In a rather disappointing press conference Monday afternoon, Rick Hahn announced officially that White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez will not be called up to the majors this season, effectively ending his 2018 season. Jimenez hit a combined .337/.384/.577 between Double- and Triple-A this season with his Charlotte numbers being even better (.355/.399/.597). His power numbers are up and his strikeouts are down. He basically had the exact season you would have dreamed he’d have, minus some time off for an injury here and there.
So why isn’t he finishing out the season with a well-earned trip to Chicago just as the summer heat starts to finally and mercifully break?
Hahn said Jiménez needs to improve his defense: “We’re not trying to develop a 21 year old DH”
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) September 3, 2018
While it’s nice to finally learn officially what box remained unchecked, it’s pretty disheartening to see defense being the cited reason. Hitting can be quantified. You can say “he needs to strike out less” and then people can look at the numbers and go “done”. Defense is subjective. Defense is nebulous. Defense is the same in Double-A and the majors. A corner outfield is a corner outfield and the best way to get better at defense, at least in my admittedly non-professional baseball man eyes, would seem to be getting more reps and playing more games. Which is pretty hard to do when your parent club ends your season a month earlier than it should.
Photo credit: Butch Dill- USA Today