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That’s a beautiful sentence for reasons that should be obvious to everybody following the Birmingham Barons, but mainly because it’s a big-time baggage drop. Jimenez represents the purest optimism for the White Sox rebuild, while Hawkins was the bleakest manifestation of the team’s old way of doing things.
Hawkins, the 13th overall pick in the 2012 draft, saw his career derailed by a disastrous year in Winston-Salem in 2013, and he never recovered. The failure had three root causes:
- A too-aggressive assignment.
- Poor health.
- Maybe he just wasn’t that good.
The White Sox shouldn’t have started him in Winston-Salem at age 19 despite encouraging returns from his first pro season, and they should’ve definitely demoted him at some point during a season where he hit .178/.249/.384. Their stubbornness didn’t pay out, because Hawkins never developed adequate pitch recognition.
Maybe he wouldn’t have anyway, whether because of all the ways his body betrayed him (foot, thumb, shoulder, oblique, thyroid) or just because he wouldn’t have been able to find a way to adjust.
At any rate, a lot has changed with the Sox since that draft. They have an Arizona Rookie League affiliate that’s more conducive for introducing raw talent, and the rebuild makes it easier to resist the pressure to force flawed prospects into rigid timetables.
They’ve also overcorrected in their drafting. Instead of preferring athletes in need of polish, they’ve leaned heavily on collegiate prospects with polished approach and limited athleticism. Zack Collins and Jake Burger have a much better sense of the strike zone, but they’re also going to have to work to stick at positions other than first base. That’s left them to trade for the upside (Jimenez, Blake Rutherford) or sign it for now-illegal amounts (Luis Robert).
Hopefully Tim Anderson can solidify his presence at shortstop and show Sox fans why “toolsy,” “athletic” and “raw” aren’t dirty words. There’s a certain subsection of fans who can’t help but pick at their scabs, but not having Hawkins around should help get past this. Jimenez hitting the ground hitting will do even more.
- Charlie Tilson went 2-for-5 with a double.
- Daniel Palka singled, walked and struck out thrice.
- Casey Gillaspie went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Eddy Alvarez had a successful 2018 debut: 2-for-2, double, walk, sac fly and three runs scored.
- Thyago Vieira: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
- Jameson Fisher went 0-for-3 with an HBP and two strikeouts.
- Zack Collins was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Seby Zavala went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
- Trey Michalczewski singled, struck out twice, got plunked and stole a base.
- Jordan Stephens had peripherals in his favor: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR
*The Barons committed four errors, and Stephens’ brother wasn’t having it:
If only the defensive miscues would show up on stat line https://t.co/bZ76cjuafu
— Jacob Stephens (@jstephens2482) April 18, 2018
- Joel Booker was 1-for-6 with a double and three strikeouts.
- Alex Call went 2-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Blake Rutherford, 3-for-5 with three doubles, a walk and a strikeout.
- Micker Adolfo was 3-for-6 with a double and two strikeouts.
- Gavin Sheets, 1-for-5 with a walk.
- Yeyson Yrizarri went 2-for-3 with a double, walk, HBP and a sac fly.
- Dylan Cease: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR on 90 pitches.
- Luis Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
- Justin Yurchak was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Evan Skoug wore the collar and silver sombrero.
- Carlos Perez went 0-for-3.