Padres announce acquisition of outfielder Adam Engel to a one-year major league contract. Added Engel and righty Brent Honeywell We’re running a full 40-man roster in San Diego. Engel is a client of Icon Sports Management.
The Engel hit the market at the end of the 2022 season. White his Sox did not bid him, rather than bring him back via arbitration on a contract worth about $2.3 million. It’s been nearly a decade since Chicago’s organization picked Engel in the 18th round of the 2013 draft.
The University of Louisville product not only fared well in its modest draft status. He played part of ChiSox’s six big league campaigns, mostly in reserve capacity. Engel played in the majors each of his 2017–22 seasons, and even if his performances at bat were inconsistent, his speed and defensive acumen gave him consistent chances.
In over 1500 MLB at-bats, Engel is a .225/.280/.350 hitter. He posted well below average attacking numbers in his first three campaigns, but from 2020 he posted quality marks in limited action in 2021. A shortened schedule in the previous season and two injured-list stints in the latter kept him at bat 233 times over those two years. Engel batted .270/.335/.488 in his limited appearance, hitting 10 home runs and 14 doubles.
That led to optimism that he may have taken a step forward with the bat. He batted .224/.269/.310 in 260 trips to the plate last season. Engel only hit two homers, walked averaged 4.2%, and struck out 29.2%. Following that rough show, the White Sox pushed forward despite a generally shallow outfield.
Despite this, the Padres have him on board as a defensive option off the bench. As a big leaguer, the 31-year-old has played nearly 3,700 outfield innings, most of them in center field. Public metrics like his number of runs saved and average number of outs in the statcast consistently peg him as a grab plus. The DRS rates 21 runs above Engel’s career average, including three runs above par in his 2/3 innings of 649 last season. Statcast is even more bullish, rating it at +47 runs overall, and +3 runs last year.
He is also an excellent baserunner and has great speed to play on base for such a talented outfielder. The rate was 12-16.His right-handed bat offers manager Bob Melvin a chance to defend incumbent center fielder Trent Grisham Neither Engel nor Grisham have shown noticeable platoon divisions in their careers, but sometimes from tough southpaws.
Engel has more than five years in the major leagues and will return to free agency next offseason. That line of work also gives him the right to refuse full or optional assignments to the minor leagues, which would allow him to play as his fourth outfielder or his fifth outfielder with the Monks. It suggests that there is a high possibility of breaking the camp.
Image credit: USA Today Sports.