Fresh off a strong performance in the Dominican Winter League and being added to the White Sox's 40-man roster on Monday, top prospect Eloy Jimenez said he's feeling confident and believes he's close to reaching the Majors.Jimenez, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, spoke with reporters in
Fresh off a strong performance in the Dominican Winter League and being added to the White Sox's 40-man roster on Monday, top prospect Eloy Jimenez said he's feeling confident and believes he's close to reaching the Majors.
Jimenez, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, spoke with reporters in a conference call from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday, discussing a wide range of topics about his play and expectations for the coming season.
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Jimenez, acquired in the trade that sent lefty Jose Quintana to the Cubs, hit a combined .312/.379/.568 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 89 games between Class A Advanced and Double-A last year. The 20-year-old outfielder followed that up by batting .368 with four homers and 21 RBIs for Gigantes del Cibao in 19 games in the Dominican Winter League.
"It was great," Jimenez said through translator Billy Russo. "It was something indescribable for me. I visualized that experience before the season started, but it was unbelievable. I faced really good pitchers. They were of really good quality and pitched in the U.S., Mexico and Japan. It was a really good experience for me. I enjoyed it."
Jimenez, who is expected to open the year at Double-A Birmingham, said he leaned on his teammates to find out what to expect in the Majors.
"They all told me that playing in the Majors is a very unique experience," Jimenez said. "You have to take advantage of it and work hard. And work even harder than before. But you have to play your game and be yourself and not put pressure on yourself."
Jimenez, a career .302/.350/.498 hitter in 300 games in the Minors, said he's looking to impress White Sox brass this Spring Training, but he acknowledged it's ultimately up to the front office on when he'll get called up to make his debut.
"I can't tell you exactly what will happen," Jimenez said. "But I'm very positive and have confidence in myself in what I can do. I'm going to do my best. I feel very confident I can play in the Majors whenever the team makes that decision with me. But for now, all I can do is work hard and do what I need to do to force the issue for the team to put me in the Major Leagues."
Jimenez added that he models his game after Jose Cabrera offensively and Adam Jones defensively, but was pleased to hear general manager Rick Hahn's remarks, comparing Jimenez to David Ortiz because of their similar personalities.
"What can I say? I feel very proud to hear that from the GM. David Ortiz is one of the biggest players from my country," Jimenez said. "He's a very happy person and played with a focus with what he had to do. I'm also a very happy person and know what I have to do to get better. But I feel very humble when you have your name mentioned with a guy who is probably going into the Hall of Fame."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com.