Eloy Jimenez came into the Chicago White Sox lineup in 2019 after a marvelous Minor League career. The Chicago Cubs made the mistake of a lifetime when they sent him to the Chicago White Sox in order to get Jose Quintana in hopes of repeating as World Series champions. Adding in Dylan Cease makes it even worse but that is a story for a different day. As for Eloy, he is now one of the most important pieces to the White Sox organization.
He is as polished of a hitter that has ever come through the White Sox system. As a rookie, he was magnificent as he had a 30 home runs season. He followed that up in 2020 with a Silver Slugger Award-winning season. Here in 2021, he has faced some adversity as he injured himself pretty badly during Spring Training.
He hurt himself playing the outfield and it wasn’t the first time. It was, however, the first time where it happened bad enough to keep him out for a very long time. As a result, there are a lot of people who want him out of the outfield forever. It is fair to understand why because his bat is so lethal but making him a designated hitter is a very bad idea.
Jimenez has returned and has four games under his belt. He has stated multiple times that he does not like being a designated hitter. He feels that taking away his privilege of playing the outfield impacts his offense.
The Chicago White Sox needs to be getting the most out of Eloy Jimenez’s bat.
Well, so far this season, he is proving to be onto something. Eloy has played in four games so far this season. In three of them, he has been the designated hitter. He has gone a combined 0-11 in those games at the plate. That is not what the White Sox needs right now from Jimenez.
In the one game that he played left field, he went 2-4 with a home run and three RBIs. He was the sole reason that they won that game offensively. In that very same game, he made a few spectacular plays defensively. He looks faster and more motivated to be a much better outfielder. He doesn’t need to win a Gold Glove or anything close to that but he needs to be out there. There will be mistakes made but you have to deal with those to get the most out of that amazing bat.
What will happen to Andrew Vaughn if Eloy Jimenez takes over in left? There are a couple of options. For one, Andrew Vaughn seems to be very good at the whole “put me wherever you need me” thing. He seems much more equipped to be a DH than Jimenez. He could also play right field.
He did have the one error in his lone appearance in right as it is clearly an adjustment after learning left field but Vaughn is smart enough to figure it out. He is going to be just as impactful of a hitter as Jimenez in short order so keeping him in the lineup is important as well. Getting the most out of Eloy, however, is key in 2021. Allowing him to play the outfield is a way of doing that.