Jimenez, Tilson on different paths to Majors

White Sox No. 1, No. 19 prospects progressing toward same goal

Jimenez, Tilson on different paths to Majors

CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez and Charlie Tilson possess the same Major League goal with the White Sox for the 2018 season.

But their journeys will be slightly different.

Jimenez, who turns 21 on Nov. 27, ranks as the No. 1 White Sox prospect and Major League Baseball's No. 4 overall prospect, per MLBPipeline.com. The soon-to-be 25-year-old Tilson, who singled in his first big league at-bat on Aug. 2, has battled injuries since tearing his left hamstring while chasing a fly ball later that same night at Comerica Park and undergoing season-ending surgery. Tilson is the White Sox No. 19 prospect.

Both young outfielders continue working during the offseason, with Jimenez putting up impressive statistics for Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League. Tilson's return to the Arizona Fall League, despite an 0-for-14 start with three walks for Glendale, rates as a bit more uplifting than Jimenez's consistent connections.

Tito Polo was removed from Glendale's roster after having a tooth pulled and an ensuing infection that would have cost him five or six days. Polo's departure opened the spot for Tilson, who missed the '17 campaign due to a stress reaction in his right foot sustained at Spring Training's outset and later a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right ankle.

According to White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, Tilson was pleased to return to action this fall.

"He was excited to be able to get at-bats in instructional league," Getz said. "And to get more competitive at-bats in the AFL, it was kind of an emotional thing because of what he has been through.

"You feel for a kid that's been battling all year and he's had some setbacks. Charlie has a great work ethic, tremendous attitude. But to have those setbacks and to have all these aspirations and physically, his body just wasn't allowing him to help reach those. So, it was almost like a relief for him when this opportunity came."

In 49 at-bats over 13 games for Gigantes, Jimenez has a .367 average with three home runs, five doubles and 15 RBIs. Getz lists the Dominican competition as the best of the Winter Leagues, adding more experienced players will arrive later in winter ball.

Sox prospects on the future

"However, he's still facing pretty good competition," Getz said of Jimenez. "Are we surprised? You know, not really. This guy since he has become a White Sox has done nothing but produce and perform."

Along with his high level of production, Jimenez has elevated expectations of reaching the Majors in '18. The White Sox support Jimenez's lofty vision, even with a mere 68 career at-bats at the Double-A level or above.

"Absolutely," Getz said. "He's made it no secret that he wants to be the best. It's exactly what you want to hear out of your players. You want guys who want to get to the big leagues, they want to stay there and they want to be really, really good. He certainly is one of those guys.

"In terms of a timetable, he's continuing to hit in winter ball. We expect him to obviously perform next year because he's shown he can handle Double-A, so we'll just get him going in Spring Training and see where it goes from there."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.