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Adolfo growing into top-level prospect

19-year-old Dominican outfielder continues development
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- A first noticeable difference about Micker Adolfo is that he no longer looks like the skinny 16-year-old who joined the White Sox in July 2013, for a $1.6 million bonus as the second-rated international prospect.

Adolfo, who turned 19 in September, has gained 20-25 pounds of muscle, and features the feel of a top prospect, which fits the profile of his No. 6 ranking among the White Sox Top 30 Prospects. He also carries himself with a maturity beyond his young years.

CHICAGO -- A first noticeable difference about Micker Adolfo is that he no longer looks like the skinny 16-year-old who joined the White Sox in July 2013, for a $1.6 million bonus as the second-rated international prospect.

Adolfo, who turned 19 in September, has gained 20-25 pounds of muscle, and features the feel of a top prospect, which fits the profile of his No. 6 ranking among the White Sox Top 30 Prospects. He also carries himself with a maturity beyond his young years.

"Yes, I feel a lot more comfortable," said Adolfo. "I'm surrounded by a lot of good coaches and a lot of guys that have been in this game for a long time. I try to learn as much as I can from them."

"The tools that were present that led to us being excited when we signed Micker are the same today as they were then," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "We are equally excited about how those are going to play once he works his way up the chain."

Adolfo's gradual development took a slight hit this past season, when the right-handed-hitting outfielder had August surgery to repair a fractured fibula and ligament damage in his left ankle. Adolfo was playing for the eventual Arizona League champions when he made a late decision to slide on a play at the plate and his cleats got caught.

Video: White Sox Prospect Profile: Micker Adolfo

Hearing "a crack," as Adolfo described the play, is never a good thing. But he already has started throwing, has been lifting weights for a few months and is currently hitting off of a tee in the Dominican Republic.

"They have a good plan and we are sticking to it," Adolfo said. "I'm pretty young. I still have time. I just have to work hard and try not to let this be [an excuse]. This happened already, you know? Forget about this and just move forward."

Attaching bonus money to international prospects or taking a critical look at their early statistics really becomes an unfair proposition. It conveys the attitude that they will be contributing sooner than later at the highest level, when many of them come in with raw talent and very little game experience.

In Adolfo's case, he was the same age as a high school sophomore upon beginning his professional career. He already has gone through the machinations of change, moving his hands back up higher to make his swing more effective.

But the White Sox have made great strides on the international front under the guidance of special assistant to the senior VP/general manager Marco Paddy. They have added quality talent with high upside, such as Adolfo, who has the quality demeanor to match.

"We are probably even more excited that the background research that Marco and his staff did in terms of [Adolfo's] makeup have helped translate to who he is in the clubhouse and how he goes about his business and how he prepares for games and his aptitude for learning," Hahn said.

"I just try to do as much as I can," said Adolfo. "And I let them decide the next move."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago White Sox, Micker Adolfo