Digging Deep: Get To Know Lency Delgado

2018 Bowman Chrome Lency Delgago, in person autograph, from the collection of Jim Zele.

Headlined with names like Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, and Nick Madrigal, the Chicago White Sox farm system is considered to be very top heavy when it comes to hitting. Outside of maybe the top three, the White Sox have a lot of ‘what if’ ballplayers. They have players like Micker Adolfo and Luis Alexander Basabe whose progression has been somewhat halted by the injury bug. You also have other ballplayers with high prospect pedigree throughout the system who haven’t quite panned out how the White Sox have hoped. Of course, the 2020 season could be huge for some of these guys with them hopefully taking some major strides forward to help the White Sox at the major league level.

While many of these names are fairly household names in the world of prospect enthusiasts and baseball fans alike, the White Sox have some intriguing names deeper down in the organization, proving that it’s somewhat deeper than it leads on. Lenyn Sosa, Bryce Bush, DJ Gladney, Yolbert Sanchez, and Benyamin Bailey are all bats who I think can soar up the rankings this year with multiple reaching the top 15 in the system either this year or next. One deep name to really keep an eye on this season is the prospect who came in at #50 on my Prospects1500 Chicago White Sox Top 50 Prospects, Lency Delgado.

Delgado was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Doral Academy in southern Florida. Delgado had committed to Florida International University to play college ball, but after the White Sox selected him with the 108th pick overall, Delgado had to make what seems like a difficult decision to many young ballplayers: Leap forward to pro ball or spend more time perfecting his craft at FIU. 

Last year, I reached out to Delgado to discuss his baseball journey to the White Sox, the 2019 season, and some of his goals beyond. Regarding his decision to pursue pro ball or college ball, Delgado told me that it was an easy choice to sign with the Southsider saying, “[It] was an easy decision because the White Sox were on top of my list and I was very happy and blessed when they chose me in the 4th round.”

After being drafted by the White Sox in 2018, Delgado spent some time in the AZL. It was definitely an adjustment period for Delgado to transition from high school ball directly to professional ball. “My biggest adjustment was in professional baseball, you face good pitching almost every day.” Delgado went on to say, “…in high School you face good pitching two or three times a month.” Still being only a teenager at the time, that adjustment period was somewhat to be expected at the time.

Being that there was an adjustment period, I had asked Delgado about his work with well renowned hitting instructor, Ricardo Sosa. Sosa has worked with many major league ballplayers to work on their hitting and is highly regarded by many. “Sosa is awesome. He has made a big impact on me at the plate. I started to work with him after my junior year and he made some changes to my swing…I work with him during the off-season.” Like many around the league, Delgado had only great things regarding the hitting instructor.

Following this high praise of Sosa’s coaching abilities, Delgado honed in on how it relates to his journey to signing with the White Sox. Regarding Sosa, Delgado told me, “He’s one of the reasons that I’m here today…also the White Sox area scout who sign[ed] me José Ortega. He was there watching me hitting with Sosa and saw the impact that Sosa made on my swings…I will always be [grateful] of José taking his time to go and watch me hit there and also for going to a lot of my games.” 

Jose Ortega, also known as Pepe Ortega, is one of the White Sox scouts who specializes in South Florida talents. During the 2018 MLB Draft, after the White Sox selected Lency Delgado, MLB.com published an article quoting Nick Hostetler, the White Sox Scout Director at the time.  Hostetler even referred to Ortega and his connection with Delgado saying, “Our scout in Florida, Pepe Ortega, was just absolutely begging for this guy. Pepe has about 30 years of scouting and has found a lot of big leaguers, so when he screams and yells for a guy I listen,” Hostetler said. “We’ve had a chance to see Lency over the last two years play, and the power is special. He’s got some type of premium power from the right side.”

The high praise from others can be attributed to the work ethic that Delgado has had his entire career playing ball. Even in the off-season, you can sense Delgado is very driven by constantly improving. I asked Delgado how he stays busy during the off-season, and judging by his response, it doesn’t sound like he has an off-season. “By going to the gym working [with] a personal trainer, hitting, working on my defense…trying to get better in baseball, you have to work hard every day to get better.” This should be music to White Sox fans’ ears, as it’s clear that Delgado has a workhorse mentality. 

Delgado had a fairly respectable 2019 campaign, but definitely has room for improvement moving forward. He spent the entire year in the Pioneer League and may very well start the year there again with a possibility of seeing Kannapolis at some point. Delgado batted .274 for the Great Lakes Voyagers in the Pioneer League, but also struck out 87 times in 215 AB. His strikeout rate was rather high, while his walk rate was rather low. The raw power that Delgado had shown coming into the league has yet to translate to the professional game as in 95 combined games played in 2018 and 2019, Delgado only has hit three long balls. He did, however, have fourteen doubles, showing that he has some gap power.

Many hope that Delgado, now 20 years of age, will come into his nearly 6’4″ build. His profiling is a bit different than your traditional middle infielder, and some experts see Delgado’s profile better suited for third base. Delgado spent some time at third for the Voyagers in 2019, and more than likely will continue to see time there. Delgado told me that he does not care where he finds himself on the diamond and only cares about one thing: helping his team win.

To end my conversation with Delgado, I asked him if he has one short-term goal to reach in the near future. His response: “My short term is the same as my long term…keep getting better, work hard, keep improving so I can move up and help my team win.”

It sure seems like big things could be coming Delgado’s way in 2020.

William Shea is the Chicago White Sox correspondent for Prospects1500. An Illinois resident, William attends over 30 baseball games throughout the season ranging from MLB, MILB, or even Independent League games. William, a sports memorabilia and fantasy baseball fan alike, can be found on Twitter @0Runsin1st.

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