Gleyber Torres

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Why can't a trade be looked at as a win-win? 

There doesn't always have to be a clear winner and loser.

Prior to Jose Quintana taking the ball for Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, Joe Maddon was asked about the players (Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease) the Cubs gave up to acquire Quintana as well as the deal with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in July 2016.

Gleyber Torres is absolutely killing it in New York, hitting .323 with a 1.014 OPS, 9 homers and 24 RBI in only 29 games. Six of those homers have come in the last week alone. 

With the White Sox, both Jimenez and Cease have found success in Double-A and Advanced Class-A, respectively.

Jimenez is hitting .331 with a .992 OPS, 9 homers and 35 RBI in 35 games. Cease is 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 47.2 innings.

As the Cubs work to get their offense settled into a consistent groove, some Cubs fans have been looking at what might've been with guys like Torres and Jimenez.

"You can't have it both ways, man," Maddon said. "I'm happy for Gleyber. When he left, we talked about it. And we talked about the kids that went to the White Sox. It's good stuff. 

"I'm really disappointed if anybody's disappointed in the fact we won the World Series in 2016 and the fact that the guy we're talking about that we had to give up Gleyber for was so instrumental in that happening. That's bad process if you're gonna get stuck on something like that. Be happy for Gleyber. Be happy for him."

Maddon has been a fan of Torres' since he saw him in spring training in 2015, Maddon's first year in the Cubs organization.

"This kid's 21, with high, high baseball intellect," Maddon said. "He's very similar to Javy on the field. I've had some great conversations with him in the past. 

"The first time I saw him in spring training, I thought this guy's for real. It was like one at-bat, line drive to RF, I said who is this guy? And then you have a conversation with him. He's solid."

Maddon's point is a great one — would Cubs fans prefer to still have Torres and NOT have the 2016 World Series championship? Because that title doesn't happen without Chapman, regardless of how you feel about him as a person or what the Cubs had to give up to acquire him.

"Don't play that game," Maddon said. "Be happy for [Torres]. I'm gonna be happy when Eloy and Dylan make it up here. All these dudes, I want them to get here and be really good. And the guys that we get, I want them to be really good. 

"I don't understand why somebody's gotta lose all the time. This is an absolute classic example of what was good for both teams."

Guys Cubs, White Sox traded away rank as top two shortstop prospects in baseball

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USA TODAY

Guys Cubs, White Sox traded away rank as top two shortstop prospects in baseball

Neither the Cubs nor White Sox need worry about the ones that got away. But it turns out that the ones that got away are pretty darn good.

Baseball's two best shortstop prospects, according to MLB Pipeline's rankings, released Wednesday, were dealt away by the Cubs and White Sox during the 2016 season.

Gleyber Torres, traded to the New York Yankees in the deal that brought Aroldis Chapman to the North Side, is the site's No. 1 shortstop prospect. Right behind Torres at No. 2 is Fernando Tatis Jr., who the White Sox shipped to the San Diego Padres in the trade for James Shields.

Torres was a well thought of prospect when the Cubs moved him, a necessity to be the main piece of the trade that got the Cubs their World Series closer. Torres never played above the Class A level while in the Cubs organization, but he had a .275/.359/.433 slash line at Myrtle Beach before they moved him to the Yankees. Last year, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, Torres was awesome in just 55 games, with a .287/.383/.480 slash line and a 47-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Yankees have a good thing going right now, and teaming Torres with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez should be a terrifying situation for opposing teams. Good thing for the Cubs they traded Torres out of the National League. But there's no reason for the Cubs to be kicking themselves for the deal, as their middle-infield combo of Javy Baez and Addison Russell also has plenty of future potential, not to mention the good things they've managed to do in the present and recent past. You know, like winning the World Series.

Tatis, meanwhile, was not a known commodity when he was traded away from the South Side in the Shields deal. Pitcher Erik Johnson, who also went to the Padres in that trade, got more attention at the time. Since, however, Tatis has dominated the minor leagues, slashing .273/.311/.432 in 55 games as a 17-year-old in 2016. Last season, he jacked those numbers up to .278/.379.498 with 22 homers, 75 RBIs, 32 steals and 27 doubles — and he didn't turn 19 until earlier this month.

There was little way of knowing that Tatis, who was just 17 when that pre-rebuild trade was made, would turn out to be what he's become and so quickly. But while having Tatis as part of the rebuilding effort would have obviously been nice, the White Sox aren't hurting for highly rated prospects. Michael Kopech, Zack Collins and Jake Burger have already popped up on MLB Pipeline's positional top-10 lists, with outfielders — and Eloy Jimenez — still to come. The future is bright as can be on the South Side even without Tatis, and the team is very confident that Tim Anderson, who's been at the major league level for two seasons now, will succeed as the shortstop of the future.

It's fun to play the what-if game with guys like Torres and Tatis, though with the Cubs already winning a championship and the White Sox generating plenty of hope for the same with their rebuild, these trades don't fall into the category of epic regret.