When Eloy Jiménez stepped up for his first plate appearance Tuesday, the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast aired a graphic showing the White Sox slugger’s second half numbers.
Jiménez not only has been red-hot at the plate since the All-Star break, but what he’s done over the last two months or so has him in exclusive company.
You know you’re going well when Aaron Judge, an AL MVP frontrunner, is one of the comps for your production.
Yes, Jiménez has been on fire for the White Sox since the break — shortly after he returned from a two-month absence due to a hamstring injury. And more importantly, some of his best work has come during the Sox’ recent surge.
“He's been coming to the ballpark early, doing his work,” acting manager Miguel Cairo said. “He's more selective, looking, hunting his pitches, hitting in the strike zone.
“It's been important for him. It's been good to see him being selective and aggressive in the strike zone.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Rockies, Jiménez held a .366/.436/.610 slash line in 48 games post-break. He’s hit 11 home runs with 32 RBIs, including a three-run blast in that first plate appearance Tuesday.
His second half ranks, entering Wednesday, among all hitters with at least 180 plate appearances:
Jiménez has hit six homers with 11 RBIs during the Sox’ recent 10-4 stretch, to go along with a .380/.418/.780 line.
One of the biggest keys to that success, he says, is swinging at strikes.
"I think that is one of the biggest things right now,” Jiménez said after Tuesday’s 4-2 win. “I am more disciplined than every year that I played here, and I feel good. That's all I can say right now."
That ties into his recent power surge. The slugging ability is there in Jiménez’ bat, but it starts with swinging at good pitches.
"I just feel good because if I swing at strikes, it's going to be better,” Jiménez said. “I know I have power to just hit on the barrel and the ball is going to be out.
“I just try to be a hitter first and then become a power hitter."
For a while now, he's been both.