White Sox: Prospect Profiles – Eloy Jimenez
White Sox top-ranked prospect Eloy Jimenez is standing right on top of the line between the minor and major leagues. With minor adjustments on his defensive game, Jimenez has the chance to be the next MLB superstar.
When it was announced the White Sox agreed to trade José Quintana to the Cubs, not too many Sox fans were excited. Their thoughts on the trade quickly changed when they saw the name Eloy Jimenez in the trade summary.
Ever since Jimenez started his career in 2013, it was clear he was going to be something special. He had a rough rookie year batting only .227 with an OBP of .268 in 42 games, but he quickly changed his game around. In Low-A ball in 2015, Jimenez hit .284/.328/.418. Since his awful rookie performance, Jimenez has not ended a season batting less than .280. It is no wonder he has worked his way up to the third overall prospect in the MLB Top 100.
On the 20/80 scale, his speed and fielding are the only aspects of his game that needs improvement in. In five seasons of minor league baseball, Jimenez has recorded a mere 15 stolen bases. In those same five seasons, Jimenez has committed 13 errors in both left and right field. He has a fielding percentage of .979. His defensive performances left the Cubs to fear he will turn into Kyle Schwarber 2.0: a great bat but a sub-par glove.
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But this is not to drag down his stock, but displaying he has three of the five tools. Which is still a solid player. The team is not too worried about his speed with the likes of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and potentially Adam Engel to provide the fire on the bases. But in Jimenez standards, his defense will have to improve.
Fortunately, it has.
Ryan Newman, Double-A Birmingham’s manager believes Jimenez’s arm is a long better than what he believes it is according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Newman told Van Schouwen that Jimenez has no plans to sit back and be the White Sox’s designated hitter. He wants to contribute in the outfield as well. He commended Jimenez’s work ethic and strive to want to get better defensively.
Ending his 2018 at Triple-A Charlotte hitting .355/.399/.597 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in 55 games, it is clear Jimenez belongs in the Majors. However, his sub-par defensive numbers were on General Manager Rick Hahn’s mind when debating whether or not to call Jimenez up this season.
Catching a lot of flack from the fans, including talks of a service-time manipulation suit between the organization and Jimenez’s representatives, Hahn stood his ground. He believed Jimenez had yet to complete all the “checks” on his checklist. But fans should not worry as it seems Jimenez has a great chance at making the 25-man roster out of Spring Training next season.
Though many would agree Jimenez is beyond ready for the big leagues, we cannot change the fact that he was not called up this season. Fans, rather than focusing on Hahn not calling Jimenez up, should be looking forward to seeing him potentially make a roster spot very soon.
If his minor league numbers are any indication as to the type of major league career Jimenez will have on the South Side, well, 2020 is looking good.