The Chicago White Sox are making a rather curious decision in the handling of their top prospect.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the White Sox will not be calling up outfielder Eloy Jimenez, even after rosters expand in September.
The Chicago #WhiteSox will NOT call up prized prospect Eloy Jimenez in September, but are hardly alone among clubs executing the same strategy.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 31, 2018
The decision to delay Jimenez’s MLB debut has little to do with performance. The consensus top-ten MLB prospect has hit .341 with 22 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and the team itself admitted that he’s close to being MLB-ready. This almost certainly has to do with service time manipulation, as keeping Jimenez down now — and not calling him up until a few weeks into the 2019 season — would give the White Sox an extra year of team control down the line.
The Chicago White Sox are finally bringing another one of their top prospects to the big leagues.
On Sunday, the team tweeted that top pitching prospect Michael Kopech would be called up to make his MLB debut on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins.
IT'S HAPPENING: @MichaelKopech5 is coming to Chicago!
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 19, 2018
Considered one of the top 20 prospects in baseball, Kopech has a 3.70 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 129 innings for Triple-A Charlotte this season. He was one of the prizes of the Chris Sale trade, and has been known for being able to post some pretty impressive velocities on the radar gun. With the White Sox well out of the race and in the middle of a rebuild, they apparently feel that the 22-year-old is ready to show what he has to offer at the Major League level.
Chicago White Sox fans know they’re going through a lengthy rebuild,but many have been wondering when they’re going to see the next top prospect in their system make his Major League debut.
The answer may be fairly soon.
According to White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, top prospect Eloy Jimenez is “getting very close” to being deemed MLB-ready, at which point a promotion seems likely to follow.
Chris Getz said “we’re getting very close” on Eloy Jiménez being ready for the majors during an interview on @670TheScore
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) August 5, 2018
Jimenez, a 21-year-old outfielder, was the prize piece acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jose Quintana a year ago. A consensus top-ten prospect in all of baseball, he’s dominated both Double-A and Triple-A this season, including a .376 average and eight home runs in just 29 games at the latter level.
The White Sox held to a very high asking price when talking Quintana trades. They got what they wanted, and it sounds like they may begin reaping the benefits very soon.
The Milwaukee Brewers already have one of the strongest bullpens in the National League, but they are not standing pat at the trade deadline as they hope to gear up for a deep postseason run.
On Thursday, the Brewers acquired veteran relief pitcher Joakim Soria in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 26, 2018
Soria has 16 saves for the 36-win White Sox this year, and he has been one of the most dependable bullpen arms in baseball for several years. His ERA was up a bit with the Kansas City Royals the past two seasons, but he has it back down to 2.56 this season on a Chicago team that has not been anywhere near contention.
The Brewers currently rank fifth in the majors with a bullpen ERA of 3.31, but you can never have enough relievers late in the season and into October. Milwaukee is currently 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs and battling for the NL Central crown, and Soria should give them a nice back-end piece to help finish off games.
The Chicago White Sox are enduring yet another miserable season, and now the frustration seems to be spilling over into the locker room as well.
After the Sox got thumped by the Cleveland Indians 12-0 on Wednesday, righty Reynaldo Lopez, who started and took the loss, vented to reporters.
“It’s unacceptable for us to look the way we looked today,” said Lopez, per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “Nobody is happy about the way we looked today. Honestly, we looked like clowns there, starting with me. But I know we can do better. It’s a matter of us to keep grinding, improving and working hard.”
The 24-year-old’s remarks were sharp, and they apparently did not sit too well with some his teammates. On Friday, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times revealed the reactions of multiple White Sox players who sounded unhappy about Lopez’s comments.
“If I have something to say, sometimes you have to [say it] in your clubhouse,” third baseman Yolmer Sanchez was quoted as saying. “I don’t like to say a lot of things about us to the media.”
“If I have to vent about something negative or any kind of comment that I think is not right, I’d rather go home and talk to my wife,” said shortstop Tim Anderson before taking on a bit more of a conciliatory tone. “But guys are different. They vent in different ways. I understand where the frustration comes from with him. I’m still going to stick behind him 100 percent.”
“You never really want to describe it that way, but I definitely understand Lopey’s frustrations,” veteran pitcher James Shields added. “But, at the end of the day, we are a team and we’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to play the game the right way. We’ve got to pick our game up.”
One exception however was first baseman Jose Abreu, who even seemed to applaud Lopez for his criticisms.
“I respect his comments,” the slugger said through an interpreter. “We are not playing the way that we can play. We can’t lose focus on the things that we can manage and how we need to approach the game, how we need to work to get the job done on the field. I really respect his comments.”
While the Sox managed to snap an eight-game losing streak with an 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s on Friday, they still sit an ugly 25-50 on the year (third-worst in the league). Lopez’s comments may not have been the most popular, but even their fans seem to agree that the team’s play is far below par.
Bad weather and a poor start from the Chicago White Sox conspired for dreadfully low attendance at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.
A fan shared an image of the ballpark during Monday’s game between the White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, and it’s safe to say attendance might be in the hundreds, not the thousands.
— Evan Sutton (@EvanWSutton) April 9, 2018
It was in the 30s and snowy in Chicago — the Cubs didn’t even try to play. The White Sox, after losing their first three home games, didn’t postpone their game. The weather definitely played a role, unlike it has in another city, but this definitely doesn’t look good from a White Sox perspective.
- Chicago White Sox
Josh Donaldson hit a game-tying solo home run in the sixth inning against the White Sox Monday night, and he appeared to taunt the Chicago dugout after he crossed home plate. We now know what inspired him to do that.
As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune explained, White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston decided to purchase a whistle when he was having a tough time getting outfielders’ attention to reposition them during games. Boston has since started using the whistle when the White Sox make a big defensive play and between innings.
Boston also caught wind that Donaldson isn’t a big fan of the whistle, so he decided to blow it before the Blue Jays star stepped to the plate in the sixth. Donaldson responded by belting a homer, and he mimicked blowing a whistle toward the White Sox dugout to celebrate.
Josh Donaldson celebrates his first home run then gestures to White Sox dugout.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 3, 2018
“I guess he (deems) it to be appropriate, so I felt it would be appropriate if I blew it back at him when they didn’t make the play,” Donaldson told reporters after Toronto’s 4-2 victory. “As soon as I stepped into the box, he started blowing it before anything even happened. So I felt like I’d return the favor.”
To their credit, the White Sox handled it well. Players could be seen laughing in the dugout, and Boston took the blame for the homer.
“My reaction was he got us,” Boston said. “I was informed he wasn’t particularly thrilled about the whistle, and he showed me he was not. … So you can pin that homer on me.”
Donaldson didn’t quite show up the White Sox as badly as Bryce Harper showed up a fan over the weekend, but he certainly got the last laugh. It will be interesting to see if Boston refrains from blowing the whistle before Donaldson’s at-bats going forward.