Eloy Jimenez

When will the White Sox call Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the major leagues?

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USA TODAY

When will the White Sox call Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the major leagues?

In 2018, two questions dominated the minds of White Sox fans: When would Michael Kopech be promoted to the major leagues, and when would Eloy Jimenez be promoted to the major leagues?

Those questions lingered into the last 40 days of the season, when Kopech was called up for his big league debut in late August and general manager Rick Hahn announced that Jimenez wouldn’t be coming up at all before the season ran out.

Well, 2019 is now right around the corner, and so there are two more questions surrounding the rebuilding White Sox: When will Jimenez be promoted to the major leagues, and when will Dylan Cease be promoted to the major leagues?

Jimenez is the White Sox No. 1 prospect and one of the top three prospects in baseball. In his first full season in the White Sox organization, he mashed at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, slashing a combined .337/.384/.557 with 22 home runs and 75 RBIs. Confidence is not an issue, as he’s been talking about his readiness for the majors since he arrived in 2017’s midseason trade with the Cubs.

And speaking of the Cubs, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him receive the same treatment as Kris Bryant, who the North Siders held in the minor leagues to finish out the 2014 season and then promoted in the first few weeks of the 2015 campaign.

Speaking last week at the GM Meetings in Southern California, Hahn said it was possible Jimenez could spend the whole season at the big league level, not ruling out that the organization’s top prospect could be on the Opening Day roster.

“Let's see how he looks when he gets to camp and we'll go from there,” Hahn said. “Nothing has changed since Sept. 1, but let's see what happens come February and March.

“Eloy has been saying since A-ball that he's ready, which is wonderful and exactly where I want him to be. We'd much rather try to rein a guy back than try to prod him forward. Eloy's level of confidence and enthusiasm for being in the big leagues is wonderful. We actually had dinner with him and his family last month in the Dominican. ... I think right now he's in very good spirits. He looks great. He's working out and been working on his nutrition. I know he's planning to come to camp eager to show everybody what he's capable of doing."

The financial realities of baseball might end up making whatever Jimenez shows during spring training moot, but we’ll see.

As for Cease, he was good enough in 2018 to earn MLB Pipeline’s minor league pitcher of the year honor and shot up the White Sox prospect rankings to No. 3 in the farm system. He pitched at both Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham before getting shut down at year’s end, combining to post a 2.40 ERA and strike out 160 guys in 124 innings.

Last year, Hahn talked about Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who made their White Sox debuts late in 2017, as potential templates for Kopech, and things turned out that way with Kopech debuting in late August. Should Kopech be looked at as a potential template for Cease and when we can expect the other big part of the Jose Quintana trade to make his big league debut?

“That's very possible,” Hahn said. “I think the only possible concern or the only thing holding back Dylan Cease right now is the innings base he has under him. Right now his career high in innings was 2018, about 125-ish. So you can't necessarily project him, 'Oh he's going to go throw 180 in the big leagues next year.' So that's really the only sense of caution on him.

“I think it's fair to compare where he is now to where Kopech was a year ago in terms of coming to spring training with the stuff, with everything he's accomplished, with the stuff he has and the ability to compete at the big league level. It's just a matter of going to start that process and what we can expect once we do.”

The 2019 season should be different in that we’ll get an answer on Jimenez early instead of wondering all season long. But 2019 could be a sort of replay when it comes to Cease, who if he continues the kind of performance he turned in last season could be the subject of season-long questions, like Kopech was in 2018.

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White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.

More love for White Sox farm system, with five prospects nominated for MiLB awards

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USA TODAY

More love for White Sox farm system, with five prospects nominated for MiLB awards

There's no shortage of love for the White Sox loaded farm system.

MiLB.com is the latest to recognize the organization's cadre of highly touted prospects, with a host of future White Sox nominated for the site's annual awards.

Dylan Cease — already named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year — is in the running for MiLB's Top Starting Pitcher honor after his sensational season. Cease posted a 2.40 ERA and struck out 160 batters in his 124 innings, splitting time between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, and also made a ninth-inning appearance at the Futures Game during All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C.

Eloy Jimenez, the No. 3 prospect in baseball, is up for Top Offensive Player thanks to his .337/.384/.577 slash line, 22 homers, 28 doubles and 75 RBIs in 108 games between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Jimenez, the organization's top-ranked prospect, could make an early season appearance on the South Side in 2019.

The White Sox have a pair of nominees for Top Relief Pitcher. Caleb Frare was nominated for his work in both the White Sox and Yankees organizations. Acquired in a midseason trade, Frare had a 0.62 ERA in 31 appearances at Double-A Trenton before joining Triple-A Charlotte, where he allowed just one run in 12.2 innings. And 2017 draft pick Tyler Johnson was excellent in 2018, turning in a 1.40 ERA in 58 innings between Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem.

The aforementioned Winston-Salem Dash are up for Best Team after going 84-54 and boasting a large chunk of the White Sox top-ranked prospects. Omar Vizquel was named the Carolina League's Manager of the Year for his work with the Dash this season.

The White Sox are up for Best Farm System, alongside nine other nominees. They've got a strong case, of course, with seven players ranked in MLB Pipeline's top 100.

And finally, Zack Collins is in the running for Top Home Run. He homered twice in the same inning on Aug. 10 — the second shot a grand slam — a game in which he drove in six runs.

Fans can go vote to help the White Sox toward these various awards.