The Kannapolis Intimidators, low Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, have gotten off to a very strong start this season. They currently lead the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division with a 37-23 record and are looking to clinch the first-half division title for a second-straight season. The impressive record can be attributed to a plethora of talent the White Sox have in their farm system. The Intimidators’ pitching has been outstanding, led by guys like Blake Battenfield, John Parke, and Lincoln Henzman to name a few. To go along with these arms is a solid lineup with many offensive threats. One of those threats is outfielder and recently named all-star, Craig Dedelow. The former Hoosier is adjusting nicely in his first full season of Single-A ball with Kannapolis and was kind enough to answer a few questions.
To start things off, when did you begin playing baseball?
As many kids growing up, I started playing baseball at a young age. That was when I fell in love with it.
When did you come to realize that baseball was something you wanted to focus on and possibly make a career out of?
I realized I should pursue baseball instead of other sports in high school when I was getting more looks for baseball than basketball. I didn’t realize I could make a career from it until late in my college career. Obviously, it was always my dream but it became a realization in college.
Looking back, what was your favorite memory from your time at Indiana?
My favorite moment at IU would have to be either winning the Big Ten Championship my freshman year or my senior series against Maryland. Senior year was a blast with some of my best friends on the field.
In 2016, you were drafted in the 34th round by the Pirates. What made you decide to return to school for your senior year?
I returned to school after junior year because I didn’t feel fully prepared for pro ball and felt like I had more to prove at Indiana.
You were then drafted in the 9th round by the White Sox in 2017. What kind of emotions were going through your head both in this draft and the previous when you found out you had been selected?
Being drafted was a whirlwind of emotions. Mostly proud and accomplished but scared at the same time. I didn’t really know what to expect but the organization took me in and put me in situations to succeed.
Now that you are with the Kannapolis Intimidators, can you walk us through your everyday life as a minor leaguer?
Every day life? Wake up, shower, play some video games until I go to the field. I usually pick up some food on the way to the field. Once at the field, we get a lift in. Then, some type of early work either hitting or defensive. Then, we’ll take batting practice. After BP, we go back to the clubhouse for a pregame meal and rest a little before the game. Then, game time. After the game, we shower up and go home where more video games are played or movies are watched.
You’ve been having a great season and were one of seven Kannapolis players named to the 2018 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. What is it like to receive this kind of honor and share it with so many teammates?
It’s awesome to be going to the All-Star game with so many teammates. They’ve been playing really well and I’m just along for the ride. We’re looking to have a good time in Greensboro.
Also named to the All-Star Game was your manager, Justin Jirschele. How has it been like playing under him?
It has been a great experience playing under “Jirsch.” He really understands what we go through every day and takes that into play when have pregame. Whether we need rest or press more, he knows the happy medium. He’s also very approachable which is nice for younger guys.
Moving forward, are there any particular aspects of your game that you would like to focus on improving throughout the course of this season and in the future?
I think I need to work on controlling my zone and limits swinging out of it. I think that will cut down on my strike outs. Strength and speed could also always be improved.
To close things out, has there been any piece of advice you have received from someone that you found to be meaningful and might be able to pass on to younger ballplayers?
Baseball is a funny game. You can be 10-20 or 0-20. Just keep your head up and keep working. The bus will always come back around for those who work hard.
On behalf of the entire crew at Sox On 35th, I would like to thank Craig for taking the time to answer these questions.
Be sure to follow Craig Dedelow on Twitter (@Craig_DEEDS) and Instagram (@craig_deeds). Also, follow the Kannapolis Intimidators on Twitter (@Intimidators) for updates on Dedelow and other White Sox prospects.