White Sox

Eloy Jimenez is as confident about the White Sox rebuild as anyone: 'We're going to win a lot of World Series'

Eloy Jimenez is as confident about the White Sox rebuild as anyone: 'We're going to win a lot of World Series'

The White Sox of the future are not short on confidence.

Just a day after Michael Kopech said he was ready for his call to the big leagues, Eloy Jimenez echoed his future teammate.

"I feel the same way. I can't wait to play in the bigs."

That was Jimenez before the start of SoxFest festivities last weekend at the Hilton Chicago. But this sort of thing is nothing new for the outfielder who came over in last summer's crosstown swap with the Cubs and who was just named the No. 4 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

In August, Jimenez predicted he'd hit a home run. He hit that home run.

"When I feel like I'm going to hit a home run, I can tell you," he said last Friday. "And I did it."

It seems some of these highly touted White Sox prospects share White Sox fans' visions of the future, a future where the incredible amount of talent injected into this farm system in the last year plus blossoms into a perennial World Series contender. Looking at what these prospects can do, it's hard not to buy in to general manager Rick Hahn's vision. Kopech can hit triple digits on the radar gun. Alec Hansen struck out nearly 200 guys last season.

"A lot of pitchers over there have really good stuff. Kopech, Alec Hansen. I know it's going to be fun," Jimenez said. "I'm happy I don't have to face Kopech and Alec Hansen. It's hard."

Jimenez, with his light-tower power, might be the most exciting of them all. The 21-year-old outfielder combined to slash .312/.379/.568 in 89 minor league games last season, splitting time between Class A Myrtle Beach (Cubs), Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. He hit 19 homers and 22 doubles, scored 54 runs and drove in another 65.

Everyone wants to know when Jimenez will hit the bigs, assuming it will happen some time during the 2018 campaign. That's possible, of course, but Hahn cautioned against presumptions that guys like Kopech and Jimenez will arrive in Chicago so quickly.

"As we sit here right now, I want to say Eloy has roughly about 70-odd plate appearances above A-Ball, and he's also a year younger than (Yoan) Moncada was at this time a year ago," Hahn said last week. "If at age 21 he spends the entire year in Double-A in the Southern League and is even close to the level that he performed at for the three weeks he was there already, that's a really, really good developmental year.

"Now, the good ones have a way of sort of changing your timeline on that, and it's not going to shock me if at some point over the course of the summer Eloy forces our hand a little bit, we're going to have to wind up being a little more aggressive than, again, what would be a very fine developmental plan for a 21-year old who is hardly above A-Ball."

Hahn also said that just because players arrive on the South Side doesn't mean their development is complete and the White Sox will instantly run roughshod over the rest of Major League Baseball.

"It’s the rare, rare player that gets to the major league level and doesn’t need any further refinement or adjustment," Hahn said. "Even if it’s just getting comfortable with the speed of the game or the amount of the scrutiny that comes with being a big league ballplayer on a daily basis. So we know that’s going to continue.

"(Moncada)’s not a finished product, Tim Anderson’s not a finished product, Carlos Rodon’s not a finished product, despite being in the big leagues for a couple years. It’s part of the reason Ricky (Renteria) and the coaching staff is perfectly suited for this process. They’re all teachers, they all have roots in player development, they all have a history in setting organizational goals and holding players accountable for it, and that continues not just through our system, but once players get to Chicago."

Jimenez has his eyes on being that kind of rare, rare player, another example that confidence is not a tool he lacks. It isn't to say he's too cocky — he used the old baseball cliche of hitting a homer one day and striking out three times the next day, a humbling experience — and he said he knows his fate lies in Hahn and the front office's hands.

Jimenez feels the excitement around this group of young players. He knows that fans are itching to see them assembled, Avengers style, at Guaranteed Rate Field. Hahn feels it, too, and has repeatedly talked this offseason about how his frequent mentions of patience are directed just as much at his own front office as they are at the fan base.

But how can you not get excited when Jimenez says something like this?

"I talked with Zack (Collins) one day in Double-A. I told him, 'When we figure it out and get together in the big leagues, I know we're going to be awesome.

"'We're going to win a lot of World Series.'"

Yoan Moncada is kind of on fire, hits a leadoff homer for the second straight game

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada is kind of on fire, hits a leadoff homer for the second straight game

Yoan Moncada is some kind of dialed in.

For the second time in as many days, Moncada smacked a leadoff home run to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.

Wednesday, he did it in the bottom of the first inning against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners, taking the first pitch out of the yard. Thursday, he waited until pitch No. 2 to go deep of Jakob Junis and put the South Siders on top of the Kansas City Royals in the top of the first.

Moncada came into Thursday night's series-opener slashing .333/.421/.848 over his previous nine games. In his last 10, including Thursday, he now has nine extra-base hits, five home runs, nine RBIs and nine runs scored. This latest long ball moved him into a tie with Jose Abreu for the team lead, with six on the campaign.

So maybe Robinson Cano's assessment of Moncada as a potential superstar of the future might be on point.

Dane Dunning the first highly ranked White Sox prospect to move up in system this season, heading to Double-A Birmingham

Dane Dunning the first highly ranked White Sox prospect to move up in system this season, heading to Double-A Birmingham

After four dominant outings with the Winston-Salem Dash, Dane Dunning is on the rise in the White Sox farm system.

The minor league baseball season isn't even a month old yet, but Dunning got his first promotion of the season Thursday, heading from Class A Winston-Salem to Double-A Birmingham, becoming the first of the White Sox highly ranked prospects to get a promotion in 2018.

Dunning was stellar in his four starts with the Dash this month, striking out 31 guys and turning in a 2.59 ERA in 24.1 innings. It was a strong follow up to the 22 starts he made there last season, when he had a 3.51 ERA and finished with 135 strikeouts.

Dunning is the lone pitcher acquired in the Adam Eaton trade with the Washington Nationals not on the White Sox big league roster, with Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez currently part of the major league rotation.

Dunning is currently ranked as the organization's No. 6 prospect and the No. 92 prospect in baseball. With this being a developmental season for the White Sox as the rebuild moves toward the day when the team is planned to be an annual contender, expect a lot more announcements like this one as the summer rolls on.