White Sox top prospects improving with Triple-A Charlotte. Is it time to promote each prospect to the Majors before rosters expand in September?
Second half goals? There’s just one. With the second half just getting underway, the White Sox are just set with the task of merely finishing the season strong and preparing for next season.
The White Sox are actually not as bad as others thought they would be this season but they are not any better. Their games under .500 nearly match their win total and the list of players included in the future is dwindling.
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Sure, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, the pitchers and a few surprise players are still the main reason to watch the White Sox, but there are still a pair of players vital to this entire plan in Charlotte.
Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech, imminent White Sox players and a pair of the highest-rated prospects in all of baseball, are patiently waiting for the call to play in the Majors. They will most definitely play Major League ball at some point within the next year but if it’s not this season, you can chalk it up as another failure for the Boys in Black this year.
This entire season, with the correct and adjusted expectations, was purely about development and growth. The way Jimenez and Kopech have performed at Charlotte this season, it’s easy to see that there is not much more the two players can learn from continuing to play at the Triple-A level.
At this point, as bad as they are, the White Sox can get a head start for developing great and important players with the best tool for development: Experience.
Growing comfortable with teammates, in the batting order, in the rotation, watching baseball and playing at the highest level for a solid month or two can do wonders for players who are too explosive for the minor leagues.
Jimenez has crushed the ball at every level and getting him used to Major League pitching would be tremendous for his growth as a hitter because that’s why the White Sox traded for him. He’s not a great fielder or a tremendous athlete like Luis Robert or Moncada, but he’s going to hit. Why not get him ready for next season and give him a sample of what’s going to be facing very soon.
Kopech hasn’t been quite as dominant as he was at Double-A Birmingham but he’s been good enough to get the call. In four of his last five starts, he’s gone at least six innings, struck out at least eight, and has only allowed three combined earned runs. He’s had a few shaky starts scattered throughout the season but that’d happen. He’s been good enough to lead the entire International League in strikeouts at 131.
One can argue the risk of injury but that can happen to any player at any time. That’s not a good reason to keep players from getting the call-up.
As of right now, the issue of rushing Kopech through Triple-A should be out of the question, Kopech has 19 starts (Tied – second most) and 94.1 innings pitched (12th most).
For Jimenez, the issue remains to rush him through Triple-A because he’s only played 18 games as of Saturday, but he’s been fantastic regardless. He’s hitting .319 with an OPS of .968.
The only thing the White Sox are losing by not calling them up is precious time.
Here are their numbers down at Charlotte:
Kopech: 19 G / 94.1 IP / 12.50 K/9 / 0.57 HR/9 / 4.29 ERA / 131 K
Jimenez: 18 G / 69 AB / 22 H / 5 HR / 9.33 K% / .319 AVG / .373 OBP / .594 SLG / 138 wRC+