appearances Delmonico has a home run, five RBI, a double and a walk. Delmonico’s numbers look nice in his limited sample size, but what’s most exciting is the fact that he is passing the eye-test with flying colors. His single into center field in the ninth inning of Friday night’s loss to the Red Sox was a picture perfect example of a hitter who’s swing is exactly where it needs to be.

Entering play tonight Delmonico owns a slash line of .375/.412/.625/1.037, and will look to continue his dream beginning to his major-league career as he searches for his third consecutive multi-hit game when the White Sox take on the Red Sox this evening at Fenway Park.

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