The White Sox will not promote their top prospect, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, to the majors this season, general manager Rick Hahn confirmed Monday. Meanwhile, they will select young right-hander Jose Ruiz from Double-A Birmingham, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. Adding Ruiz will require a corresponding 40-man move, as Chicago’s currently at capacity.
The fact that Jimenez won’t come up this year is no surprise, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported over the weekend that the Triple-A star would not debut in the majors until 2019. Indeed, Hahn said (via Van Schouwen) that Jimenez is “very well positioned to make a significant impact at the big league level” next season. For now, “it’s in everyone’s best interest” for the team to hold off on promoting Jimenez, Hahn added.
“We’re not trying to develop a 21-year-old DH,” continued Hahn, suggesting Jimenez still has to improve his defense (via James Fegan of The Athletic).
That may be true, but it won’t win over Jimenez’s agents, who discussed their client with Jon Heyman of Fancred last week.
“How can you say with a straight face this guy needs to work on anything?” asked one of his representatives, Paul Kinzer. “What’s he need to work on?”
Meanwhile, fellow Jimenez rep Nelson Montes De Oca suggested service time is the driving force behind Chicago’s decision not to promote him this year. Keeping Jimenez out of the majors until the third week of 2019 campaign will enable the White Sox to control him for an extra year, after all, and it’s clear he has done more than enough offensively to earn a call-up. Since moving from Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte in June, Jimenez has further cemented his place as an elite prospect by slashing an incredible .355/.399/.597 with 12 home runs and a .242 ISO in 228 plate appearances. Next, he’s likely to continue his development in winter ball, per Hahn (via Fegan).
Unlike Jimenez, Ruiz is far from an elite prospect, but MLB.com does rank him 24th in an impressive Chicago farm system. A former catcher in San Diego’s system, the Padres converted Ruiz into a pitcher but ultimately lost him on waivers to the White Sox last winter. The hard-throwing 23-year-old has a chance to develop into an impact reliever for the White Sox, MLB.com suggests, and he made his mark in Birmingham this season by logging a 3.18 ERA/2.84 FIP with 10.92 K/9 and 3.77 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings.