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Michael Kopech Is Only One Step Away



Best player: OF Eloy Jimenez

Acquired from the rival Cubs in a July 13 trade, the 20-year-old Jimenez is not lacking confidence.

"I want to be the best player on the field every time I go out," Jimenez said. "That's why I'm working hard. I don't want to be just another player. I want to be the best player."

Jimenez backed up those strong words with his play this season. After the trade, he played in 29 games with high Class A Winston-Salem and hit .345/.410/.682 with eight homers. That earned him a promotion to Double-A Birmingham, where he slashed .353/.397/.559 with three homers in 18 games to close the season.

"I think his skill set is evident," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Every level brings its own challenges—even coming to the big leagues will bring its own challenges. But I think if he continues to maintain the consistency in which he's going about doing what he's doing, there's no reason why he's not going to continue to want to push that door open as soon as possible." Best pitcher: RHP Michael Kopech

The hard-throwing starter was at Guaranteed Rate Field in early September, but he was only visiting Chicago. The way Kopech is progressing, he should be with the White Sox for good at some point in 2018.

"I feel like I'm one step away," Kopech said. "I'm in Triple-A. Whenever they want to put me (in the big leagues), they'll put me there. Meanwhile, I'm going to do everything I can to get there."

Acquired from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade last December, Kopech went 8-7, 2.87 in 22 starts with Birmingham. The 21-year-old righthander also struck out 155 in 119.1 innings and was voted Southern League pitcher of the year.

Keep an eye on: OF Micker Adolfo

Signed out of the Dominican Republic when he was 16 years old, Adolfo came of age this season. The 21-year-old outfielder batted .264/.331/.453 at low Class A Kannapolis and ranked fifth in the South Atlantic League with 16 home runs and eighth with 68 RBI.

Adolfo credits experience and a new approach for his big season.

Eloy And Robert Brace Hemmelgarn Minnesota Twins Getty Images

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