White Sox: Why You Won’t See Top Prospects Called Up In August
By Jeff Shirk
Amidst the excitement over the prospect of either Eloy Jimenez or Michael Kopech joining the White Sox this season, there is a strong reason to consider on why you won’t see them until September roster expansion.
There is good news and bad news if you’re eager to see Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech join the big league club. First, the good news: they’re coming. Now the bad news: not until next month.
Why, you ask? Why not before then? Simple: because in this lost 2018 season, there is zero advantage for the White Sox to call them up before rosters expand in September. None.
But they’ll get valuable experience you say. Yep. And they’re getting experience in Charlotte. Again, and to repeat, there is zero advantage for the White Sox to call either player up before roster expansion. When September comes, you can bet it will happen. But not before. The team doesn’t need to do it. Period.
What’s likely to happen in each case is they’ll join the team in September as part of the expanded rosters, have the proverbial cup of coffee with the Major League team, then next year during the 2019 season get the more formal promotion once the 172-days-minus-the-amount-of-days-they-spend-with-team-this-year threshold has passed – thus ensuring the first year of service takes place in 2019 and the team gains an extra year of eligibility/control as a result. The more days each player spends with the White Sox this year, the longer before they can be called up in 2019.
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This is why you won’t see them playing at 35th and Shields until September. And if you think about it, it makes sense. What possible 2018 season or team organizational benefit would there be to call them up before? A better record and worse amateur draft pick next year? A longer delay before their 2019 promotion? Ticket sales is the only answer, and that would likely apply for just the first day each appears with the club and/or Kopech’s first start if we were to make one. That’s it.
Now there is some excitement to be considered here. The first two games of September take place against Boston. Kopech vs. Chris Sale, anyone? I’ll buy a ticket to see that. Those Southside crosstown games at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 21-23? Jimenez faces the Cubs and potentially Jose Quintana anyone? I’m there. There’s still excitement to be had with September call-ups. And oh yeah, that extra year guaranteed in a Sox uniform.
Rick Hahn is doing a great job as White Sox General Manager. We’re impatient as fans. These two prospects look to be ready. All of this is true, yet these truths don’t fit together comfortably. But the next 31 days will pass quickly like most summers do, and before you know it we’ll be into September and be watching the future in the present.
I’m personally more interested to see if Carson Fulmer gets a call-up as a bullpen prospect. His future – if he has one with the Sox – represents more of an open-ended question than the futures of Jimenez or Kopech.
These are the dog days of summer, and the dogs are barking. Don’t look for any bones to be thrown to them in form of early call-ups for our two young studs Jimenez or Kopech. Their time is coming but not here yet.