CLEVELAND — Eloy Jimenez isn’t a big-leaguer yet, but he’s getting closer.
A number of White Sox prospects will be able to say they’re closer, too, when director of player development Chris Getz publicizes farm-system promotions Thursday in the aftermath of Class AA and A all-star games Wednesday, which include 18 Sox prospects.
Not all will be promoted, but Jimenez, who has been tearing it up for Class AA Birmingham, is expected to advance to Class AAA Charlotte. Catcher Seby Zavala is also a good bet, and it would seem to make sense for right-hander Dylan Cease (9-2, 2.89 ERA, 82 strikeouts in 71‰ innings at Class A Winston-Salem) to get bumped up to Birmingham along with outfielder Luis Basabe, who came to the organization from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade. Cease and Jimenez were acquired from the Cubs for Jose Quintana.
“Yes, there will be many [promotions],’’ general manager Rick Hahn, who is with the team in Cleveland, said Monday.
The Southern League all-stars from Birmingham are Jimenez, Zavala, catcher Zack Collins, right-handers Ian Hamilton and Jose Ruiz and infielder Danny Mendick; the Carolina League all-stars from high A Winston-Salem are Cease, Basabe, outfielder Joel Booker, right-hander Matt Foster and left-hander Bernardo Flores; the South Atlantic League all-stars from low A Kannapolis are second baseman Tate Blackman, shortstop Laz Rivera, outfielders Luis Gonzalez and Craig Dedelow and right-handers Tyler Johnson, Blake Battenfield and Jake Elliott.
“It’s a half-season accolade, but it’s one that shows there’s talent down there that’s performing up to expectations and getting recognized by others in the league,’’ Hahn said. “It’s definitely a nice shot in the arm for these kids who have been busting it out down there.’’
Jimenez, 21, is batting .317/.368/.556 with 10 home runs, 15 doubles and 42 RBI in 53 games.
“He has had a marvelous first half down there,’’ Hahn said. “It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that he’s the youngest player on our [AA] roster, so he’s probably among the youngest in the entire league, yet he’s still producing at an elite level down there.’’
A “perfectly acceptable” plan for Jimenez going into spring training would have had him playing the entire season with Birmingham, Hahn said, but, as he often says, “the good ones have a way of forcing the plan on you.’’
While not considered an elite defender, Jimenez is being targeted to play both corner outfield positions in the majors, Hahn said. When he makes his major-league debut is a hot topic of speculation, but it’s reasonable to believe Jimenez will get promoted to the Sox before the season is over.
This and that
Avisail Garcia will play a full nine innings in consecutive games in his minor-league rehab for the first time Tuesday and Wednesday for Charlotte. Hahn said “somewhere in the vicinity of the weekend” would be the right time to expect Garcia, who has not played since April 23, to rejoin the team.
u Outfielder Nicky Delmonico (broken right hand) is throwing and swinging a fungo bat and hopes to resume normal hitting in a few days. Delmonico had the cast removed Friday.
u Center fielder Luis Robert, batting .289/.360/.400 with no home runs, three doubles and a triple in his first 13 games at Kannapolis, is 5-for-8 with two walks, three stolen bases and three runs scored in his last three games. Robert, 20, is the No. 24 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.