With all the moves the Chicago White Sox made this past offseason, let’s not forget that it’s still important for Eloy Jimenez to have a good season.
The Chicago White Sox made a lot of moves this past offseason, showing that they believe they’re ready to take a big step forward and maybe even make the playoffs in 2020. The delay to the MLB season put a damper on those plans, but with baseball about to resume, optimism abounds on the South Side of Chicago.
Yet with all the new additions to both the starting lineup and the pitching rotation, let’s not forget the importance of the young, up-and-coming players to the team’s success. Yoan Moncada, coming off an impressive 2019, fits that mold, but so does 23-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
During their rebuild, Jose Quintana was one of the team’s most important trade chips, and in 2017 they cashed it in by sending him across town to the Cubs for Jimenez and Dylan Cease. Jimenez debuted last year at the major league level and got into 122 games, batting .267 with 31 home runs, impressive for a 22-year-old.
This year, the White Sox will have a lot of thunder in their lineup, including Moncada, Jose Abreu, and Edwin Encarnacion, among others. Yet Jimenez remains one of the most important parts of the team’s rebuild. Not only does he become an important hitter in their lineup for the 2020 season, but it’s also important that he continue to develop as a player for beyond this shortened season.
Last year, while the home runs were impressive, Jimenez struck out 134 times while only walking 30 times. Meanwhile, he was worth -1.4 defensive WAR and -11 defensive runs saved above average. With Encarnacion on the roster, putting Jimenez at DH likely won’t be an option; besides, they need him to work on his defense anyway.
For the long-term, the White Sox need Jimenez to make some progress as an overall player. This was going to be a critical year for his development; unfortunately, the majority of the season won’t be played. He’ll only have 60 games to work on his game this year; for the White Sox, let’s hope that the time lost doesn’t have a negative effect on Jimenez’s career.
Eloy Jimenez still figures to be a star for the White Sox, and their future depends a lot on him. If he can continue to hit for power while becoming a better all-around hitter and defender during this shortened season, that will be a very positive sign for White Sox fans.