Eloy Jimenez & Luis Robert! From The Dominican Republic & Cuba To The South Side Of Chicago With The White Sox! Future MLB Stars!

CHICAGO — One year ago, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert weren’t even part of the White Sox organization. In less than two weeks, when White Sox position players report to camp at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., these two outfielders will become focal points during their first Spring Training with the South Siders. Jimenez ranks fourth on MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 100 Prospects, while Robert earned the No. 28 spot.

Both players possess immense talent across the board to serve as the backbone of the White Sox rebuild. Both players also are low on the experience end, with Jimenez’s 73 plate appearances for Double-A Birmingham last season serving as his highest level of competition, and Robert having yet to play Minor League baseball in the United States.

“I just try to do my job,” Jimenez said. “I know I’m close to getting to the big leagues, but I have another season. I’m just trying to work hard.”

“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,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Now, the good ones have a way of sort of changing your timeline.”

Jimenez hit .312 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs in three stops last season, including a .353 mark with three homers, five doubles and seven RBIs with the Barons. Any video of Jimenez hitting seems to go viral from the sheer support and joy emanating from White Sox fans.

But as White Sox outfield/baserunning coordinator Aaron Rowand points out, there’s more to Jimenez than his remarkable offensive approach.

“You are going to see somebody for his size move exceptionally well in the outfield,” Rowand said. “He’s a lot more agile than you would think for a big guy, and he’s got an above-average arm. He’s smart. And that’s not even to touch what he is as a hitter. He is one of the most mature hitters at his age that I’ve come across in my career.

“For his age, and for as much as he knows about his own swing and about what the pitcher is trying to do to get him out, he is very, very advanced as far as the mental side: not only the mechanical side and the physical side. That part of it is there, but just the mental side of hitting and the maturity of what he can do and be able to go out there and do it, he’s smart.”

Rowand developed into a homegrown player who contributed to the 2005 World Series championship, and Robert eventually could follow a similar path. Less concrete results are present concerning the international free-agent signing from Cuba, but based on reports from the organization’s January hitters minicamp, the ceiling is equally high for the 20-year-old.

“Robert has a chance to be that all-around player as far as, he’s a complete five-tool guy,” Rowand said. “He has a great arm. He is tremendously fast. He’s got quickness. He’s got power. He can hit. He’s got the tools, and he’s got an opportunity to be that perennial All-Star backbone of a team.”

By Scott Merkin