White Sox make it official: Eloy Jimenez will not be called up to major league team this season


General manager Rick Hahn made official what was reported last week: Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox top-ranked prospect and the No. 3 prospect in the game, will not be promoted to the major league team in 2018.

White Sox fans have been clamoring to see Jimenez on the South Side since before the season even began, but they’ll have to wait until next year before seeing him in a big league lineup.

Jimenez has done nothing but mash since he was acquired in last summer’s Crosstown swap with the Cubs. He slashed .348/.405/.635 in 47 games after the trade in 2017. This season, he slashed .317/.368/.556 with 10 homers in 53 games at Double-A Birmingham to earn a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a .355/.399/.597 line with 12 homers in 55 games.

All that hitting had fans and observers alike scratching their heads, wondering what could be keeping one of baseball’s most exciting minor league players away from the majors. Hahn has pointed out throughout the season, however, that there are things the team is looking to see its players accomplish that can’t be found in box scores. And no one knows what those developmental milestones are besides the White Sox front office.

But that fact didn’t stop Jimenez from publishing an essay in the Players’ Tribune in which he declared he was “beyond ready” to make the leap to the big leagues.

The essay was followed up last week with comments from Jimenez’s agents to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, in which they fumed that the White Sox were intentionally keeping Jimenez in the minor leagues to earn an extra year of team control at the end of his contract. That strategy has been employed by other clubs, notable by the Cubs with Kris Bryant, who after putting up monster numbers in the minors in 2014 was kept away from the major league club until a couple weeks into the 2015 season, when he won National League Rookie of the Year honors.

It’s a strategy, too, that has been embraced by White Sox fans, who at one point this summer seemed to flip a switch, going from arguing that Jimenez should be called up immediately to suggesting that the better strategy would be to wait until next season. That argument is not at all a bad one and would mesh with Hahn’s oft-repeated message that everything the team does is in the interest of creating long-term success on the South Side.

Of course, the White Sox have never said that service time is driving any of their decision making, and they likely won’t ever do so in regards to Jimenez or any other young player. Hahn has said several times that the decisions regarding the promotion of prospects will be based strictly on baseball criteria.

But whatever the reasoning, Jimenez will not put on a White Sox uniform in the final month of the 2018 season. Instead, it’s expected that he will once again go to big league spring training with the team in February. Even if he doesn’t crack the Opening Day roster, it figures that it won’t be long into the 2019 season that he gets the call to the bigs.

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