The White Sox announced on Wednesday that they’ve optioned top outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to Double-A Birmingham. The 21-year-old homered twice and hit a triple in nine spring plate appearances with the Sox, but he was never viewed as a candidate to break camp with the team. Jimenez has just 18 games of Double-A ball to his credit and has yet to play Triple-A, so he’ll head to the minors for additional development. The centerpiece of last summer’s Jose Quintana blockbuster with the crosstown Cubs, Jimenez figures to be a critical long-term piece on the South Side of Chicago, though ChiSox fans will likely have to wait at least a few months before getting a look at him in the Majors. That’s just fine with Jimenez, as Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com writes, though the youngster also made clear he thinks he is ready to play at the game’s highest level.
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- Another top prospect, Indians catcher Francisco Mejia, could actually end up seeing some action in the outfield as part of a plan to utilize him in the majors in the near term, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. Mejia has previously been tried out at the hot corner, which Hoynes says “didn’t take,” so clearly the Cleveland organization isn’t fully committed to keeping him behind the dish. Regardless, he’s seen as a high-quality hitting prospect who could soon make an impact. The impression made by outfielder Abraham Almonte was not quite as positive, Hoynes notes, as he is not in shape and has already been optioned despite toting a $825K arb contract into camp.
- At one point, Hunter Dozier of the Royals had that kind of lofty billing. But the eighth overall pick of the 2013 draft has seen his star fade over the years. As MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes, the organization now seems to see Dozier mostly as a first baseman, which doesn’t necessarily boost his long-term value outlook as he prepares to open the season at Triple-A. That said, the organization is obviously focused primarily on finding a path for Dozier to contribute to the majors. That won’t happen out of camp, but the 26-year-old remains one of the Royals’ better-regarded prospects. Injuries robbed him of a full 2017 season, though he did impress with a .296/.366/.533 overall slash in the upper minors in the prior campaign.
- As many have observed, the Twins appear to be one of the prime beneficiaries of the collapse of free-agent demand this winter. Both Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn agreed to surprising one-year deals with Minnesota; as MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports, both elected to go there in no small part owing to the hope that their single season would be with a winning organization. While those two veterans surely anticipated quite a bit more earning power, it seems there are good vibes all around in Twins’ camp.
- The Tigers are deliberating over the fate of Rule 5 pick Victor Reyes, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Skipper Ron Gardenhire says it’s “honestly a really big one” — decision, that is — for the rebuilding organization. It could come down to Reyes and fellow outfielder JaCoby Jones, who has had a strong spring but can still be optioned. Interestingly, Fenech says the Tigers tried and failed to get Reyes in the J.D. Martinez trade, despite the fact that he came available just months later via the Rule 5. Gardenhire discussed the matter at some length, noting that Reyes could be a functional player even though he’s clearly not quite as polished as would be hoped. “I know where we’re at as an organization,” said Gardenhire. “We’re talking about developing and all those things so I think I can use him.”