Chicago White Sox promote several top prospects

 
 
Updated 6/21/2018 7:10 PM
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  • Eloy Jimenez, after hitting .317 at Birmingham, was promoted to Class AAA Charlotte on Thursday by the White Sox.

    Eloy Jimenez, after hitting .317 at Birmingham, was promoted to Class AAA Charlotte on Thursday by the White Sox. Associated Press/file

  • Right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease has been promoted to Class AA Birmingham after going 9-2 in 13 starts with Winston-Salem.

    Right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease has been promoted to Class AA Birmingham after going 9-2 in 13 starts with Winston-Salem. Associated Press/file

  • Cuban outfielder Luis Robert smiles is moving up to Class A Winston-Salem, the White Sox announced Thursday.

    Cuban outfielder Luis Robert smiles is moving up to Class A Winston-Salem, the White Sox announced Thursday. Associated Press/file

Rain washed out Thursday night's Chicago White Sox game, but it was still a productive day.

"It's an exciting time to be part of this organization," said Chris Getz, the Sox's director of player development.

As expected, the Sox announced several minor-league promotions -- 16 in all -- headed by Eloy Jimenez moving from Class AA Birmingham to AAA Charlotte.

Jimenez, a 21-year-old outfielder acquired from the Chicago Cubs last July in the Jose Quintana trade, was second in the Southern League with a .317 batting average and .925 OPS, tied for second with 42 RBI and tied for third with 10 home runs.

"Eloy has done nothing but hit with us," Getz said. "He's driving the ball to all fields with power. He's hammering fastballs. Talking about maturity, he's definitely beyond his years in how he handles the game as a whole.

"Certainly, when he steps into the box it seems that you're looking at a guy that plays in the big leagues already, and he's not. He's controlling the strike zone, he's driving the ball, he's making good decisions. We'll see what he can do up at Charlotte."

After spending most of his time in left field with Birmingham, Jimenez played right in Thursday night's debut with Charlotte. He batted third.

"Double-A, historically, is a fastball-heavy league, certainly the Southern League is," Getz said. "You'll get a lot of high starting prospects at that level that are still kind of learning to command their fastball, meaning they're using their fastball often. Obviously, he's responded well to that.

"Now at Charlotte, you're going to run into guys that have a little more experience. Some may have pitched in the big leagues, some might have been labeled those 4-A types. But what comes with that is more off-speed pitches, pitching backwards, being able to locate a little bit more. It will be interesting to see how he does respond with guys attacking him a little bit differently."

Catcher/designated hitter Seby Zavala and relief pitcher Ian Hamilton also head to Charlotte from Birmingham.

Starting pitcher Dylan Cease, acquired with Jimenez from the Cubs in the Quintana deal, is one of seven White Sox prospects promoted from high Class A Winston-Salem to Birmingham.

In 13 starts for Winston-Salem, Cease was 9-2 with a 2.89 ERA. The 22-year-old righty led the Carolina League with 82 strikeouts (in 71⅔ innings).

"Heading into the season, his first full year with us, the focus was every fifth day, a full season's worth of innings," Getz said. "He's more or less forced our hand. He's really come on. He's pitching with four pitches, four-plus pitches.

"He's commanding the ball, a very mature kid. And he's certainly ready for the next challenge at Double-A."

Outfielders Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker and Alex Call, starter Bernardo Flores and relievers Matt Foster and Zach Thompson also were bumped up to Birmingham from Winston-Salem.

Six players were promoted from low A Kannapolis to Winston-Salem, headed by outfielder Luis Robert.

After missing nearly three months with a thumb injury, Robert joined Kannapolis in early June and batted .289/.360/.400 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 RBI and 4 stolen bases in 13 games.

Joining Robert in Winston-Salem from Kannapolis are outfielder Luis Gonzalez, shortstop Laz Rivera, starters Blake Battenfield and Lincoln Henzman and reliever Tyler Johnson.

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