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Engel credits batting practice for 3-star catch

MLB.com @scottmerkin

KANSAS CITY -- The catch that White Sox center fielder Adam Engel made to take away extra bases from Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning of Saturday night's 7-2 loss to the Royals was made possible by Engel's batting practice work.

"You get reads in batting practice. I would say that's probably the biggest thing that helps most outfielders," said Engel, who saved a run with Lorenzo Cain on first and none out, only to have the Royals hit three home runs in the inning off reliever David Holmberg.

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KANSAS CITY -- The catch that White Sox center fielder Adam Engel made to take away extra bases from Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning of Saturday night's 7-2 loss to the Royals was made possible by Engel's batting practice work.

"You get reads in batting practice. I would say that's probably the biggest thing that helps most outfielders," said Engel, who saved a run with Lorenzo Cain on first and none out, only to have the Royals hit three home runs in the inning off reliever David Holmberg.

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"Just trying to get that read off the bat in batting practice," Engel added. "Over the course of the season, I take batting practice serious every day as an outfielder. You get to see that ball a decent amount. So it's just a matter of doing what you do in BP."

Engel had the left-handed-hitting Hosmer played slightly to pull. But Engel got a good jump and tracked the ball down in left-center, using a last-second half-leap to make the grab.

According to Statcast™, the play had a 69 percent catch probability -- making it a three-star catch. The distance needed was 58 feet and the opportunity time was 4 seconds. From the hit side, the ball had an exit velocity of 105 mph and a hit probability of 68 percent.

"What a tremendous run," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "His jump was outstanding, and he still had to elevate and jump to catch it."

With an 0-for-3 showing during the White Sox eighth straight loss, Engel's average dropped to .227 with an on-base percentage of .306. But Engel doesn't feel bad at the plate and believes he's put some decent swings together.

Defensively, Engel already looks beyond Major League ready.

"I've said this since the beginning. He's going to turn himself into a premier center fielder defensively," Renteria said. "He is still working through some things at the plate, but at bare minimum, this young man can really get after it."

"It helps build confidence," Engel said of Renteria's comments. "It's nice to know the guys in the dugout have my back. That's cool. Obviously, I didn't hear that. But hearing it now, it definitely builds some confidence."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Adam Engel