Kopech, Jimenez to get feel for the bigs

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Michael Kopech of the White Sox and the U.S. Team pitches in the iAll-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9. (Gettty Images)

The Sox are bringing outfielder Eloy Jimenez, their No.2-ranked prospect behind Yoan Moncada, and Michael Kopech, their No. 3, to Chicago Tuesday and Wednesday to rub elbows with the team and have some face time with media.

“See the place where hopefully they’ll be in the near future,” manager Rick Renteria said. “See a lot of the guys who might be their teammates. Give them a sense of what we’re going to be about, what it’s about in here in the clubhouse. Talk to the guys. Kind of get comfortable.”

The Sox have the No. 1-ranked farm system in baseball according to MLB.com with eight of the top 100 prospects, tied with the Braves for the most.

At Class AA Birmingham, Kopech was the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher who made three starts at Class AAA Charlotte to cap off his season. Jimenez batted .312 with 19 homers, 65 RBI and a .948 OPS between Class A and AA.

Kopech came with Moncada in the Chris Sale trade with the Red Sox, Jimenez in the Jose Quintana deal with the Cubs.

A ‘lito confidence goes a long way

Lucas Giolito has had one so-so start and two very good ones, including a 10-strikeout performance Sunday against the Rays, since getting called up from Class AAA Charlotte. The 6-6 right-hander, who figures to hold down a spot in the rotation next season, is the first Sox pitcher since Chris Sale in 2012 to record 10 Ks within his first three starts.

“He’s cleaned up his delivery quite a bit,” Renteria said. “He’s also gained a lot of confidence in the transformation from what we saw in the spring to the work they did with him in Triple-A and coming up here and transitioning his last few starts.”

Giolito, a highly regarded prospect who came in the Adam Eaton trade, walked 4.1 hitters per nine innings at Charlotte but has limited his walks to four over 20 innings with the Sox, an encouraging sign. He was 6-10 with a 4.48 ERA at Charlotte.

“I think his mound presence is excellent,” Renteria said. “His tempo is very good. He gets back out on the rubber, gets the sign and continues to go. The game with him really flows. That has a tendency to keep your fielders obviously on their toes because you have somebody working at a really good clip. By the same token, it represents his confidence of what he’s going to be able to do from pitch to pitch. It’s been nice to see. We are very happy for him.”

A Dunning deal

The Sox also landed Reynaldo Lopez and Nats’ 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning in the Eaton trade, and none of the three right-handers have disappointed.

At Class A Winston-Salem, Dunning earned the win in his final start, allowing one hit with nine strikeouts in a seven-inning shutout at Salem. He retired the final 13 batters he faced, brought his 2017 strikeout total to 168 (11th in the minor leagues) and finished his first season in the Sox system going 8-8 witha2.94ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

This and that

Yoan Moncada (shin) and Nicky Delmonico (wrist) are close to returning to action, although Renteria said a cautious approach is being taken with both.

*Renteria confirmed that left-hander David Holmberg will start against the Indians Tuesday.

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