(Redirected from Eloy Jimenez)
Eloy Arturo Jimenez Solano
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 205 lb.
OF Eloy Jimenez was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 17 in 2014. The scouts were Carlos Reyes, Jose Serra and Louie Eljaua. He began his professional career that season with the AZL Cubs, playing 42 games and hitting .227 with 3 homers and 27 RBIs. In 2015, he moved up to the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League, where he was a full three years younger than the average player in the circuit. He hit .284/.328/.418 in 57 games, with 10 doubles and 7 homers.
While his first couple of seasons had been impressive given his young age, he had a true breakout year in 2016, when he was assigned to the South Bend Cubs of the Midwest League. After 80 games, he was hitting .332 with 29 doubles and 10 homers, earning him a spot on the World team for the 2016 Futures Game, played on July 10th at Petco Park in San Diego, CA. He had a great game, driving in his team's first run with a double in the 6th, then, playing RF, making a tremendous catch over the right field railing on a foul ball hit by Dylan Cozens in the 7th. He capped it off by hitting a long three-run homer off Ryne Stanek in the 9th that was part of a seven-run inning that completed an 11-3 win by the World team. He returned to the Futures Game in 2017, again as a member of the World team. Less than a week after that game, on July 13th, the Cubs sent Jimenez, along with fellow prospects Dylan Cease, Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, to the Chicago White Sox in return for P Jose Quintana. Injuries limited him to 89 games spread among three teams in Class A and AA that season, and his final numbers were .312/.379/.568 with 22 doubles and 19 homers.
In 2018, the White Sox had him start the season in AA with the Birmingham Barons, then after 53 games moved up to AAA for the first time with the Charlotte Knights. Combined, he hit .337/.384/.577 in 108 games, with 28 doubles, 22 homers and 73 RBIs. Mindful of not hastening his future eligibility for arbitration, the White Sox did not call him up at the end of the year, although he had done everything to earn such an opportunity, along the lines of how the Toronto Blue Jays had handled another super-prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In fact, these two and Fernando Tatis Jr. were the consensus top three prospects in baseball heading into the 2019 season, with all three expected to start the year in the minors but to make their debut before the end of the first half. Jimenez was obviously his team's main focus of reporters in spring training, as White Sox fans had been waiting for years for a player of his talent to join the squad. He was sent to the minor league camp relatively early, on March 12th, but on March 20th, the White Sox offered him a six-year contract worth $43 million, to ensure he would be kept on board through his years of arbitration eligibility. The issue of eligibility arbitration out of the way, the White Sox turned around and brought Eloy back to the major league team, taking advantage of an injury to veteran Jon Jay to announce that Jimenez would be the opening day left fielder.
He made his debut on March 28, 2019, going 0 for 3 with a runs scored and an RBI in a 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. His first two major league homers came on the same day, April 12th, in a 9-6 win over the New York Yankees; the first came off Jonathan Holder in the 5th and the second off Chad Green in the 7th. On April 27th, he went on the injured list after getting his foot caught in the padding of the outfield fence while trying to make a leaping grab. The resulting ankle sprain made him miss over three weeks of action. He was hitting .241 at the time of the injury, then went in a slump after his return, as he saw his average fall to .205 on May 29th. He then began to raise it slowly but steadily, as he hit .284 with 8 homers and 20 RBIs in a very solid month of June. On July 16th, however, he suffered another injury caused by a collision in the outfield, this one with CF Charlie Tilson. He was placed again on the injured list, this time with nerve contusion in his right arm. He was reactivated on July 28th and finished the year strong as he was named the American League Rookie of the Month in September when he hit .340 with 9 homers and 25 RBIs in 24 games. He ended the season at .267 with 31 homers and 79 RBIs in 122 games, with an OPS+ of 117 for an excellent rookie season.
He had another solid year in 2020 as he appeared in 55 of the 60 games the White Sox played in a season shortened by the Coronavirus pandemic. He hit .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs, good for an OPS+ of 138. He was named the winner of a Silver Slugger Award as one of the three best-hitting outfielders in the American League. The White Sox had a breakout season, reaching the postseason for the first time since 2008. In the Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics, he went 1 for 2 with a double as he appeared in just one of the three games. He had suffered a foot sprain on September 24th and missed the final three games of the year and was unable to play until Game 3, and then aggravated the injury on his 3rd-inning double and had to be replaced by a pinch-runner. The injury bug hit him again in 2021, as with one week to go before opening day, he ruptured his left pectoral tendon trying to make a catch in the outfield on March 25th. The initial prognosis was that he would miss five to six months. He beat that by making it back on July 26th. After a slow first week, he caught fire with back-to-back two-homer games against the Cubs and Minnesota Twins on August 8-9. He also collected 10 RBIs during the two games.
- 2019 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2020)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
- Associated Press: "The next big thing? Jimenez ready whenever White Sox call", USA Today, February 16, 2019. 
- Rhett Bollinger: "Climb machine: Eloy working way up to MLB; White Sox top prospect Jimenez full of confidence after strong Winter League showing", mlb.com, November 21, 2017. 
- Scott Merkin: "Talented Jimenez drawing comparisons to greats: Heralded prospect maintaining focus on getting to Majors", mlb.com, February 16, 2019. 
- Scott Merkin: "Jimenez key part of Sox return to glory: Outfield prospect has an admirer in Cubs manager Maddon", mlb.com, March 3, 2019. 
- Scott Merkin: "Young star Eloy ascending for White Sox", mlb.com, August 19, 2019. 
- Jesse Sanchez: "With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy: White Sox top prospect, 21, continues to hone skills, eager to be a building block", mlb.com, January 18, 2018.