White Sox 3 Up, 3 Down: Jimenez's Power Surge

Eloy Jimenez hit his 16th home run Sunday and has 10 since June 8.

Chris Emma
July 08, 2019 - 1:12 pm
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(670 The Score) The White Sox showcased progress in the first half of the season not just with a 42-44 record but how it all happened.

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Growth for the young White Sox is clear, and it's encouraging for where this organization can go. Let's look at the first-half trends on the South Side:

THREE UP

1.) Eloy's power surge

Pitchers did White Sox rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez no favors as he got acclimated to the big leagues. In his debut in late March, the Royals were throwing him breaking balls low and away, testing his plate approach from the start.

Jimenez has displayed his growth. He hit his 16th home run in the White Sox's 3-1 win over the Cubs on Sunday, with that long ball marking his 14th to straightaway center field or a near side this season. Jimenez found his comfort in June as he adjusted to MLB pitching, and the power numbers followed. He has 10 homers and 24 RBIs since June 8, posting a .984 OPS in that span.

2.) All-Star-quality Moncada

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was disappointed that third baseman Yoan Moncada wasn't selected to the All-Star Game, which will be held in Cleveland on Tuesday. The miss for Moncada was the result of some other stars at his position in Alex Bregman and Matt Chapman getting the nod instead.

But Moncada's first half was certainly "All-Star-quality," as Renteria put it. He has 16 home runs, 48 RBIs and a slash line of .308/.364/.544. Moncada's 139 weighted-runs-created-plus ranks fourth among players 24 years or younger, trailing only Cody Bellinger, Pete Alonso and Juan Soto.

3.) Abreu an All-Star again

After hitting the walk-off home run in the 12th inning Wednesday, Jose Abreu declared to reporters that he wanted to remain with the White Sox for the long term. He's in the last year of his contract. With the way the 32-year-old Abreu is playing, that seems like a great idea for both sides.

An All-Star for the third time, Abreu is near a 40-homer pace on the season with 21 at the break. His career-high mark is 36, set as a rookie in 2014.

THREE DOWN

1.) Lopez at the bottom

A year after right-hander Lucas Giolito had the worst ERA among qualifying starters in baseball, the White Sox again have a starter at the bottom of that category. This time it's right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who enters the All-Star break at 4-8 with a 6.34 ERA.

The White Sox are committed to keeping Lopez in the rotation moving forward and don't plan on sending him down to Triple-A, general manager Rick Hahn said Saturday. But it's worth wondering where his season goes from here.

2.) Giolito vs. the Cubs

For whatever reason, Giolito hasn't figured the Cubs out this season. He struggled for a second time against the Cubs on Saturday night, as he went four innings and allowed six earned runs while walking five.

Giolito is 0-2 with a 12.96 ERA over two starts against the Cubs and 11-1 with a 2.26 ERA against everyone else.

3.) One-for-Palka    

Before heading out for the All-Star break, the White Sox announced they were sending outfielder Daniel Palka back to Triple-A Charlotte. 

Palka has endured horrific struggles, going 1-for-45 in 52 plate appearances this season.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.