Eloy Jimenez

White Sox prospects Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins homer in Double-A debuts

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White Sox prospects Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins homer in Double-A debuts

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Eloy Jimenez’s goal is to show the White Sox that his performance at Winston-Salem wasn’t a fluke.

At this rate the No. 7 prospect in baseball won’t need long to prove it.

The White Sox prospect celebrated his promotion to Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday night with a home run in his first at-bat and a double. Fellow prospect Zack Collins also homered in his first game with the Barons after both were promoted from Advanced-A Winston-Salem earlier in the day.

“It’s a big step for my career again,” Jimenez said. “I’m just focused more to show the White Sox I can do the same I did in Winston-Salem. Just keep working hard. That’s it.”

Both players learned of their impending promotion after Sunday’s game at Winston-Salem. They played in Monday’s 11-inning loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs) with Collins doubling, tripling and walking and Jimenez going 0-for-5. Jimenez had also gone hitless in five at-bats on Sunday.

But the organization’s co-minor league player of the month for July got going immediately on Wednesday. He drove a 1-1 pitch down the right-field line in the first inning and snuck it inside the foul pole for an opposite-field home run, a 368-foot drive. His next time up, Jimenez doubled to deep center after he produced an exit velocity of 109 mph. Collins also drew a walk in his fourth plate appearance.

The White Sox player development department promoted both players to Double-A to prepare them for next season as this is where each is expected to start the 2018 campaign.

“It’s just to get their feet wet and to know what to expect,” Birmingham manager Julio Vinas said. “It’s a great philosophy because now they come into next year and they know already, this is what they do at this level. Even if they don’t do great here in the next couple of weeks, they know what to expect to now. Now they’ve got all offseason where they can work on certain things and come back and be ready for it. I think it’s a great experience that we give them and I really love the way we handle that.”

[MORE: Lucas Giolito feels as good as he has all season]

Collins wasn’t sure if he would be moved up. Originally, the plan was to keep him at Winston-Salem if the Dash was in the playoff hunt. Several losses erased that idea and Collins is appreciative of his new opportunity. The catcher struck out in his first two at-bats before he hammered one 420 feet for a solo home run in the fourth inning. The exit velo on Collins’ homer was 110 mph.

“(The promotion) means a ton to me,” Collins said. “Obviously, that’s the goal to keep on moving up and eventually to the big leagues. Just to get that next step in and get here and get my feet wet a little before the season ends is great.”

After he was acquired from the Cubs on July 13, Jimenez appeared in 29 games for Winston-Salem. He finished the month with 38 hits, including 11 doubles and eight home runs, 26 RBIs and 12 walks.

Jimenez produced a .345/.410/682 slash line for the Dash. He said he tried to avoid thinking about the promotion so he didn’t get distracted.

“Yes, (I was ready), but really, really I don’t think about it because when I think about it I struggle,” Jimenez said. “If God wants to take me here, whenever he feels I’m ready, I’m going to do my best job here. When they told me two days ago, I said ‘Ok. This is the time to keep working hard and just do whatever I’m going to do.’ ”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy Jimenez and Zack Collins one step closer to the majors

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy Jimenez and Zack Collins one step closer to the majors

Eloy Jimenez and Zack Collins are two of the White Sox top prospects, so it was a big deal when the news broke that they're both being promoted to Double-A Birmingham. On this edition of the podcast, Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey call up CSN's Dan Hayes who's on the road covering the White Sox farm system this week.  He was with Jimenez and Collins the day before in what turned out to be their last game for Winston-Salem.  Hayes explains the overwhelming impact Jimenez has made, not just with the White Sox but the entire Carolina League this season.  They discuss the path Collins will likely take to the majors, the underrated ability of Casey Gillaspie who the White Sox acquired in the Dan Jennings trade and more.  Then they cover White Sox news: Rick Hahn trading Tyler Clippard while he was watching Game of Thrones, the incredible MLB start for Nicky Delmonico, the recent run of starts by Carlos Rodon and more.

Movin' on up: Two of White Sox top 10 prospects get minor league promotions

Movin' on up: Two of White Sox top 10 prospects get minor league promotions

Two of the White Sox top prospects are moving on up.

CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes tweeted Tuesday morning that outfielder Eloy Jimenez and catcher Zack Collins are getting promotions from Class-A Winston-Salem to Double-A Birmingham.

Seeing players progress through the farm system is an obviously positive sign for the organization in the middle of a rebuilding effort that is still expected to last multiple years before the big league team is ready to contend.

Jimenez, who was acquired in last month's trade that sent Jose Quintana across town to the Cubs, is the No. 2 prospect in the White Sox system and the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball, those rankings from MLB Pipeline.

In 29 games with Winston-Salem, the 20-year-old Jimenez slashed .345/.410/.682 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. He had a huge game over the weekend in which he was 3-for-5 with two titanic home runs.

[RELATED: "Unbelievable" Eloy Jimenez has impressed White Sox on and off the field]

Collins, meanwhile, ranks as the organization's No. 10 prospect, again per MLB Pipeline. A first-round pick of the White Sox out of Miami in last year's draft, Collins is hitting just 223 on the season but has an on-base percentage of .365 with 17 homers and 48 RBIs to go along with 76 walks.

Collins has been red hot in August, slashing .343/.500/.686 for a sky-high 1.186 OPS. He's hit two homers, smacked four doubles, driven in seven runs, scored 12 runs and walked 11 times compared to eight strikeouts in 11 games this month.

Here's an updated look at where each of the team's top 10 prospects are currently playing:

1. Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox, MLB
2. Eloy Jimenez, Birmingham Barons, Double-A
3. Michael Kopech, Birmingham Barons, Double-A
4. Luis Robert, DSL White Sox, Rookie
5. Blake Rutherford, Kannapolis Intimidators, Class-A
6. Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox, MLB
7. Lucas Giolito, Charlotte Knights, Triple-A
8. Dylan Cease, Kannapolis Intimidators, Class-A
9. Alec Hansen, Winston-Salem Dash, Class-A
10. Zack Collins, Birmingham Barons, Double-A