It’s almost the moment that all minor league baseball fans have been waiting for.
On September 1st, all thirty MLB teams active rosters will expand from 25 to 40, allowing several players to be called up from the minors.
Among the teams who are expected to promote the most prospects are the Chicago White Sox. Deep into their rebuild, 2018 is a lost season on the South Side. September is no longer about wins and losses. Its audition time.
Most 95+ mph pitches in a single game in @MLB this year: 79 - @Braves' Mike Foltynewicz, 5/27#WhiteSox No. 2 prospect Michael Kopech threw 41 such pitches IN THE FIRST TWO INNINGS of his @MLB debut tonight before https://t.co/PJuMingTmr pic.twitter.com/Vb8mK3uLDA— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 22, 2018
Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech has already gotten the call, and has done everything to prove his validity among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. In two starts, Kopech has allowed just one run and struck out eight.
Once the rosters expand, Kopech will certainly be joined by a few, if not several, of his former Triple-A teammates. Here are three guys who could see time in Chicago in the next month.
Seby Zavala with his third hit of the game drives in run #10 for the Knights. Two strikes and back up the middle. pic.twitter.com/At4arsYc1y— Dan Victor (@slydanno70) August 27, 2018
The White Sox situation at catcher is already pretty tight. Omar Narvaez is in the midst of a stunning career year, Kevan Smith has been an above-average backup, and Wellington Castillo is waiting in the wings after an 80-game PED suspension.
However, Zavala, the White Sox #2 catching prospect, has had a breakout year in 2018. In 360 at-bats split between Double-A and Triple-A, Zavala is hitting a combined-.267 with 13 home runs and 51 runs batted in.
Zavala, at the age of 25, is certainly major league-ready age-wise. HIs pop and average back up his readiness. Staying at catcher is a long-term concern, but shouldn't affect his status as a September call up.
Maybe September is the perfect audition for Seby Zavala behind the plate.
Ian Hamilton finishes it off w a K. Knights win 3-1.— Jonathan Lee (@followmefor3) August 28, 2018
E. Jimenez 4-4
M. Skole 2-2 2BB, 2RBI pic.twitter.com/bIkfixyrT3
Ian Hamilton has perhaps been the biggest breakout arm in the White Sox system this season. In 50.2 innings split perfectly (25.1 in each) between Double-A and Triple-A, Hamilton has an ERA of 1.78, amazingly at both levels.
Hamilton possesses a high-90s fastball that can reach triple-digits, aided with a sharp, nasty slider. Hamilton is as polished as any of the White Sox relief prospects, and certainly has shown his readiness since his promotion to Triple-A.
The White Sox have enjoyed breakout seasons from young minor league relievers such as Hamilton, Tyler Johnson, and Jose Ruiz. White Sox fans should get a good look at Ian Hamilton in a week or so.
The third-ranked prospect in all of baseball, Eloy Jimenez is about as legit as they come.
In 402 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, Jimenez is hitting an astronomical .341, with 21 home runs. 74 RBIs, and just 60 strikeouts. Jimenez is hitting .365 in Triple-A since his promotion, sparking rumors and calls for his promotion all summer.
On Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports reported that Jimenez’ camp was “unhappy” with the White Sox since Jimenez is unlikely to be called up this season, stating that they will consider filing a grievance against the team, much like what Scott Boras and Kris Bryant’s camp did back when the phenom was kept in the minors for the start of the 2015 season.
Whether it be because of the new outside pressure or his play, there’s no reason why Eloy Jimenez shouldn't be on the big league roster, especially once that roster expands to 40. Jimenez has absolutely nothing left to prove, and now that its clear with Kopech that the White Sox don't care about service time, we’ll almost definitely see Eloy Jimenez in the major leagues before the season comes to a close.