White Sox Eloy Jimenez Proclaims He's Ready For Big Leagues, But He Must Wait

Jimenez will open the season at Double-A.

Bruce Levine
March 14, 2018 - 2:42 pm
Eloy Jimenez

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

GLENDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- The top prospect in the White Sox organization has been shipped out to minor league camp.

Of course, the good news for 21-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez is this is likely the final time he's assigned to the minor leagues. Jimenez expressed confidence in that liklihood in his comments after being optioned to Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday, a move that was expected and is part of his developmental process.

"Yes, I think so," Jimenez said when asked if he's ready for the big leagues right now. "I can't control that. The only thing I can control is to play hard and stay on the field."

Jimenez was the centerpiece the White Sox received in dealing Jose Quintana to the Cubs last June. After a strong 2017 season in the minor leagues, he opened more eyes with his raw power and advanced hitting prowess during the past month in the White Sox's big league camp. He saw limited game action because of a sore knee but was impressive in the at-bats he did get, going 4-of-7 with two homers. 

"I have the confidence to do these things in the field," Jimenez said. "This didn't surprise me -- to do all the things I did."

Jimenez will enter his the start of his Double-A season with 333 career at-bats at or beyond advanced Class-A. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has indicated Jimenez could be on a similar track to second baseman Yoan Moncada, who ascended to the big leagues in the latter half of last July. However, Moncada started 2017 at Triple-A. So a full or nearly full year of seasoning in the minor leagues could be in play for Jimenez.

For his part, White Sox manager Rick Renteria was asked if Jimenez's talent and situation reminds him of anyone else's in his past experiences. Renteria responded by bringing up an all-time great.

"I remember going to camp one year with Ken Griffey Jr.," Renteria said. "He was an obviously gifted and super ballplayer. If I had any ballplayer who had an impact early, it was him. I don't want to get ahead of myself Eloy does seem to be that type."

Jimenez called his experience in big league camp beneficial.

"The interaction with my teammates and getting to know each other has been wonderful," Jimenez said. "I was very comfortable with all aspects of it. My goal is to learn as much as you can and be ready when I get the call-up. I think I need to improve in my all-around game. If I really want to be a great player, that will be my focus."

The White Sox outfield looks to be mostly set for the start of the new season, as Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel and Avisail Garcia will get most of the early playing time. Leury Garcia and Ryan Cordell will be the backups. Cordell has been the surprise of the spring, hitting .360 through Tuesday.

All that said, Jimenez will have a clear path to Chicago once he finishes his apprenticeship.

"It is amazing to see someone with that much talent," right-hander Reynaldo Lopez said. "He showed how he is prepared for a specific at-bat and pitch. I don't know how he does it. That lets you know he is special with a lot of talent."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.