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Eloy Jimenez Looks Like A Perennial All-Star



BEST PLAYER

Joining the White Sox on Aug. 22, reliever Ryan Burr was asked about outfielder Eloy Jimenez, his teammate at Triple-A Charlotte for nearly a month.

"Eloy is amazing,” Burr said. "We call him Baby Ruth for a reason. He’s the next coming of Babe Ruth, what we see every day.”

That's high praise for the 21-year-old Jimenez, but he has shown he's a special talent this season.

After tearing up the Southern League at Double-A Birmingham—Jimenez batted .317/.368/.556 with 10 home runs in 53 games—he continued raking with .355/.399/.597 with 12 homers in 55 games with Charlotte.

While his defensive skills and speed are not nearly as good as his offensive game, Jimenez looks like he's going to be a perennial all-star for Chicago.

BEST PITCHER

Earlier this season, righthander Michael Kopech was veering closer to Double-A Birmingham than the major leagues.

From early May through early July, the prized pitching prospect went 3-6, 5.69 with 47 walks in 55.1 innings at Triple-A Charlotte. Then, Kopech turned it around and went 4-0, 1.84 ERA over seven starts while walking four and striking out 59.

That earned the 22-year-old Kopech a call to Chicago, and he struck out four over two scoreless innings in an Aug. 21 game against the Twins. A rain delay abbreviated his major league debut, but he navigated six innings, allowing one run and no walks, in his second start.

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Not Getting Their Due: 26 Players Who Could Have Been First-Time All-Stars

The list includes 13 former Top 100 Prospects who could have been first-time all-stars in 2020 had there been no pandemic.

KEEP AN EYE ON

A standout at Miami's Columbus High, shortstop Laz Rivera's arrow was still pointing up when he stayed home and played for the Hurricanes as a freshman.

The direction started turning downward the following year when Rivera transferred to Chipola (Fla.) JC, and he played his junior season at Division II Tampa in 2017 before Chicago drafted him in the 28th round.

Beginning his pro career with low expectation, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Cuba native opened eyes in the Rookie-level Arizona League by batting .296 with two home runs in 47 games.

Rivera has put himself on Chicago's radar this season. In 124 games at low Class A Kannapolis and high Class A Winston-Salem he hit .314/.361/.481 with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases.

"He has solid bat-to-ball skills and some sneaky pop,” farm director Chris Getz said. "Nothing jumps out at you other than he has a really strong understanding of how to play the game and maximize his skill set. We continue to challenge him and he continues to answer the bell.”

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