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Eloy Jimenez - How Hyped Should We Be?

It is difficult to not get excited about a player of Eloy Jimenez’s caliber, especially when there are rumblings that he may get the call up to the bigs soon. During an interview with 670TheScore in Chicago, White Sox Player Development Director Chris Getz stated that Jimenez is close to joining the big-league club.

Getz went on to say about Jimenez, “He has done nothing but perform.” “This guy’s been able to drive the ball to all fields. He’s been able to set up pitchers... He’s got a pretty good arm. We just want to make sure he’s as ready as possible. We’re getting really close."

What fantasy baseball aficionados and White Sox fans then wonder, is whether this is speculation to Jimenez's arrival or just much ado about nothing?

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The Next Big Thing?

Nobody but White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn knows for certain, but it is fun to bring about the idea in the meantime.

Jimenez is currently the third-best prospect in all of baseball according to MiLB Pipeline and has thus far owned the minor leagues. Over the course of his 543 plate appearances in the White Sox system, Jimenez has accumulated 29 home runs, 40 doubles, 83 runs, and 93 runs batted in. His average has not dipped below .317 with any of the White Sox minor league affiliates and his current strikeout rate in Triple-A is 11.7%. Jimenez is living up to his pedigree with this production, but it begs the question of whether it could immediately translate to the next level.

Jimenez will be 22-years-old at the end of the year and currently stands at 6'4" 205 lbs according to Fangraphs. His body is clearly MLB-ready and he has the numbers to back it up. The biggest noticeable blemish is his walk rate, but that can be overlooked given his propensity to whack the ball.  Regardless of his average 50 hit-grade; Jimenez has displayed an inflated batting average due to his monster power. In his time at High-A last season and Triple-A this season, Jimenez’s ISO (isolated power) has topped .300 and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) has stayed above .300 well. This is 1990’s Barry Bonds type power, albeit, in only 242 plate appearances.

Despite his minor league displays, there is valid reasoning behind keeping Jimenez in the minor leagues for a bit longer. The White Sox would lose a year of control on their prized possession if he were to get called up soon. This clock is extremely important to a team that does not spend too much money. The most likely scenario involving Jimenez is that he gets called up for a short while in September and then again a bit after the start of next season where he will have passed the threshold for his organization to retain the full seven years of control. The Cubs did this with Kris Bryant in 2015 and the Braves did this with Ronald Acuña Jr. this season. Unfortunately, following through with this sort of plan runs the risk of frustrating a player of Jimenez’s caliber.

Although I do not know Eloy Jimenez personally, it can be assumed that he knows that he is ready to compete in the majors. The problem is that the White Sox currently are not. With a record of 41 wins and 71 losses, the Chicago White Sox are not playing for 2018 and likely not even 2019.

They have young talent up the wazoo in the minors. Stud pitchers Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease are also seemingly ready for their major league shot. However, they too will be held up by the fact that Chicago is not in much of a position to win given the overall makeup of their major league roster. Overhauling an organization and starting fresh is unfortunate because some potential game-changing talents tend to get held up due to it.

Jimenez is absolutely a player that all of baseball should be excited for; his hype is warranted and real. If he does come up this season, it likely won't be for long and unfortunately, it might not be enough to provide much fantasy relevance. Nevertheless, on the off chance that he does get called up soon, it is absolutely recommended to grab him now if you are clinched for the playoffs and have a low-value player to drop. Low risk, high reward plays like this could decide league championships, and from what information is available, there is still the off-chance that Jimenez could be in the majors relatively soon.


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