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Prospect Hamilton learning from tough games

Yielding grand slam to Kipnis a valuable teaching experience
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- White Sox No. 16 prospect Ian Hamilton notched his first career Major League strikeout in his second big league appearance on Sept. 3 against the Tigers' Victor Reyes.

Hamilton's first career victory came on Sept. 25 at home against the Indians after Daniel Palka's walk-off single followed exactly one pitch thrown by the 23-year-old right-hander.

CHICAGO -- White Sox No. 16 prospect Ian Hamilton notched his first career Major League strikeout in his second big league appearance on Sept. 3 against the Tigers' Victor Reyes.

Hamilton's first career victory came on Sept. 25 at home against the Indians after Daniel Palka's walk-off single followed exactly one pitch thrown by the 23-year-old right-hander.

But the biggest moment of Hamilton's debut season came on Sept. 19 at Progressive Field, when Jason Kipnis hit a walk-off grand slam and erased a 1-0 White Sox lead during Hamilton's first save opportunity. Rather, it might have been the greatest teaching experience.

Video: Must C Clutch: Kipnis gets hit 1,000 on walk-off slam

"That's what I'll probably remember until next season," said Hamilton with a wry smile during a recent interview.

"I definitely learned, 'Don't just throw a changeup right down the middle of the plate, especially to a veteran hitter,'" Hamilton continued. "But I've learned that you don't want to feel like that again. Kind of looking back on that, if I had to redo it again, I would probably step off, take an extra second and go back into it. I'm not mad about any of that. Just kind of a learning experience."

Over 10 appearances during the 2018 campaign, Hamilton posted a 4.50 ERA with five strikeouts and two walks in eight innings. The 11th-round pick out of Washington State in the 2016 Draft gained valuable high-leverage experience beyond Kipnis' infamous connection.

Some in the organization have talked about Hamilton as a late-inning hurler, if not a closer, of the future. And pitching with the game on the line is the only thing Hamilton has dreamed about since he picked up a baseball.

Video: BOS@CWS: Hamilton pitches scoreless inning in debut

"Oh, yeah. I love that," said Hamilton of closing. "That's one of the best positions in baseball. Almost in play pretty much every day.

"It's like being in that situation, it's a different feel, going into the game like that, knowing it's one to three runs compared to just coming in in the middle of the game. You still get an adrenaline rush, but it's a way different feel."

Hamilton's jump to the Majors on Aug. 31 completed his single-season rise from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte, where he recorded a combined 22 saves, a 1.74 ERA and 62 strikeouts against 16 walks in 51 2/3 innings. Hamilton figures to break camp with the White Sox in 2019 and be part of the immediate late-innings mix.

If Hamilton lands in the closer's role he craves, the right-hander will have that Kipnis walk-off grand slam stored away as part of his development process.

"I've learned you have to make pitches and you have to really be locked in, like every single day you come in," Hamilton said. "Your number can get called pretty much any day, any time. So just being like more prepared for the game, pretty much.

"Being young, you want to see how you handle anything. I'd love to come out on top of that, but at the same time it's like, now I know what that feels like, being the lowest part of that and if I get in that situation again, I kind of have that insight, kind of now I know what I should do."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Ian Hamilton

Madrigal getting reps at shortstop at instructs

No. 4 overall pick among prospects impressing in Arizona
MLB.com

When the White Sox selected Nick Madrigal with the No. 4 overall pick in June, they had every intention of giving the Oregon State second baseman every chance to show that he could play shortstop. They still do. But that opportunity never materialized during his pro debut, when he played 39 games at second base and just one at short.

Instructional league is a perfect setting for giving players exposure to multiple positions, and Madrigal concentrated on playing shortstop in Chicago's program, which opened Sept. 20 and will run through Oct. 17 at its training base in Glendale, Ariz. The White Sox sent Madrigal home 10 days early -- by design, because he had a grueling year that included a broken left wrist and a College World Series championship with the Beavers -- and farm director Chris Getz said the organization was pleased with what it saw.

When the White Sox selected Nick Madrigal with the No. 4 overall pick in June, they had every intention of giving the Oregon State second baseman every chance to show that he could play shortstop. They still do. But that opportunity never materialized during his pro debut, when he played 39 games at second base and just one at short.

Instructional league is a perfect setting for giving players exposure to multiple positions, and Madrigal concentrated on playing shortstop in Chicago's program, which opened Sept. 20 and will run through Oct. 17 at its training base in Glendale, Ariz. The White Sox sent Madrigal home 10 days early -- by design, because he had a grueling year that included a broken left wrist and a College World Series championship with the Beavers -- and farm director Chris Getz said the organization was pleased with what it saw.

"We got a lengthier look at him at shortstop, and he was impressive," Getz said. "He'll play some more shortstop next year. He's a pure plus defender at second base. He can be a Gold Glover there. Now we know he can play shortstop based on what we saw during instructional league, and that makes him even more valuable.

"He has good hands, he has good feet, and he has enough arm. He can be at least an average shortstop, maybe a little better than that."

Madrigal played some shortstop early in his career at Oregon State before settling at second base in deference to Cadyn Grenier, arguably the best defensive shortstop in the 2018 college class and a supplemental first-round choice by the Orioles. Getz said that because Madrigal had such a draining final college season, the White Sox decided not to have him worry about trying a new position while also acclimating to pro ball and getting pushed to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

Video: CLE@CWS: First round pick Madrigal joins Sox booth

Regardless of where he winds up defensively, there's little question that Madrigal will hit. The consensus best pure hitter in the 2018 Draft class, he repeatedly barrels the ball from the right side of the plate. After batting .361 with a minuscule 5 percent strikeout rate in three years with the Beavers, he hit .303 with a 3 percent whiff rate in his pro debut.

Madrigal also offers plus speed and good instincts on the bases. He makes contact so easily that he'll have to develop more patience to draw a healthy amount of walks, though the main concern about him offensively is how much pop he'll generate. He won't be a slugger at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, but he has a quick bat and gap power that didn't translate in his debut, during which he slugged .348.

Besides Madrigal, the White Sox also landed two other college players who entered 2018 with first-round aspirations. Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker, who signed for a well over-slot $2 million in the second round, might have been the second-best pure hitter in college baseball behind Madrigal. Konnor Pilkington, who became the system's best lefty pitching prospect when he turned pro as a third-rounder, has the makings of a solid three-pitch repertoire and a durable frame.

While neither Walker (.209/.271/.342 in 44 games) nor Pilkington (7.07 ERA in 14 innings) had a banner pro debut, Chicago doesn't think any radical changes are in order. The White Sox love Walker's left-handed swing, approach and makeup, and he has spent instructional league trying to regain his rhythm at the plate. Pilkington, who already has an advanced changeup, has focused on adding life to his low-90s fastball and sharpening his curveball.

A couple of later-round selections have stood out in Glendale. Outfielder Cabera Weaver, a seventh-rounder from South Gwinnett High School in Georgia, has impressed with his quick-twitch athleticism, speed and strength. Michigan prep third baseman Bryce Bush, who turned down a Vanderbilt scholarship to sign for an above-slot $290,000 in the 33rd round, has continued to rake after hitting .309/.396/.453 in his debut.

"Bush definitely has strength, and he has a good approach for a young kid," Getz said. "He's been working on playing third base, with his footwork and the accuracy of his throws to first base. He has looked good."

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Chicago White Sox

Pipeline names White Sox Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the amazing results produced by right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease and outfielder Eloy Jimenez during the 2018 season, they really deserve their own separate stories to extol their virtues and list all their accolades.

But much like their situation soon to play out in Chicago, Cease and Jimenez share the spotlight in this instance as the MLB Pipeline Pitching and Hitting Prospects of the Year within the White Sox organization. It doesn't make the individual praise any less.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the amazing results produced by right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease and outfielder Eloy Jimenez during the 2018 season, they really deserve their own separate stories to extol their virtues and list all their accolades.

But much like their situation soon to play out in Chicago, Cease and Jimenez share the spotlight in this instance as the MLB Pipeline Pitching and Hitting Prospects of the Year within the White Sox organization. It doesn't make the individual praise any less.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

"He definitely has big league stuff," said catcher Zack Collins of Cease, with the two working together at Double-A Birmingham in '18. "I don't care who is up at the plate. I don't care if it's Mike Trout. Just what he was showing was incredible. He's pumping 98 in there and then throwing 86-mph changeups 3-2. It was like, it was just incredible."

"I would say if there's one player who took the greatest strides, it would be Dylan Cease," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz.

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

Numerous candidates for these awards stood out for the White Sox during Year 2 of their much-ballyhooed rebuild. But Cease and Jimenez emerged as the clear-cut choices.

Cease, the No. 25 prospect overall and No. 3 for the White Sox, was named MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year overall. He finished 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA over 23 starts combined for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, striking out 160 over a career-high 124 innings pitched with an opponents' average of .189. In 10 starts for the Barons, Cease posted a 3-0 record with a 1.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.

Video: Cease named Pipeline Pitcher of the Year

Jimenez, the top White Sox prospect and No. 3 prospect in the game, featured a combined .337 average with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, 75 RBIs and a .961 OPS during stops at Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. His Charlotte numbers were off the charts, with a .355 average, .996 OPS, 12 homers and 33 RBIs.

Jimenez didn't get a Major League callup in September, with the White Sox wanting him to continue focusing on defense and fine-tuning his complete and immense skillset.

"His motivation to be great is going to make him great," said White Sox outfield/baserunning coordinator Aaron Rowand of Jimenez. "Obviously, the talent level is through the roof. But there's been a lot of guys who have a ton of talent but don't have the drive to be great.

"A lot of them make it and play in the big leagues and whatnot, but you look at them and go like, 'There could have been a lot more there.' I don't think that's going to be the case with Eloy. Eloy is driven. He wants to be great in all aspects of his game. I know he's going to go home and get his offseason program and workouts and stuff in and come back with the mission of making that team."

Video: Eloy Jimenez is ranked the No. 3 prospect by MLB.com

Yoan Moncada and Alec Hansen won these individual White Sox awards for the 2017 season. Cease and Jimenez can revel in their past season's accomplishments while looking toward a Major League arrival.

"It's nice to dream about and definitely through the grind you need something to keep you a little motivated and going," said Cease, concerning the Major Leagues after taking part in the White Sox's four-day mini-camp at Camelback Ranch this week. "I'll think about it. I'll prepare for it, but at the end of the day it's not my main focus. I've got to control what I can control.

"I try not to have huge expectations. It's more of I'm trying to figure out what to do in this moment to be the best pitcher I can be. I know that I have a lot of ability and potential, so for me it was just about what I can do to enhance that and see where it takes me."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Cease, Eloy Jimenez

Robert, No. 4 prospect, looking forward to 2019

Outfielder putting injury-plagued '18 in rearview
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If Luis Robert had his druthers, his final 2018 statistics would have been slightly better than a .269 average, 17 RBIs, 11 doubles, 15 stolen bases, a .694 OPS and no home runs across Minor League stops with the White Sox Arizona Rookie-level squad, Class A Kannapolis and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

The 21-year-old would have simply liked to have had a healthy season, but a pair of ligament strains in his left thumb limited him to 50 games and 186 at-bats. But in his first year of professional baseball in the United States, adjusting to everyday life became every bit as important for the Cuba native, MLB Pipeline's No. 44 prospect overall and No. 4 in the White Sox system, as adjusting to Minor League pitching.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If Luis Robert had his druthers, his final 2018 statistics would have been slightly better than a .269 average, 17 RBIs, 11 doubles, 15 stolen bases, a .694 OPS and no home runs across Minor League stops with the White Sox Arizona Rookie-level squad, Class A Kannapolis and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.

The 21-year-old would have simply liked to have had a healthy season, but a pair of ligament strains in his left thumb limited him to 50 games and 186 at-bats. But in his first year of professional baseball in the United States, adjusting to everyday life became every bit as important for the Cuba native, MLB Pipeline's No. 44 prospect overall and No. 4 in the White Sox system, as adjusting to Minor League pitching.

"Talking about off the field stuff, I don't think it was a bad season for me," said Robert, through interpreter Anthony Santiago, speaking outside the White Sox clubhouse during mini-camp action at Camelback Ranch. "I learned a lot. I've adapted to a lot of things on and off the field.

"Obviously numbers-wise, it wasn't as good, and it didn't go the way I wanted because of the injuries. But overall it was a good season for me."

In-season off-field adjustments for Robert may seem second nature to most players. They included having to play the same day as or the day after long bus trips, as well as adjusting to different food and a new culture.

From the baseball side, Robert will pick up important extra at-bats as part of the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League beginning Tuesday. His raw skills should impress those fans who haven't seen the center fielder previously.

"Obviously his skill set is through the roof," said White Sox Minor League outfield/baserunning coordinator Aaron Rowand. "He just moves at a different pace.

"Whether it be fielding a ground ball or running down balls, he has the ability to move very quickly but under control. His feet are always underneath him. That's something you can't teach. When he fields a ground ball to throw somebody out, he's not out of control but he's moving at a faster pace than most.

"That's just talent. That's God [saying], 'Here ya go.' He has a cannon for an arm. He works as hard or harder than anyone out here. His footwork is really good. His instincts are very good on the bases. He's really good at reading balls in the dirt. For a young guy he's a very, very polished player and is going to do nothing but get better with experience."

Robert's power numbers were hampered by soreness in his wrist while compensating for the thumb issues, making it tough to extend on his swing and making him roll over a few too many pitches. But he's without pain now and figures the full game quickly will come back.

Those around Robert seem to think it's a matter of when, not if, he starts to tap into that seemingly limitless talent potential.

"He was still able to get some at-bats, but we want to continue what we've been working on here in the Fall League," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "Then we can start more of an evaluation and get bet a better idea of what he will bring to the team in '19 and beyond."

"Definitely the things I did well I think were running the bases and my defense," Robert said. "But I learned a lot of stuff that ... will help me in the future."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox

Dunning encouraged by bullpen session

Right-handed White Sox prospect making strides in rehab from strain
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The bullpen session thrown by Dane Dunning on Monday at Camelback Ranch consisted of 25 pitches, all fastballs.

That's not exactly a groundbreaking accomplishment for the game's No. 61 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, but it's a big step for the right-hander, who exited a Birmingham start on June 23 with elbow pain. After preparing for the worst, Dunning was diagnosed with a moderate elbow strain, and his bullpen session Monday is a glimmer of light in his rehab process.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The bullpen session thrown by Dane Dunning on Monday at Camelback Ranch consisted of 25 pitches, all fastballs.

That's not exactly a groundbreaking accomplishment for the game's No. 61 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, but it's a big step for the right-hander, who exited a Birmingham start on June 23 with elbow pain. After preparing for the worst, Dunning was diagnosed with a moderate elbow strain, and his bullpen session Monday is a glimmer of light in his rehab process.

"It's nice that I'm finally able to get off a mound and get back to doing what I love," said Dunning during a break in his workout Tuesday at Camelback Ranch. "It was the very first 'pen I've thrown, and it was a little sporadic with the location. But I'm just happy that it came out well and felt good out of the hand."

"We are going to build off of that," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz. "But he's bouncing around with a lot of energy and optimistic that things are moving in the right direction, which they are. It's very encouraging for everyone."

Dunning, who turns 24 on Dec. 20, was acquired with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito from the Nationals as part of the Adam Eaton trade. He posted a 2.71 ERA with 100 strikeouts over 86 1/3 innings between 2018 stops at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.

Dunning's quick road to the Majors appeared to get derailed after he was unable to continue in the fourth inning of the aforementioned start at Montgomery and called for the trainer.

A couple of outings before that, Dunning threw one curveball in the bullpen and felt discomfort. Having never experienced arm pain previously, Dunning didn't think much of it, because the pain went away after that pitch. That feeling changed on his final pitch of the '18 season.

"That was one of the toughest situations of my career, so far, just having to pull myself out of a game," Dunning said. "I know I'm hurt and all that, but I kind of felt like I let the team down a little bit.

"I was just kind of praying for the best. I wasn't thinking it was surgery, but I put myself in that mind frame that it might be a tear. It might be something along the lines of where I need surgery. Like I said, it was a big relief once I found out it was just a sprain and I could just take half a season off and work through it."

The hope is to have Dunning throw in a couple of instructional league games to get the arm battle-tested before he's shut down for the offseason to let it heal more. The specter of surgery still hovers out there for Dunning, but it hasn't deterred his effort to get back to action.

"We've taken a good step forward where we don't need [surgery], but if it's going to go, it's going to go," Dunning said. "I can do all the preventative stuff, but if it's going to tear, it's going to tear.

"There's no stopping that. If that happens, it happens. It would suck, but everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for all of us. I just take it one day at a time and try to keep a smile on my face."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Dane Dunning

Madrigal, White Sox know power will come

No. 4 prospect aiming to gain strength in offseason, maintain same approach
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The debut season for Nick Madrigal came to an end with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's elimination from the 2018 Carolina League playoffs.

His numbers were impressive over stops with the Dash, Class A Kannapolis and the White Sox Arizona Rookie League team, featuring a .303 average with eight stolen bases and a mere five strikeouts in 155 at-bats. Madrigal, who was the team's top Draft pick in 2018 and fourth selection overall, also finished without a home run and seven extra-base hits.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- The debut season for Nick Madrigal came to an end with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's elimination from the 2018 Carolina League playoffs.

His numbers were impressive over stops with the Dash, Class A Kannapolis and the White Sox Arizona Rookie League team, featuring a .303 average with eight stolen bases and a mere five strikeouts in 155 at-bats. Madrigal, who was the team's top Draft pick in 2018 and fourth selection overall, also finished without a home run and seven extra-base hits.

View Full Game Coverage

Featuring a top-of-the-order profile as a hitter, the 5-foot-7, 165-pound middle infielder doesn't have to be a prodigious slugger. But as his career develops, Madrigal and the White Sox believe so will his power.

"I know these next couple of offseasons are going to be big in the weight room. I know I'm going to continue to get stronger," Madrigal told MLB.com during a recent interview. "I do see that being a part of my game."

"There's power in there. We've seen it with our own eyes," White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said. "We know that once he comes back next year that there will be some home runs he's going to hit. But ultimately, the main thing is to jump in that lineup, put the bat on the ball and keep moving."

And there lies the crux of this power discussion. Madrigal, Chicago's No. 4 overall prospect and No. 32 in baseball, should become more of an extra-base hitter with full health, a little rest following this long season and more experience, but neither the player nor the White Sox want it to come at the expense of a change of approach from what made him quite possibly the most elite hit tool in this past Draft class.

With Oregon State, for example, Madrigal hit eight home runs over three seasons with a single-season high of four. He knocked out 40 doubles, but more importantly, batted .361 with a .422 career on-base percentage. Let's not forget his 37 strikeouts over 612 at-bats.

"I'm not going to change my game at all," Madrigal said. "I know that [power] is going to come as time goes on, but I'm focused on more of the line-drive kind of approach rather than hit the ball in the air. I've always kind of known that's my job in the lineup. That's my game, put the ball in play, no matter if it's early in the count or later in the count. My dad has always told me if you put that ball in play, something could happen.

"A player could make an error, it could squeak through the infield. The White Sox drafted me for a reason, for the style of player I am. There are things I can definitely improve as time goes on. Those things I'll be open to, but I'm not going to change my style at all."

Madrigal played almost exclusively at second base during his first season, but he's currently working at shortstop with Omar Vizquel during instructional league action in Arizona. The 21-year-old took a break from that work to visit Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday along with his dad, Mike, his mom, Angie, and one of his brothers, Zack.

Manager Rick Renteria and players such as James Shields and Tim Anderson represented a few of the people Madrigal met Monday. In his chat with the media, Madrigal spoke on everything ranging from developing a first-year work routine to the disappointment of the Dash's playoff elimination.

"I've won at every level I've been at so far, going back to Little League, high school and college," said Madrigal from the White Sox dugout Monday. "That's something I want to continue doing. And it seems like this organization is the perfect fit for me."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox

Eloy shares wisdom with DR academy prospects

MLB.com

BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic -- Eloy Jimenez has been here before -- lots of times, actually -- and he knows what it feels like to walk around this place.

Jimenez remembers the delicious and hearty food, the weight room just off the main sidewalk and, of course, the batting cages.

BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic -- Eloy Jimenez has been here before -- lots of times, actually -- and he knows what it feels like to walk around this place.

Jimenez remembers the delicious and hearty food, the weight room just off the main sidewalk and, of course, the batting cages.

"So many memories," Jimenez said in Spanish.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The White Sox top prospect -- and ranked No. 3 in the game by MLB Pipeline -- Jimenez says he basically grew up at the Cubs' academy in the D.R. before and after they signed him back in 2013, and it will always be a special place. So when he was asked to come back to his old stomping grounds to visit with the prospects at MLB's national showcase for players from the island on Thursday, Jimenez leaped at the chance to speak to the teens.

• Debut Trainer Partnership showcase draws raves

"I'm here for the kids, because I have been where they are," Jimenez, 21, said. "I know my words can encourage them and change their lives. I had so much good advice and guidance when I was their age. It's only right for me to come back here and share what I know with them, because so many people helped me along the way."

Jimenez arrived at the complex at noon on the final day of the showcase, the first event under the new Trainer Partnership Program between Major League Baseball and local trainers. He met with the 45 prospects and posed for photos. Jimenez also shook hands with trainers, MLB officials and Cubs personnel on hand scouting the event.

Jimenez, who participated in MLB showcases like the one this week before he signed with the Cubs for $2.8 million, looks back fondly on his days as an amateur. He was acquired as part of a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs in July 2017.

"I never really felt pressure, even then, because I just saw it as a competition," Jimenez said. "I just wanted to go out there and do my best and let what happened happen. I still think the same way."

Jimenez hit a combined .337 with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, 75 RBIs and a .961 OPS at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season. In 211 at-bats with the Knights, he hit .355 with a .996 OPS, 12 home runs and 33 RBIs.

Video: MLB National Showcase in the Dominican Republic

The White Sox felt it was in the club's best interest not to call up Jimenez on Sept. 1, when rosters expanded.

"It's not something I was comfortable with, because I felt I was ready and could help the team, but that's not something I could control," Jimenez said. "I'll be here all winter, and I'm going to keep working hard, getting my body ready and be ready for Spring Training."

Video: Eloy Jimenez is ranked the No. 3 prospect by MLB.com

Jimenez spent most of his time chatting up the young prospects at the showcase. He also sent a message to any White Sox fans who wonder why he is at the rival Cubs' academy.

"The White Sox fans have been so good to me," Jimenez said. "I love them, and I want them to know I'm working hard. Look at my shirt -- it's black. I'm wearing our color."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez

Kopech undergoes successful TJ surgery

White Sox prospect should be ready for Spring Training in 2020
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox announced on Wednesday that rookie right-hander Michael Kopech underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, and he is back home recovering from a successful procedure.

The operation was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Kopech is expected to make a full recovery in time to participate at Spring Training in 2020.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox announced on Wednesday that rookie right-hander Michael Kopech underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, and he is back home recovering from a successful procedure.

The operation was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Kopech is expected to make a full recovery in time to participate at Spring Training in 2020.

View Full Game Coverage

"Hopefully it will be the last time he ever has to live through something like this," manager Rick Renteria said before the middle game of the series against the Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field.

Renteria offered advice to Kopech, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 13 overall by MLB Pipeline, on what to expect over the next year and a half. Renteria told him the recovery process may at times be more of a mental grind than physical.

"Obviously it went well, and I think he understands intellectually what it's going to require of him," Renteria said. "And I'm sure that as driven as he is, he'll understand the heart it's going to take to continue to work through this.

"It's a patient process to make sure he comes through this as well as possible [and] to give himself a chance to be that guy we all believe he's gonna be once he's recovered."

Video: CWS@DET: Kopech tosses 6 strong vs. Tigers

Kopech, 22, was part of the blockbuster deal that sent left-hander Chris Sale to the Red Sox. The White Sox acquired Yoan Moncada and outfield prospect Luis Basabe in that trade in December 2016. Kopech, who was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 21, started four games in the Majors before sustaining the season-ending UCL injury on Sept. 8.

With the Sox, Kopech went 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.

"He is a guy who is very disciplined, he's a hard worker but I think we're probably gonna stay on top of him to make sure he doesn't do more than what he's supposed to," Renteria said. "Sometimes I think more is better, and that's not necessarily the case. It's guarded, it's measured, it's following a protocol of routine and work and, obviously, healing."

Worth noting
• All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu was released from a Cleveland hospital on Wednesday after he was admitted the previous day to treat an infection in his right thigh. According to Renteria, Abreu is on a "heavy dose" of antibiotics and is recuperating at the team hotel. However, Renteria also didn't rule out Abreu missing the remainder of the season.

"I'm not gonna put him in any position to feel pressured to return for the weekend [series at home against the Cubs]," Renteria said. "We're not gonna be in any rush to get him back on the field. I think the most important thing is for that thing is to maintain sterility, it's clean, and it's not putting him in any position where we could aggravate it."

• Catcher Welington Castillo is day to day with a hyperextended left elbow sustained during a swing on Sunday against the Orioles. Renteria said Castillo aggravated the elbow swinging during batting practice.

• Outfielder Nicky Delmonico was again out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, as he recovers from neck stiffness sustained on Sunday. Castillo and Delmonico both sat out Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Tribe.

"It's a long season," Renteria said. "We're not the only club who goes through a lot of aches and pains, things of that nature. We have to make sure they are able to participate in a safe fashion."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech

In My Words: Nick Madrigal

Special to MLB.com

It definitely feels nice to have a few days off after the end of Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's season. I'm hanging out in my parents' home in Elk Grove, Calif. Next week, I report to Arizona for the White Sox fall instructional league for a month. After that, my real break will happen. So I'm still not through yet.

It's been quite a summer. I was part of an Oregon State team that won the 2018 College World Series. I got drafted by the White Sox, and then I played for three different teams in the system. It's been a lot, but it's all been great.

It definitely feels nice to have a few days off after the end of Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's season. I'm hanging out in my parents' home in Elk Grove, Calif. Next week, I report to Arizona for the White Sox fall instructional league for a month. After that, my real break will happen. So I'm still not through yet.

It's been quite a summer. I was part of an Oregon State team that won the 2018 College World Series. I got drafted by the White Sox, and then I played for three different teams in the system. It's been a lot, but it's all been great.

At Oregon State, my goal from the first day I stepped on campus was to win a national championship. It felt really good to do it with that group of guys. I have some friendships on that team that will stick with me forever.

The Major League Draft occurred during the NCAA playoffs. The whole Draft process is such an unknown. I didn't know the White Sox were taking me until about five minutes before the pick came in. I feel like the Sox are the perfect fit. My mom's always said, "You want to go some place where you're wanted." It definitely seemed like the White Sox wanted me the most.

• White Sox Top 30 Prospects

Video: Hahn, Hostetler call Madrigal on Draft Day

It's really exciting to be in the organization at this time and to hopefully be part of bringing back the winning culture. I've always enjoyed being on the underdog team rather than the favorite team. If I was playing three on two in basketball, I'd rather be on the team with two guys. I've always loved that challenge in my life.

I had an idea that I would finish the year at high-A in Winston-Salem, but I wasn't sure when that would happen. It was different going from clubhouse to clubhouse and not knowing anyone. That was a little tough at first. But baseball is one of those games where you can relate to anyone, whether they speak English, Spanish or whatever. It's kind of crazy how you can relate to people through a game. I've witnessed how small the baseball world is.

As far as the competition, it really is the same game at every level. Some guys might throw harder; have a better curveball. I feel confident in my game. If someone is throwing harder, I just think about starting to swing a little bit earlier. I don't have to change my swing. The adjustment really hasn't been bad at all. I've enjoyed it.

Video: Nick Madrigal talks about being drafted to White Sox

Baseball is a game of adjustments. You learn as you go. I still have a lot to learn. Performance-wise, I felt comfortable at each level. I know there is a lot of room for improvement, but I'm happy with the way I played.

I'm looking forward to going to Arizona. I'm going to be open-minded about learning new things about the game. It's really hands on down there. I'll be excited to learn from different coaches.

After I get back from Arizona, I am going to start getting ready for next year. The weight room is going to be huge for me. I want to try to get faster.

I've never felt overmatched in baseball. With all the preparation I do during the offseason, when I step on the field, there's not a doubt in my mind about my belief in my abilities.

As told to Ed Sherman

Nick Madrigal is a second baseman in the White Sox organization.

Chicago White Sox

Kopech's injury won't delay White Sox plans

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- There have been times this season when Lucas Giolito and his White Sox teammates looked out on the field at the players around them and thought about the organization's bright future ahead.

The same held true for catcher Zack Collins during his time at Double-A Birmingham.

CHICAGO -- There have been times this season when Lucas Giolito and his White Sox teammates looked out on the field at the players around them and thought about the organization's bright future ahead.

The same held true for catcher Zack Collins during his time at Double-A Birmingham.

"Sometimes, you are sitting in the dugout or whatever," Giolito said, "and we are looking around and we are like, 'We are going to be really nasty soon.'"

"There's definitely a lot of talk about it in Minor League locker rooms," Collins said. "We kind of put our team together, what we think it's going to be. You never know from year to year."

Actually, the team never knows from week to week or day to day.

It was Aug. 21, when Michael Kopech -- the team's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 13 in all of baseball -- made his exciting Major League debut at Guaranteed Rate Field. An extra boost of energy came with the arrival of this electric talent.

Video: MIN@CWS: Kopech K's 4 in MLB debut

On Sept. 7, two days after Kopech yielded seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings with a slight drop in velocity against Detroit, general manager Rick Hahn announced a significant tear in Kopech's right ulnar collateral ligament had been found and Tommy John surgery was recommended. That procedure will sideline Kopech until Spring Training 2020.

Hahn looked shocked, understandably, with the news so fresh on that Friday. The same clearly could be said for Kopech, who was disappointed but certainly not defeated when he spoke to the media.

Some fans asserted the rebuild's growth was delayed because of Kopech's injury, as the White Sox temporarily lost their No. 2 starter and a valuable development year for the 22-year-old right-hander. But while the setback certainly changes the landscape, the rebuild plan does not waver.

Video: CWS@DET: Kopech tosses 6 strong vs. Tigers

"Part of this entire program from the start was making sure we had enough depth to withstand the inevitable setbacks that occur over the course of any Major League season," said Hahn on the day of Kopech's injury announcement. "It's disappointing because of the momentum he had built and the excitement he had created about the immediate future. But again, he's still going to be very much a part of our long-term future, and we're still very much excited about that."

Carlos Rodon presently is locked down as the staff ace, followed by Reynaldo Lopez and Giolito. It's not a huge stretch to project Dylan Cease, MLB Pipeline's 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, as part of that same rotation at some point in '19.

That configuration leaves two spots to fill early for Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and the White Sox front office. Internal options such as Dylan Covey, Spencer Adams (No. 26-ranked prospect) and/or Jordan Stephens (No. 20) will be in play, but at this stage of the rebuild, the White Sox also would benefit from going outside the organization for a pitcher to strengthen that front five.

Video: Top Prospects: Dylan Cease, White Sox, RHP

According to Cot's Contracts, the White Sox have only $10.9 million committed contractually in 2019, $4.5 million in '20 and $7.25 million in '21. Free agency is an option, targeting a veteran in the 27-31 age range who not only could help in Kopech's absence but be primed for the planned contending years.

Names such as Patrick Corbin (29 years old) or Dallas Keuchel (30) jump off that list going into 2019. The White Sox also could search for a veteran fill for a year or two, package some of their young talent in a trade for another controllable arm or stick from within.

Even with this extremely tough news, the team should survive and advance in Kopech's absence. It has players such as Giolito in place who excitedly glance into the future while gaining valuable experience in the present.

"Yes, this is going to be a challenge," Hahn said. "But in the coming weeks and months, we will respond to it and put ourselves in the best position for the long term."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech

Cease named Pipeline Pitcher of the Year

MLB.com

Dylan Cease made an indelible impression during the spring as he logged three scoreless starts for the White Sox in his first big league camp. The performance, as it would turn out, laid the groundwork for what would be the best season had by a pitching prospect in 2018.

Cease, whom the White Sox acquired with Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs for Jose Quintana two weeks ahead of the 2017 Trade Deadline, went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 124 innings in 2018, beginning the year with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and then dominating after a midseason promotion to Double-A Birmingham en route to being named MLB Pipeline's Pitcher of the Year.

Dylan Cease made an indelible impression during the spring as he logged three scoreless starts for the White Sox in his first big league camp. The performance, as it would turn out, laid the groundwork for what would be the best season had by a pitching prospect in 2018.

Cease, whom the White Sox acquired with Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs for Jose Quintana two weeks ahead of the 2017 Trade Deadline, went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 124 innings in 2018, beginning the year with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and then dominating after a midseason promotion to Double-A Birmingham en route to being named MLB Pipeline's Pitcher of the Year.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The White Sox No. 5 prospect (No. 44 overall) posted a 32.5 percent strikeout rate that was the fourth-best mark among qualified Minor League starters, and Cease also finished sixth in batting average against (.189), 12th in strikeouts (160) and tied for fourth in wins. He allowed fewer than three earned runs in 20 of his 23 starts.

Cease threw the ball particularly well after moving up to Double-A, posting a 0.94 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings over his final nine starts with the Barons before being shut down for the season Aug. 24.

Given annually to the top pitching prospect in baseball, the Pitcher of the Year award is voted on by the MLB Pipeline staff. Players must have spent at least half the season in the Minor Leagues to be considered.

• Vlad Jr. named Hitter of the Year

Cease, 22, faced stiff competition for this year's award, even from inside his own organization.

Michael Kopech (White Sox No. 2) registered a 3.70 ERA and finished sixth in the Minors with 170 strikeouts before getting the call to the Major Leagues.

MLB Pipline Hitter and Pitcher of the Year Awards

Dean Kremer (O's No. 16 prospect) had a 2.88 ERA and led the Minors with 178 strikeouts despite going from the Dodgers to Baltimore at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in the Manny Machado blockbuster.

• Mike King (Yankees' No. 24) dominated across three levels including Triple-A and finished among the Minor League leaders with a 1.79 ERA (second), a 0.91 WHIP (tied, fourth) and 161 1/3 innings pitched (sixth).

Touki Toussaint (Braves' No. 7) racked up 163 strikeouts and Josh James (Astros' No. 6) 171 as they finished fourth and ninth, respectively, among Minor League hurlers in that department.

Chris Paddack (Padres' No. 5) led the Minors with a 0.82 WHIP and compiled an absurd 120-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 90 innings across two levels.

Jesus Luzardo (A's No. 1) enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Minors, ascending from the California League to Triple-A in his first full season. The starting pitcher for the Word team in this year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game finished with a 2.88 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings.

Scouts viewed Cease as a probable first-round talent in 2014 up until the right-hander suffered an elbow injury that March. The Cubs, targeting Cease's electric fastball-curveball combo, still selected him in the sixth round, and then signed him for $1.5 million despite knowing that he'd need Tommy John surgery. Chicago managed his comeback carefully before starting to take the reins off in '17.

Watch: Cease notches K

Assigned to the Carolina League to open 2018, Cease took a loss in his season debut and at times struggled to find consistency. His second loss came on May 11, when he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in two innings for the Dash in what would be his worst start of the year. It also marked an important turning point in Cease's season.

Over his next six starts for the Dash, Cease went 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA and a .160 opponents' average en route to a promotion to Birmingham on June 21.

Cease's Double-A debut, in which he allowed five earned runs on seven hits, was the only blemish during his 10 starts in the Southern League. He went on to record five scoreless starts in his final nine turns, and, at one point, tossed 24 consecutive scoreless frames (July 20 to Aug. 10). Cease's best start of the season came on July 25, when Cease carried no-hit bid for 6 2/3 innings and matched his career high with 12 strikeouts.

Watch: Cease strikes out 12th batter of game

Cease's 13.4 strikeouts-per-nine with the Barons was his best mark at any stop in his career, and the same goes for his 38.6 percent strikeout rate. He also generated swinging strikes at a 16 percent clip. For context, only Chris Sale (leader-15.9 percent), Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Jacob deGrom have missed bats at a 15-percent-or-better clip in 2018.

Cease paired that uptick in whiffs with a 50 percent ground-ball rate -- a shade above his season average of 49 percent -- and did so while holding opposing hitters to a paltry .168/.257/.251 line.

Overall, Cease was equally effective against right-handed (.192/.289/.280) and left-handed (.185/.259/.272) hitters across two levels in 2018.

Behind an explosive fastball that sits in the upper 90s and reaches 100 mph, a sharp knee-buckling curveball and an improving changeup, Cease has firmly established himself as one of the Minor League's premier strikeout artists.

Watch: Cease ends start with a bang

Across his first four seasons, the right-hander has totaled 377 strikeouts in 286 innings while sporting a 2.67 ERA. And while command does leave something to be desired, it's worth noting that Cease did make gains with his control in 2018, issuing 3.6 walks-per-nine after posting a 4.2 mark at the Class A level in 2017.

Scouts expect that Cease will make further improvements as a strike-thrower as he continues to refine his delivery, which, at times, he struggles to repeat, thus detracting from his control and command. Meanwhile, adding more strength to his somewhat undersized frame should help to assuage any lingering concerns about Cease's durability.

With Kopech now in the Majors Leagues headlining a young up-and-coming White Sox rotation, it's only fair to wonder when Cease might arrive. While he still has boxes to check in his development, such as building up a larger workload and refining his changeup, Cease showed during his breakout campaign that he has all the ingredients needs to make an impact at the highest level.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Chicago White Sox

Hostetler: Winning now helps in the long run

Garcia nearing return; Fulmer stays in mix; Jones gets nod for Winston-Salem
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox entered Wednesday's series finale against Detroit with 14 victories in their past 21 games and 19 wins in their past 32.

That uplifting run also has dropped the team from a solid No. 3 in the 2019 Draft order to a tie with Detroit for No. 5 and just three games ahead of the Reds. It's a positive tradeoff with so many key young players at the Chicago rebuild core contributing to the victories.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- The White Sox entered Wednesday's series finale against Detroit with 14 victories in their past 21 games and 19 wins in their past 32.

That uplifting run also has dropped the team from a solid No. 3 in the 2019 Draft order to a tie with Detroit for No. 5 and just three games ahead of the Reds. It's a positive tradeoff with so many key young players at the Chicago rebuild core contributing to the victories.

View Full Game Coverage

"For what we do and as far as our process, how we do it, it's not going to matter for us," said Chicago director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler, who runs the White Sox draft. "This is the god's honest truth with me, I'm so emotionally invested with the Tim Andersons and the Adam Engels and the Nicky Delmonicos and the Michael Kopechs and the Lucas Giolitos that I don't have it in myself to want us to lose.

"I'm too competitive. For me it's far more important for these guys to develop and get a taste of winning, and the effort our coaching staff is putting in has been terrific. The more these guys win, it's going to ultimately help us in the long run."

Hostetler pointed out a few of the important factors during this second-half streak. Anderson's defense has become a steadying force up the middle. Despite having a Major League high 190 strikeouts, Yoan Moncada has reached base in 15 consecutive games.

Lucas Giolito has made five quality starts in his past seven trips to the mound. Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 Draft, looks like an ace. Young relievers such as Ian Hamilton, Caleb Frare and Jose Ruiz are getting a chance in high-leverage situations and Michael Kopech, the No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, is showing his pitchability as much as his electric raw stuff.

Having greater pool money from drafting higher allows the White Sox to make moves such as signing Bryce Bush out of the 33rd round, as they did this year. But Hostetler has no problem looking at the bigger picture.

"We want a ring on our finger. The Draft position is irrelevant," Hostetler said. "If that means we are picking eighth instead of third, then so be it if that helps the development move along and help get us a ring."

Garcia could return soon
Avisail Garcia has not played since leaving Saturday's game with right knee soreness. But White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Garcia is doing better.

Video: BOS@CWS: Garcia taken out with knee soreness

"He's been reevaluated. Obviously, he can't injure it any more or damage it anymore," Renteria said. "It's just a matter of him being able to manage maybe some of the discomfort that comes with his knee."

There's no plan to shut down Garcia, who has followed up an All-Star campaign of '17 with an injury-riddled '18 featuring a .236 average, 15 home runs and 38 RBIs.

"I know he wants to be out there every day so I'm sure there's some disappointment to it," Renteria said. "But the other side of it is he's continued to push and to try to get in there regardless of how he's been feeling, which shows a lot of character and a lot of heart for a young man."

Fulmer stays in the mix
Carson Fulmer did not receive a September callup in his new role as a reliever, but it doesn't mean he's off the White Sox future radar.

"We all think Carson has a chance to make a real impact at the big league level from a bullpen, and perhaps in the not-too-distant future," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "But it takes some adjustment, and there were some growing pains for him when he first switched to that role in [Triple-A] Charlotte.

"I'd say though, in the last several outings you're starting to see it click a little bit more. We're by no means ruling him out as playing a role on a championship club in the future."

Video: CWS@KC: Fulmer dominates Royals over 7 innings

Fulmer posted a 4.37 ERA in 16 relief appearances for Charlotte against a 5.80 ERA over nine starts. He finished with an 8.07 ERA in nine games (eight starts), for the White Sox.

Over his past four appearances, Fulmer allowed two runs over 8 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

Third to first
Nate Jones started for Class A Winston-Salem in Game 1 of the Carolina League Southern Division Championship Series. Jones is beginning a rehab assignment for a strained pronator muscle sidelining him since June 12.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox

Sox have no plans to call up Jimenez in '18

Outfielder was great offensively in Minors, needs work on overall game
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox will make one more September callup prior to Tuesday's game with the Tigers. But that callup will be right-handed reliever Jose Ruiz from Double-A Birmingham and not outfielder Eloy Jimenez.

General manager Rick Hahn went into detail on the decision not to add the No. 1 White Sox prospect and No. 3 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline during a 20-minute media session prior to Monday afternoon's series opener with the Tigers.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- The White Sox will make one more September callup prior to Tuesday's game with the Tigers. But that callup will be right-handed reliever Jose Ruiz from Double-A Birmingham and not outfielder Eloy Jimenez.

General manager Rick Hahn went into detail on the decision not to add the No. 1 White Sox prospect and No. 3 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline during a 20-minute media session prior to Monday afternoon's series opener with the Tigers.

View Full Game Coverage

"At this point we don't feel it makes sense for Eloy, at age 21, to make an appearance at a third level this season," said Hahn of Jimenez, who has excelled for Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte during the 2018 season. "From a player development standpoint, we view him as continuing to improve. He has had a very good season offensively. In our opinion, it's in everyone's best interest for him to continue to develop into a well-rounded impactful player that we project him to be.

"One thing that I hope does not get lost in this is how excited we are about his future and how big a part he is of our future. Eloy understands that. He has heard it from me and from others. His agents have heard it from me. He's very well positioned to make a significant impact at the big league level at age 22 next year, which is a fantastic path for any essential impact player to be on."

Jimenez, who did not start in Charlotte's season finale Monday at Gwinnett, batted .337 with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, 75 RBIs and a .961 OPS between his two stops. He posted a .355 average, .996 OPS, 12 homers and 33 RBIs over 211 at-bats with the Knights.

But Hahn once again stressed the patience factor in terms of player development within the rebuild. He has talked before about giving every player who arrives in the Majors the best chance to stay and excel in the Majors.

With Michael Kopech, the No. 2 White Sox prospect who has made three starts for the team, it was about developing his secondary stuff beyond the electric fastball. With Jimenez, Hahn pointed toward overall improvement in his game.

"We're not looking to develop a 21-year-old DH. Offensively, he's in a very good spot, but we view him much higher," Hahn said. "Just as we didn't view Michael as a bullpen guy, we viewed him as a potential front-end starter. We view Eloy as a potentially elite all-around player, and although offensively he might be in a real good spot -- he's had a very good year offensively -- we're looking to develop him as a well-rounded, impact player."

Hahn termed Jimenez's recent entry in the Players Tribune as a "fantastic article," exposing fans to what makes Jimenez tick, his enthusiasm for the city and his passion and desire for winning multiple championships. He also wasn't bothered by Jimenez's proclamation of being ready for Chicago.

"We've been hearing that from him since [Class] A ball. So that's fine," said Hahn with a smile. "We much prefer our players to feel like they are ready, and they want to accelerate the time frame we have them on.

"[White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] puts it best when he said we would rather tame a bronco than prod a mule. We might have a thoroughbred on our hands here, but we are going to still develop him on a path that we feel makes the most sense."

As far as service time being an issue, Hahn said the team's record speaks for itself in promoting potential impact players when they are ready. Hahn added they would keep an open mind for Jimenez, who plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic once again, making the team out of Spring Training in 2019.

"You saw it the middle of last year with [Yoan Moncada] and [Reynaldo Lopez], you saw it last September with [Lucas Giolito], you saw it a few weeks ago with Kopech," Hahn said. "Our track record's pretty clear on this: When we feel a player is developmentally ready to fulfill, or put in the best position to fulfill and meet their ceiling, we will advance them to the next level.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez

Kopech again limited only by rain vs. Red Sox

Top prospect sees second home start end prematurely due to weather
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- When it comes to Michael Kopech's starts at Guaranteed Rate Field, things can only get dryer during the month of September.

Kopech, the White Sox No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career home start in Friday's 6-1 victory over the Red Sox. And for the second time, his mound effort was cut short by rain.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- When it comes to Michael Kopech's starts at Guaranteed Rate Field, things can only get dryer during the month of September.

Kopech, the White Sox No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career home start in Friday's 6-1 victory over the Red Sox. And for the second time, his mound effort was cut short by rain.

View Full Game Coverage

This start had a little extra meaning as Kopech faced the Red Sox, who drafted him 33rd overall in 2014 and then traded him with Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz to the White Sox for American League Cy Young favorite Chris Sale on Dec. 6, 2016. Kopech pitched three scoreless innings on 36 pitches, striking out one, walking one and hitting Mookie Betts with his first pitch.

But torrential rain forced a delay of 2 hours, 9 minutes, leading Dylan Covey to take the mound when the teams returned to the field at 10:05 p.m. CT. Kopech lasted two innings in his Major League debut Aug. 21 against the Twins before the rains came.

"I'm going to say a little prayer to Mother Nature and see if we can figure things out," said a smiling Kopech, who next pitches Wednesday night at home. "I had no idea. I even checked the weather before my start today because I didn't want it to go like last time. Unfortunately, I guess the weather app wasn't on the same page. It came pretty quick there."

Nerves got the best of Kopech at the outset against his old team, as he threw seven of his first eight pitches out of the zone and walked Andrew Benintendi on four pitches after hitting Betts. But with runners on first and second and J.D. Martinez at the plate, Kopech stepped off the mound and caught Betts trying to steal third. He seemed to find his rhythm after that play.

Video: BOS@CWS: Kopech nabs Betts leaving early at 2nd

"I know Mookie's a good baserunner, and I knew he was probably going to be a little antsy out there, especially with me being young and kind of a nervous guy," Kopech said. "I decided to hold a little bit longer and figured it was coming eventually. I heard 'em yell for me, I stepped off and he was a little quicker than I thought. About let him get back."

"He's able to use his stuff," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Kopech's early ability to escape jams. "He's commanding, he's executing, hopefully hitting his spots. He's got a lot of life to his fastball, so he's able to do some things."

Even before Kopech went to work Friday, you could count Sale, who is currently on the disabled list, as one of the interested parties in his start. Sale has faced his former White Sox team on two occasions.

"I said a couple of times today: I'm excited to see Kopech pitch," said Sale before Friday's game. "I know he's got a live arm. I heard some stories from the guys over there, and he's pitching against his old team, so it should be fun to watch."

Moncada's homer off Nathan Eovaldi completed a three-run first inning against his old team. It was Moncada's 17th and gave the switch-hitter 55 RBIs. Covey earned the win in relief, hurling 3-plus scoreless innings while striking out three and walking one. For the season, Covey has worked 9-plus scoreless frames against the best team in baseball.

Video: BOS@CWS: Moncada smahses 2-run homer to left

This victory improved the White Sox to 6-2 in their past eight games and 17-11 in their past 28.

"We're all pulling in the same direction, and it's a lot of fun to be a part of right now," said Kopech, who has allowed just one run in 11 big league innings to date. "Since I've been here, we've been a winning team, and hopefully it stays that way for a long time."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Adding on: Matt Davidson turned a close game into a comfortable victory with a three-run home run in the seventh. The 19th homer for Davidson came off Tyler Thornburg and came with two outs on a 2-2 pitch.

Video: BOS@CWS: Davidson unloads a 3-run home run to left

SOUND SMART
Yolmer Sanchez has reached base in a career-high 19 consecutive games.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ian Hamilton, the No. 16 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, didn't think he would be active until rosters expanded on Saturday. But when his plane landed on Friday, the right-hander got the word to come to the ballpark and be ready to pitch. He threw a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory, needing only six pitches to do it.

"It still hasn't set in yet. Just kind of riding it right now," Hamilton said. "It just happened so fast. I didn't have a chance to think about it. It's still going. It's just crazy. It still hasn't set in."

Hamilton arrived at the ballpark around 5 p.m. CT. He had a chance to relax and stretch out a bit during the long rain delay. Prior to the game, Hamilton had 50 text messages after taking an active roster spot following Xavier Cedeno's trade to Milwaukee. He figured that number doubled postgame.

Video: BOS@CWS: Hamilton pitches scoreless inning in debut

"Very nice finish for him," Renteria said. "As you can see, he's got some pretty good stuff. It's one of those things where he's under the lights at the Major League level. Looks like he was trusting himself. Didn't look like he lacks confidence and did what he does."

HE SAID IT
"It was a good run for me. I know eventually I'm going to walk hitters. I'm not a guy that paints like some guys do. But to be able to stay in the zone or around the zone for the most part the past month or so means a lot. Keeping free bases unoccupied, that's big."--Kopech, on his walkless streak ending at 32 consecutive innings, dating back to July 31 with Triple-A Charlotte, with his first-inning free pass to Benintendi

UP NEXT
Left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-3, 2.70 ERA) is scheduled to make his 15th start of the season, seventh at home and second vs. the Red Sox in a 6:10 p.m. CT first pitch Saturday. Eduardo Rodriguez (11-3, 3.44) takes the mound for the Red Sox. Rodon's nine consecutive quality starts are the longest by a White Sox pitcher since he made 10 straight from Aug. 11, 2015-April 13, 2016. Rodon is 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA, .151 opponent's average, 0.93 WHIP, 49 strikeouts and just four homers allowed over his past nine starts.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech