Tag Archives: Eloy Jimenez

Upates from Glendale: Burger undergoes surgery, Giolito and Jimenez start hot

By Cat Garcia

It’s been anything but dull for the first few weeks of White Sox training camp in Glendale, Arizona. Sox fans have been able to catch a glimpse not only of live action baseball, but of their stars of the future.

With that being said, it certainly hasn’t been a Spring Training for the faint of heart. Multiple injuries have mounted on the field, Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his first outing back in a White Sox uniform, and folks caught a glimpse of the less refined version of their future superstar pitcher Michael Kopech.

From Jake Burger to Nicky Delmonico, let’s take a look at the biggest takeaways from camp so far.

Jake Burger Out For 2018

White Sox first-rounder Jake Burger ruptured his Achilles during a sprint to first base during a game against the Athletics on February 27th. Burger underwent successful surgery on his Achilles on March 1st in Chicago and is expected to miss the entire 2018 season. Despite the shocking turn of events, Burger has a positive outlook on the situation. “I can focus on nutrition, focus on my diet, focus on my body,” Burger told the media in Glendale after the injury occurred. “I actually texted my academic guy back at Missouri State, and I’m going to go back for an intersession course, get three hours in.” Burger said he spoke with newly appointed White Sox ambassador and former starter Jose Contreras, who suffered the same injury in 2008. “He was like, ‘Look, man, it’s a tough recovery, but you’ll get back,’” Burger said of Contreras. “He said he lost 30 pounds while going through it. I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to being back with my family for a couple of weeks.”

Lucas Giolito Impresses

The future is bright for young White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, who showed flashes of brilliance in his short debut with the big league club at the end of 2017. But in training camp, Giolito seems to be picking up where he left off. Giolito has started two games and pitched a total of six innings, while accumulating nine strikeouts, and eight of those nine punchouts came on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. Giolito walked two on the afternoon and pitched four solid innings. “I was just trying to mix my it up a lot,” Giolito told the media after his outing on Saturday. “I was throwing the slider pretty much for strikes and was throwing the curveball a bit sharper, which is what I have been working on. With two strikes, I was able to get guys out with it. Overall my breaking stuff was working pretty well.” Giolito allowed just one earned run on Saturday, a homer off Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini.

Nicky Delmonico and Tyler Saladino Suffer Outfield Collision

As if the White Sox stockpile of injuries could mount any higher — two most players were added to the heap on Sunday. Outfielder Nicky Delmonico and shortstop Tyler Saladino collided trying to catch a pop-up in the seventh inning, and the collision prompted manager Rick Renteria to remove Saladino from the game and place him on the 7-day concussion list, while Delmonico has suffered a separated shoulder. “Just extended it,” Renteria said of the Delmonico injury. “Didn’t pop it. Didn’t do anything. Just got extended and jammed it a little bit.” With just two weeks until Opening Day, it is possible that for precautionary reasons, Delmonico will open the season on the disabled list. Delmonico was slated to be the White Sox starting left fielder, which now leaves the club ready to test the waters with Ryan Cordell, Leury Garcia and other options to fill that role.

Eloy Jimenez Returns

Not all of camp has been exceptionally gloomy in the way of injuries for the White Sox this spring. After being sidelined for two weeks with left knee tendinitis, the infamous Eloy Jimenez played his first full game of the spring on Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Jimenez first stepped up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in Saturday’s game, only to hit a go-ahead home run that tied the game 4-4. Sunday, Jimenez continued his success, hitting another home run in his first at-bat off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Jimenez went on to hit a triple on a line drive to centerfield and walked in his final plate appearance of the day. Despite the success, Jimenez has only played a handful of games above Class A and will begin the season in Double A Birmingham, even if the stay there is short before he ventures up to Charlotte. The show will go on for Jimenez, just not with the big league club for right now.

Dreams of Eloy to Get Sox Fans Through the Winter

It seems it wasn’t long ago that the most common sentiment echoed throughout the Cubs fanbase was, “they’ll never give up Eloy.”

Eloy Jimenez was hitting .329/.369/.532 during his first full season at high-A Myrtle Beach, which earned him the title of the Cubs No. 1 prospect in 2016. Cubs fans were simply enamored.

But as it became apparent that the Cubs wealth of offensive talent was simply brimming over, and as areas of need began to form throughout the rotation, the pipe-dream of Jimenez becoming the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade deal quickly became a reality. The deal the Cubs and White Sox made just a few weeks before the trade deadline has already solidified itself as what is likely one of the best fit trades of the 2017 season. The Cubs placed a rising ace into their rotation, and the White Sox added a young, developing power bat to their farm system.

What the White Sox assumed they were getting was the Jimenez baseball had been marveling at since 2014. Instead, they got something even better.

Jimenez arrived in High-A with the White Sox in July and hit .345/.410/.682—miles higher than he’d hit with any Cubs affiliate. Just like that, the Jimenez Frenzy was spreading wildly on the other side of town.

Moments such as the now popular “The Best” video in which Jimenez calls his own home run quickly became celebrated ones.

“That’s one of those things that just happened,” Jimenez said of the called shot. “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I feel very confident. I’m feeling good with my body and I say, ‘OK, I’m going to hit a home run tonight, and it happens. I have that kind of confidence in myself.’”

How often does this happen? According to Jimenez, quite often. He just simply refers to it as confidence. Jimenez, however, is aware that there is still work to be done. Instant success without proper progression is never the long term answer.

“I have to work all around,” Jimenez said during his visit to Guaranteed Rate Field in September. “I have to improve all around my game. I don’t think it’s any specific area that I have to improve more than another. I have to keep learning about the game because every day you can learn something different.”

“People are going to want to see Michael Kopech [and] Eloy Jimenez,” General Manager Rick Hahn told WLS. “But we’re going to have to exhibit that same level of patience here over the next 12-18 months so that we can make sure they have similar such success as these first three [players to come up],” Hahn said, referring to Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Yoan Moncada.

Jimenez’s success hasn’t seemed to stop, though. Recently wrapping up his time in the Dominican Winter League, Jimenez says that his busy offseason has just helped him prepare for future long seasons on the South side. “This is just a good way for us to get ready for when the time comes for us to play in the World Series,” Jimenez said. “Probably two or three years ahead. When that time comes we have to be ready for that. We can’t say, ‘I’m tired because I’m playing too much’ or ‘I’m tired because I had 600 at-bats.’ When that time comes we have to get ready, and I think this is a good way for us to be prepared, for when that moment comes.”

If it was possible to build on the totals Jimenez finished his minor league season out with, he certainly went for it.

Check out Jimenez’s numbers in the Dominican League:

.386 .419 .754 4 5 2 20

Despite Jimenez’s proven ability to tear through whatever challenges lay ahead, Rick Hahn is not so certain that he will be ready to join the White Sox in 2018. “It’s possible,” that Jimenez spends all of 2018 in the minors, Hahn said in an interview with 670 The Score, then quickly peppering a new twist on a classic Rick Hahn quote — “But the good ones have a way of changing plans on you.”

What Sox fans must remember is that development isn’t simply lent to success in numbers. Jimenez may look ready to take the majors by storm, but development is non-linear and simply because Jimenez looks to be a natural for success at the plate doesn’t mean the rest of his makeup is refined just yet. Jimenez still believes he needs to elevate his game and, though it can be assumed that this is unanimously agreed upon by White Sox personnel, whether that development continues in the majors or minors, may be a topic of disagreement.

“I truly believe that I can be playing here right now,” Jimenez said in September. “Like I say, God’s plan is perfect. The only thing I can do and handle is to work hard every day and try to do my best and try to learn about the game every day and put me in the best position to force them to make a decision.”

Hahn has spoke about the delay in Moncada’s arrival in the majors and of the similarities the rest of the Sox’s growing pool of prospects’ paths will bear. Though there were other factors involved, the stressed point was that there were simply areas of Moncada’s development that still weren’t quite ready for the the big league stage.

There are certainly things that ballplayers need to work out at the major league level, but until the proverbial “checklist” as Hahn refers to it as is complete, Jimenez and any other prospect for that matter simply isn’t ready to take the next step. That’s something that folks will just have to trust the White Sox developmental staff on.

Eloy Jimenez Makes First Appearance at Guaranteed Rate Field

“I truly believe that I can be playing here right now,” Eloy Jimenez told the media on Tuesday during his formal introduction to the park he will soon call home. “In my mind, I’m ready. But I have to wait.”

Jimenez, 20, was the headliner in the deal that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July, 14th. Since moving to the White Sox’s Double-A Birmingham affiliate, Jimenez has hit an impressive .353/.397/.559 with 16 strikeouts in 68 at bats.

Jimenez’s demeanor is that of someone well beyond his years, and his skill set is one that demands attention as he continues to dominant throughout the minors. But Jimenez remains very humble and self aware. When asked if he he’ll be a star, his answer is “Of course.”

“That’s why I’m working hard every day.” Jimenez said. “I want to be the best player on the field every time I go out. That’s why I’m working hard. I don’t want to be just another player. I want to be the best player.”

Manager Rick Renteria has been sufficiently impressed with what he’s seen from Jimenez this season. “We’ve seen quite a bit of [him], obviously he’s a young man with some power,” Renteria said. “He can play the field and on top of that we’ve watched some of the interviews he’s given, he’s a pretty bright young man. It’s going to be nice to see these guys as they continue to move forward in their careers with hopes that they’re going to be a part of a tremendous future here in Chicago.”

It was easy to see a picture in which Jimenez is a mainstay on the South Side as he shook hands with his future teammates, watched batting practice alongside his future hitting coach, Todd Steverson, and enjoyed a warm welcome from some of his future teammates.

“[Carson] Fulmer gave me a very good welcome,” Jimenez said. “He made me feel like I’m part of the roster here. I also met with the manager, the coaches. I’m excited. They all treat me in a good way and I’m just very, very excited.”

Jimenez knows his work isn’t done though. He may feel ready to be slotted into the lineup during his time in Chicago on Tuesday but he still has improvements to make before he can take the big stage.

“I have to improve all around my game,” Jimenez said. “I don’t think it’s any specific area that I have to improve more than another. I have to keep learning about the game because every day you can learn something different. That’s the way I like to approach my day on a daily basis. That’s the way I like to think; work hard every day and try to learn and improve every day in all the aspects of the game.”

Part of that improvement will begin this offseason, as Jimenez said he plans to take part in the Dominican Winter League. As for Renteria, he thinks that the organization will need to sit down with Jimenez and help him make that decision when the time comes.

“Everybody gains what they want to get out of it, some people go with it willingly, some people go not wanting to really go and don’t get a whole lot,” Renteria said. “If he decides and the organization decides that that’s something that he should do, we will talk about it. If he wants to do it obviously everybody has to be on board with something like that.”

“It kind of helps people to see the game from a different perspective,” Renteria said of Winter League baseball. “Because you have some of the best of the best going out there competing and performing, but I think that we will come to some conclusion about what we want him to do.”

As old familiar faces begin to pack their bags in the White Sox clubhouse and new ones take their place, Manager Rick Renteria can’t help but think about the future on the South Side.

“A couple days ago, I’ll be honest I sat back and started writing all the names on the board of the players we have within the system, the kids that have been within the system, and the kids we’ve acquired,” Renteria said. “You start looking and you think we’re poised to hopefully help these guys get better and make them a part of the Chicago White Sox at the major league level. The names that are on that board are nice to see.”

Holland Released–

The White Sox announced the release of veteran left-handed starter Derek Holland on Tuesday. Holland, 30, had a rather turbulent year with the White Sox, pitching to a 6.20 ERA with a 6.42 FIP. He allowed 31 home runs in 135 innings.

“With the young men coming up, it was going to cut into his usage,” Renteria said of the move. “That’s what it was. He was awesome when we spoke to him last night, he was very grateful for the opportunity. He was very happy to get through the season healthy. He was disappointed he wasn’t able to do more, he really wanted to come in and perform better but I think with the guys we’ve brought up are going to be the ones that are going to taking those innings.”

“Derek was a great teammate,” pitcher James Shields said. “All of the guys liked him around here. He went out there every five days and pitched with his heart. The guy cared about baseball and is a tremendous human being. It’s always tough to lose a guy like that.”

The White Sox promoted left-handed reliever Jace Fry to take Holland’s roster spot. Fry, who has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, will making his first appearance in the majors on Tuesday. He spent the entire 2017 season with Double-A Birmingham and pitched 45 innings with 52 strikeouts while posting a 2.78 ERA.

Kopech, Jimenez to Visit Future Work Place

Over the next week, top White Sox prospects Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez will visit Guaranteed Rate Field. They’re not being put on the roster, mind you. It’s just a meet and greet for two bright young prospects who may hold the fate of the franchise in their talented hands.

No biggie.

Kopech, who tore through his aggressive AA assignment this season and finished the year with three starts at AAA Charlotte, may be the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. He’ll certainly be in the discussion when the Sox start camp in Glendale in 2018. In fact, White Sox Scouting Director Nick Hosteler has mentioned that Kopech could compete for a job in the Big League rotation while in camp next year.

More likely, because of service time and time tables, Kopech starts the year in Charlotte and gets a full dose of seasoning at the penultimate minor league level. It’s entirely possible he pitches himself into the White Sox rotation come August.

Eloy Jimenez, who handled a late promotion to AA with aplomb, torched minor league pitching this year. He is, now that Yoan Moncada is a major-league regular, the top positional prospect in the White Sox organization. Jimenez was praised by Sox manager Ricky Renteria for putting in a significant amount of work into learning English, and maintaining a positive attitude that permeates through his team. Though, it’s hard to imagine not being positive after slashing .312/.378/.570 across two levels this year.

So Long, Q

Just one day before the start of the second half, the White Sox had their druthers in the most dramatic way possible. The White Sox traded Jose Quintana, their most valuable trade asset, to the Cubs for a top-tier package of prospects headlined by the MLB.com’s 8th-ranked Eloy Jimenez. Since the end of January, White Sox GM Rick Hahn was asked what it would take to move Jose Quintana. He was asked when it would happen. He was asked, coyly, if he’d ever deal with the Cubs. Today, there were answers.

On a conference call, Hahn expressed how hard it was to make the phone call and tell Quintana he’d been traded. “There was no part of this call to trade Q that I enjoyed,” Hahn said. The White Sox picked up Quintana as a minor-league free agent. Those pick ups never work out. Never. The Sox identified a talent. They molded him. Quintana worked as hard as anyone could ask and more.

By trading Quintana, the White Sox have added more into their pipeline. Jimenez, a massive corner outfielder, gives the White Sox their 7th top-100 prospect. It’s now becoming an embarrassment of riches throughout the White Sox system. Dylan Cease, the next best player in the deal, becomes the next in a growing line of White Sox minor league arms who hit triple digits on the radar gun.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the trade is the actual surprise of the trade.

No one had this. It was announced via press release. There were no leaks. There were no hints. There were no unnamed sources. Like a minor-league free agent panning out, that never happens.

There was, seemingly, many suitors for Quintana. Hahn told reporters there were multiple clubs interested–including teams who are not currently in contention. “Theo and I exchanged texts shortly after the draft about potential fits,” Hahn said. Sunday morning before the All Star game is when conversations really started to move. Hahn said he told the Cubs things were getting hot around Quintana and that it was time to act if they wanted him. Jimenez would need to be in the deal, however. “[There was] nothing for us to talk about with Cubs without Eloy in the deal,” Hahn said.

The trade reinforces the White Sox rebuild. Quintana is a top-of-the-rotation arm the Cubs desperately need for this season and beyond. Hopefully, for both teams, it’s a win-win.

Word was that the White Sox and Cubs would never do a deal. Hahn called that notion “somewhat laughable.” The White Sox front office is in the business of making the best deal possible. It’s devoted to setting up the long-term success of the club and, to that end, nothing is off the table. There is still work to do before the deadline at the end of the month. The Sox may well deal more talent to bolster a preposterously strong minor league system. One thing is for sure; the biggest headline has been made.