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Thoughts on White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez

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Powerful bat moves up to Triple-A

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today the Chicago White Sox made a flurry of minor league roster moves. They promoted outfielder Eloy Jimenez from Double-A to Triple-A, pitching prospect Dylan Cease from High-A to Double-A, and outfield prospect Luis Robert from Low-A to High-A. These transactions provide the perfect segue to answer this email question I got last week:

“When will we see Eloy Jimenez in the majors? Isn’t it about time the Sox moved him up? And how do you rate him?”—-VQ from Horizon City, Texas

Pre-season I rated Jimenez as the top prospect in the Chicago White Sox system with this take:

1) Eloy Jimenez, OF, Grade A-/A: Age 21, signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Chicago Cubs in 2013, traded to White Sox last summer in Jose Quintana deal; hit .312/.379/.598 total on the season, 19 homers, 35 walks, 72 strikeouts in 333 at-bats, including .353/.397/.559 run in 68 Double-A at-bats; continues to bolster baseball skills to match impressive physical tools, classic right field profile with average running speed but plus power; sources give mixed opinions on his arm, with grades anywhere from 40 to 60 depending on who seems him and when; that’s a minor issue, though, the important point is that he is steadily improving feel for hitting and has clearly emerged as one of the top outfield prospects in baseball; ETA late 2018 (UPDATE 3/12/18: slight bump in grade from A- to A-/A to reflect projected placement on Top 175 list)

He was also Number Eight on the Top 175 prospects list. He moved up to seventh in a revised Top 30 in late May.

Jimenez started the year on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle but was activated in late April and had no problems, hitting .317/.368/.556 in 205 at-bats for the Birmingham Barons with 10 homers, 18 walks, and 39 strikeouts in 205 at-bats. Scouting reports remain very optimistic and Southern League pitching was not a true challenge for him.

My opinion hasn’t changed much; he’s an elite hitting prospect who should provide both power and average. There are still some nitpicky questions about his defense but no one really cares given how good the bat is. I think he’s done enough that we can take the split grade away and make him a straight Grade A.

He’ll face a tougher environment in Triple-A and will need to show he can handle more advanced breaking stuff but given the totality of his track record I don’t think making any necessary adjustments will be a huge problem.

If he gets off to a good start in Triple-A we could see him in the majors quite soon. If he needs adaptation time I think we’ll still see him by September.