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Jimenez adjusting to MLB life in spring camp

White Sox prospect drawing comparisons to his country's greats
Special to MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There are high hopes for White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez as the outfielder sets out on a path paved by some of his heroes from his home in the Dominican Republic.

Jimenez, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect and No. 5 overall in baseball by MLB Pipleline, already has two SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game appearances under his belt, and he was the key prospect in the 2017 trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There are high hopes for White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez as the outfielder sets out on a path paved by some of his heroes from his home in the Dominican Republic.

Jimenez, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect and No. 5 overall in baseball by MLB Pipleline, already has two SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game appearances under his belt, and he was the key prospect in the 2017 trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

White Sox Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

He's slashed .302/.350/.498 in three seasons of professional ball, capped by an 18-game stint at Double-A Birmingham -- his third team of 2017 -- where Jimenez hit .353 (24-for-68).

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"It has been wonderful," Jimenez said through an interpreter on Tuesday of his experience in White Sox camp. "I've been out there with my teammates, trying to get to know each other, trying to be involved in the things that the team is doing. I feel very comfortable."

Jimenez is already being compared to hitters like White Sox powerhouses Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia, but he shucks off the comparison for the time being.

"I haven't seen them hitting," Jimenez said, deflecting the chance to put himself in their company.

But the 21-year-old Jimenez eagerly spoke of the influence of other Dominican players he grew up watching, including Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and Vladimir Guerrero.

"[Sosa] had a very good influence on us [Dominicans], especially me," Jimenez said. "Not just him, but guys like Manny and Vladdy. They were examples for us. Now, we're just trying to emulate what they did in the Majors."

And then there's the comparison that means the most -- putting him in a category with David Ortiz. Showing maturity beyond his years in the game, Jimenez focuses on his national pride more than on what the comparison says about his own prowess at the plate.

"It's very special for me to be compared with someone who did great things in baseball and for the sport," Jimenez said of Ortiz. "He represents us as a Dominican in a very good way, so I feel proud when people make those comparisons."

Video: White Sox OF prospect Luis Robert on Spring Training

White Sox manager Rick Renteria got to see Jimenez take batting practice on Tuesday, along with another outfield prospect, Luis Robert, 20, from Cuba, who is ranked as the club's No. 3 prospect and No. 23 in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

"They're tracking, they look good," Renteria said. "All of them are settling in. It's the first few days of light BP, with pitchers BP. They don't look uncomfortable."

Add fellow Dominican Micker Adolfo, 21, to the mix, and it's a trio some envision as the outfield of the future on Chicago's South Side.

"Just a few minutes ago when we were taking BP, we were talking about it," Jimenez said with a broad smile. "Micker and Luis said, 'Can you imagine if we had the opportunity one day to play together in the Majors, right, left and center field? The three of us together and having the opportunity to bring a championship to this team?' I think that's a dream for us, and we're trying to work hard for that."

Jimenez could be forgiven for letting what he hears about himself get to his head, but he's keeping himself grounded and waiting for his time.

"[My dad] says, 'You know what? Just control the things that you can control -- work hard and do the things that you need to do to get better,'" Jimenez said. "That's my key."

That, and a confidence at the plate that belies his lack of big league experience.

"Every day that I'm going out on the field. I try to enjoy every second," Jimenez said. "That's probably why my confidence is high every time I'm on the field. If I try to put pressure on myself, I'm not going to enjoy the game. I try to relax and enjoy the game."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert