Jimenez makes good first impression on Dash

After being traded, No. 2 White Sox prospect plates go-ahead run

Eloy Jimenez has averaged a home run every 20 at-bats this season. (Winston-Salem Dash)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | July 14, 2017 1:31 AM

At the Major League level, Thursday's blockbuster deal sent Jose Quintana across town from the South Side of Chicago to the North Side.

In the Minors, it sent MLB.com's No. 8 overall prospect, Eloy Jimenez, across the hallway.

Jimenez, along with Bryant Flete and Matt Rose, had spent more than half the season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, but when they were traded as part of a package that also included baseball's No. 63 prospect Dylan Cease from the Cubs to the White Sox, it meant suiting up for the Winston-Salem Dash, who just happened to be playing the Pelicans on Thursday.

"When the trade went down and they passed their physicals, they pretty much just switched locker rooms," Winston-Salem manager Willie Harris said. "We just welcomed them with open arms. As an organization, we're excited to have all three of them with us right now so we can make a push down the stretch."

Gameday box score

Jimenez got the last laugh against his old teammates as the newly minted White Sox No. 2 prospect gave the Dash the lead by singling in two runs in the third inning as Winston-Salem outlasted Myrtle Beach, 3-2. 

"What I saw from Jimenez before the trade was that he does everything the right way," Harris said. "He hustles and he has a good understanding of the game. We're just excited to have him. He's got a ton of hype around him and he makes our lineup a lot better.

"You have to understand that this game is all about making the Major League team better and today, I think we've done that. [White Sox GM] Rick Hahn did a great job and we're looking forward to getting these guys ready to play on the South Side of Chicago instead of the North Side."

Video: Dash's Jimenez gets first hit

Despite the circumstances of the trade, Harris was impressed with how his three new players took the news in stride. 

"I don't know if it was a shock to them," he said. "I asked them if they were excited and how they felt about being traded. Each of them pretty much just said they're excited to play baseball. I explained to them that they are in a great organization with a great chance to get to the Major Leagues and that's the ultimate goal."

Following a popout in his first at-bat, Jimenez worked the count full in his next trip before lining a single into right field to give his new team a 3-1 lead.  

MiLB include

Jimenez, who went viral with a with a Roy Hobbs-esque shot at the Carolina League Home Run Derby last month, posted an .841 OPS with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 42 games before the trade. Even though a hamstring injury forced the 20-year-old to miss the first six weeks of the season, the native of the Dominican Republic still impressed enough to land himself a spot at the MLB All-Star Futures Game for the second consecutive year. 

"I just want to see the kid hit," Harris said of Jimenez. "I saw him take batting practice today and it was absolutely amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing him get going and seeing what he's capable of doing on the field. We'll let him get his at-bats before we start working with him. Obviously, he's a guy that's highly touted. We know what he can do and that he's a top-10 baseball prospect, but as a manager and coaches, we just need to put him situations to succeed and let him know we have his back at all times."

Video: Winston-Salem's Flete collects first hit

Flete introduced himself to the Dash by beating out an infield single to short to begin the game. The second baseman went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run in his debut. Flete has enjoyed a breakout campaign this year. In 71 games, the 24-year-old Venezuela native has produced a .306/.356/.484 slash line with six homers and 37 RBIs.  

"We have a legitimate leadoff hitter in Bryant," Harris said. "We're going to let him go out and play his game and not bring any extra pressure. We'll let him go out and play his game and be himself so he can do the things that put him in the situation that allowed him to be traded to our organization."

Rose manned the hot corner and went 0-for-4 in his first Winston-Salem game.

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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