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Q&A: Meet top White Sox prospect Jimenez

Outfielder looking to break into Majors this year with South Siders
@scottmerkin
March 7, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox fans have a number of questions in regard to Eloy Jimenez. When will the 22-year-old arrive in the big leagues? Will he win the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award? Will he be the fulcrum of this team’s rebuild?

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox fans have a number of questions in regard to Eloy Jimenez.

When will the 22-year-old arrive in the big leagues? Will he win the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award? Will he be the fulcrum of this team’s rebuild?

But in this interview with MLB.com, Jimenez answers questions about the always upbeat person behind the extremely talented player, as well as his ultimate goals as part of the White Sox.

MLB.com: Growing up, you played basketball. Did you have a favorite team or player?

Jimenez: Kobe [Bryant] was my favorite player, and the Lakers are my favorite team.

MLB.com: Why did you like Kobe Bryant?

Jimenez: I like Kobe because he was one of the best players. His attitude, I like it. When I was a kid, that was the player I was looking to be like. He was special for me.

MLB.com: Did you ever have a chance to meet him?

Jimenez: No. I never have. Not yet. But I still want to meet him.

MLB.com: Were you a pretty good basketball player?

Jimenez: I was, yeah, but not anymore. I stay away from basketball now.

MLB.com: What was the best part of your game?

Jimenez: Shooting.

MLB.com: You’ve played in both the Cubs and White Sox organizations at such a young age. Does that dynamic seem kind of strange to you?

Jimenez: The first year, it was weird. But now I feel normal. Being part of the Cubs, it was good. But to be part of the White Sox, it’s good, too. That means a lot to me, the White Sox think about me and get me in the [Jose Quintana] trade. I feel proud.

MLB.com: Is it tough to be traded when you are young, or does it feel good another team wants you?

Jimenez: It’s really tough. One of the things that was tough I was playing against the White Sox in the series [with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach in 2017] and I got traded to the other dugout [for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem].

MLB.com: Do you understand the intensity of the Chicago baseball rivalry?

Jimenez: Now, I understand. When I was with the Cubs, I didn’t even think about it. But now I know why they are rivals.

MLB.com: Your brother, Enoy, signed with the organization (he is four years younger than Eloy).

Jimenez: His real name is Cesar. His nickname is Enoy. It’s really good. I feel proud of him. The way he works, the way he wants to get signed for an organization, I feel really proud. I know he’s going to do good things.

MLB.com: Was it surprising when the White Sox signed him?

Jimenez: It was a little bit surprising. There are not too many guys that can sign on the same team. I feel really good and I feel really proud.

MLB.com: Who has the better raw talent?

Jimenez: (laughs) I don’t know.

MLB.com: Your mom is a police officer and your dad is a teacher. Who was the disciplinarian of the family?

Jimenez: She’s really tough, but my dad is more tough.

MLB.com: How are they different?

Jimenez: They are kind of the same, but my dad is more strict.

MLB.com: Did they have specific rules for you growing up?

Jimenez: I need to be home before 7 p.m. I need to do my homework before night. I need to be in bed before 10:30 or 11. That was pretty much the rules. If you don’t do it, it’s not going to be OK.

MLB.com: That’s not the rules now?

Jimenez: That was when I was younger. Now, I need to be at home early. I need to work every single day. And they don’t care if I’m Eloy Jimenez in the USA. It doesn’t matter for them. They always try to educate me and my brother, like be humble guys and be disciplined.

(His parents are in Arizona right now. He spends time after the games with them.)

MLB.com: What’s the story behind your jersey No. 74?

Jimenez: I was playing winter ball. I used 74 and did good things with it. I said that I wanted to create my own number. Twenty seven is my favorite number, but everybody has it. If I create my own number, people are going to remember me as 74.

MLB.com: Why was 27 your favorite?

Jimenez: It’s my birthday, [November 27].

MLB.com: What’s the greatest baseball moment you’ve had so far?

Jimenez: I’m never going to forget the [2016] Futures Game in San Diego.

MLB.com: Why is that?

Jimenez: It was very special for me because the people didn’t know me before the Futures Game. After the game, they knew me.

(Jimenez finished 2-for-3 for the World team with a three-run homer, four RBIs and a great running catch in right field.)

MLB.com: What’s the strangest or funniest moment you’ve had so far in baseball?

Jimenez: I hit an inside-the-park home run when I was playing in the [Arizona] Fall League for the Cubs. I was surprised by it because it was a long time running the bases. It was tiring (laughs).

MLB.com: What is your goal with the White Sox?

Jimenez: Just get to the Majors first. After, being a leader for the younger guys and be an example. And win a couple of World Series.

MLB.com: You are always so upbeat. How do you keep that demeanor all the time?

Jimenez: My family. If I talk to my family and I know they are good, I’m always happy.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.