During a seminar this past weekend at SoxFest, Eloy Jimenez found out how he, one of the stars of the White Sox rebuild, could get booed by a room full of South Side baseball fans.
He confessed that he grew up rooting for the team on the other side of town.
Yolmer Sanchez, meanwhile, played the crowd like an umpire-impersonating Frank Drebin and earned cheers by saying he grew up rooting for the White Sox, but that's beside the point.
Jimenez came over in that crosstown swap with the Cubs last summer and is now arguably the White Sox prospect fans are most looking forward to seeing in the big leagues. He's rated extremely high, the No. 4 prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline's recently released rankings.
In other words, there seems to be little that could dampen White Sox fans' enthusiasm over Jimenez — except maybe more Cubs talk.
Monday, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis went through the site's top 10 prospects — which include both Jimenez and White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech — and drew up some comparisons with past prospects who are now, mostly, starring at the major league level. To do this, he used scouting grades for each "tool" — bat, power, speed, arm and defense. And White Sox fans not too fond of the team that plays to the immediate north might not be too happy that Jimenez was compared to current Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
It's mighty important to note that this comparison is between Jimenez now and Schwarber when he was a highly touted prospect during the 2015 season. It's not a projection of what kind of big league player Jimenez will end up being.
The two have one main thing in common: power. Schwarber hit 30 home runs last season and hit 46 over the course of his first 200 major league games. There'd be nothing wrong with Jimenez doing something like that. He's got 43 homers in his 300 career minor league games.
But the crosstown rivalry means White Sox fans would be expected to focus on the struggles Schwarber has had, specifically last year, when he was sent down to Triple-A for a stretch. His 2017 woes were blown a bit out of proportion, perhaps, given all the expectations on the North Side, but a 40-point dip in his on-base percentage between his 2015 rookie year and last year was significant. White Sox fans hearing their top prospect compared to a guy who was sent down last season aren't likely to be dancing in the streets.
Again, however, this is a prospect-to-prospect comparison. At the moment, both young players have enormous potential to be cranking homers out of Chicago ballparks for years to come.
For what it's worth, Jimenez now gets a better power grade and a better arm grade than what Schwarber got midway through 2015. The grades are the same for bat, speed and defense.
Kopech's comparison isn't likely to fire up the White Sox fan base one way or the other. He was matched with current Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who was terrific in 15 games at Triple-A last season but posted some pretty ugly numbers in 15 games with the big league Bucs.