It’s a debate that has plagued the White Sox fan base for the last month or two- call up Eloy Jimenez now, or wait until next year. There are a lot of arguments on both sides, so let’s break them down.
On one side is the group that wants to call up Jimenez now. Based on numbers alone he certainly looks ready. Through 87 totals games this year (Double-A, Triple-A) he’s batting .331/.379/.597 with 20 home runs, 64 RBIs and 26 walks. In Triple-A alone Jimenez has a BA of .354, and that only recently dropped a little because of being out for a few games with the flu.
There’s also the point that keeping Jimenez in the minors any longer could, in fact, be more detrimental to his development than beneficial. The question has become, how much more is there to really develop in a guy that’s destroying the highest minor-league level?
On the other side are those that make their main argument on the extra year of control. It’s been an issue that has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny. Owners want to avoid giving a player a new contract for another year, but that just makes them look cheap, not to mention it can be unfair to the minor league players.
There’s also the question on this side of, what is there to gain in calling up a top prospect when the team itself is going nowhere this year? Also, although Jimenez has been playing very well in Triple-A, he’s only played 34 games. Are his numbers sustainable over the course of a full season? Maybe it’s better to leave him in Triple-A for the rest of the year and maybe even into next year.
No matter what side you take, there’s no denying that Eloy Jimenez is a top-tier prospect and one that most teams would be very reluctant to let go (thanks Cubs).
Here’s my two cents- call up Jimenez during the mass of September call-ups. See what he can do for a few games in the majors. There’s not really much for the Sox to gain by calling him up RIGHT NOW. Besides, is a couple more weeks in Triple-A really going to ruin him? If anything it will provide even more evidence that he’s ready and consistent.
A whole month will be plenty to see how Jimenez handles major-league pitching and if those high batting averages really hold up. The Sox’s opponents in September are BOS, DET, LAA, KC, BAL, CLE, CHC and MIN, so Jimenez will be getting a good look at various levels of skill, even seeing a couple playoff teams.
I’ve seen the worry among some fans that either way Chicago won’t give Jimenez a contract once his original one is up, so the extra year of control is valuable. But if Eloy is as good in the majors as he has been in the minors, the White Sox will have to pay him. He’s become a crucial cog of the White Sox rebuild, and one they definitely don’t want to let go of any time soon.