White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Bernstein: Great Move By White Sox To Sign Jimenez

The White Sox on Wednesday secured Eloy Jimenez for up to eight years.

Dan Bernstein
March 20, 2019 - 2:38 pm
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(670 The Score) ​​Credit is due the same White Sox brain trust that we've criticized heavily and fairly over the last several weeks.

Good on general manager Rick Hahn for having the foresight to bet on top prospect Eloy Jimenez, with the two sides agreeing Wednesday to a six-year contract that could grow to eight with two club options on the end, guaranteeing the outfielder $43 million and buying ahead of time what would have been his first year of free agency. If Jimenez plays all eight seasons, he'll make a reported $77 million.

It's the most money ever paid to a minor leaguer who had yet to play in the big leagues, blowing away the six years and $24 million the Phillies gave Scott Kingery in 2018.

It even adds some excitement and urgency to 2019, allowing Jimenez to head north with the White Sox for Opening Day now that the service time threshold issue is gone -- there's no need to come up with a pretend reason to hold him down to buy another year of control. He's a real ballplayer, right now, presumably set to start in left field. Any made-up excuses for holding him down artificially can now just vanish.

MLB.com's 2019 prospect rankings list Jimenez as No. 3 overall in the game, describing "one of the best hitting prospects in recent memory, rivaled in the current minor league crop only by the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr." Jimenez is a consensus top-five prospect wherever you may look, the jewel of the deal that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs in July 2017.

"Jimenez has some of the best raw power in baseball, which he generates with electric bat speed plus the strength and leverage in his 6-foot-4 frame," the MLB.com report reads. "His pop has elicited comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but he's a better hitter than Stanton. He excels at recognizing pitches and making adjustments, allowing him to repeatedly barrel the ball with high exit velocities to all fields."

Joe Sheehan wrote in his preview of the White Sox that even were he called up expectedly late, Jimenez will "be a four-win player from jump."

Baseball Prospectus likes him too, with PECOTA predicting a slash-line of .281/.321/.471 and 20 homers, extremely strong numbers from that system for a rookie. Aaron Gleeman wrote, "Jimenez's low strikeout rate attached to 80-grade raw power is a rare combination."

High power and high contact, now at an extreme market value until Jimenez is 30, provided he lives up to such heady projections.

The sting of the failed pursuit of Manny Machado wears off considerably with good new like this, the sights of Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay a bit less painful in their connective reminder of who's not here.

A potential stud is -- and now will be for his prime years. It's a good day for the White Sox.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​