Talented Jimenez drawing comparisons to greats

Heralded prospect maintaining focus on getting to Majors

February 16th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The names of Manny Ramirez and have been evoked when searching for comparisons involving , the No. 1 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 3 overall in baseball.

But right-hander , the team's No. 2 prospect and Jimenez's teammate with Triple-A Charlotte in 2018 and with the White Sox in the years to come, has a more definitive reference for the power-packed outfielder.

"I told a few of you guys this, but I look at him as the Babe Ruth of our generation," said Kopech. "He's going to be OK."

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"Yeah, he told me that in Triple-A," said a smiling Jimenez, who met with the media after Saturday's workout at Camelback Ranch. "I feel proud and blessed. I think [Kopech] is the Nolan Ryan of our era."

Before Jimenez is anointed with Hall of Fame stature, it's important to once again remember the 22-year-old has yet to take a Major League at-bat. But, yes, he has can't-miss talent, the sort of immense ability with the possibility to carry a franchise or become the rebuild fulcrum at the very least.

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Hearing his name mentioned with the likes of Ruth, Cabrera and Ramirez doesn't seem to bother Jimenez. He has an even-keel demeanor, which is quite possibly as important as his ability to hit to all fields with authority.

"It's not pressure for me because I don't really think about it," Jimenez said. "I just try to work hard and be ready for the moment. Assuming I get there, I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing all my career. I always say I'm ready."

After producing a combined slash line of .337/.384/.577 between 2018 stops with Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, to go with 28 doubles, 22 home runs and 75 RBIs in 108 games, Jimenez did not receive a September callup to the Majors. He has spoken on a number of occasions about being a little bit disappointed over not getting the nod but added Saturday he won't be that disappointed if he begins '19 at Charlotte.

White Sox director of player development Chris Getz praised Jimenez at SoxFest for his offseason conditioning, with Jimenez coming to his second big league camp in great shape. Jimenez explained his diet switch of going from fast food and burgers to broccoli and salmon.

Although it was just batting practice coming a few days before position players even have to arrive in camp, Jimenez's Saturday work was made up of must-see swings. He took Minor League field coordinator Doug Sisson deep twice to left-center on consecutive pitches and then ripped a line drive to right-center in one session.

Not only does Jimenez possess raw talent, but he seems to have a set plan with whatever he's doing. It's a trait shown by many of the game's best hitters and knowledge he often shares with other young players as shown by his talk with outfielder , the club's No. 9 prospect, two days ago in the batting cages.

"If I can help, if I see something wrong, I can give advice," Jimenez said. "That's important for me because we are a family and we need to take care of each other. If I know something, I'll let them know."

"That's the uniqueness of Eloy. He is pretty advanced," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's a really good player, and I think he's got people who will be able to help him transition to the Major Leagues in a very confident, positive way."

Renteria plans to use Jimenez primarily in left during Cactus League action but also will play him in right. It could be the start of a special season for Jimenez, with winning American League Rookie of the Year on his agenda.

"It's one of my goals," Jimenez said. "But what's important right now is get to the Majors first."