Eloy Jimenez is a rising star in the MLB, no question about it. With just 177 games under his belt at the Major League level of play, Jimenez has left the yard 45 times and driven in 120 runs while slugging .527 with an .848 OPS. These numbers are fantastic for a 24-year-old slugger who figures to sit in the middle of a loaded White Sox lineup for years to come.
The problem with, or rather for Eloy Jimenez is his presence in left field. Since joining the big league club, Eloy has seemingly found a way to end up on highlight reels not only for his prolific home runs but also for his blunders in the outfield. Some of those defensive mishaps have also led to Eloy missing time due to injuries. Here are just a few of Eloy’s “best” moments in the outfield from the past two seasons.
There are plenty more examples that are easily accessible by simply searching for videos of Eloy’s defense, but that leads us to an instance earlier this week when Eloy Jimenez nearly hurt himself again by colliding with Luis Robert during a Spring Training affair against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For a White Sox team that is already lacking a proven DH, it will be of utmost importance to have Eloy Jimenez’s bat in the lineup as much as possible. Given the players who quite literally surround him on the field and in the lineup in Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, and Yoan Moncada, it is time for the White Sox and Tony La Russa to slot Eloy in the DH role to limit the potential disasters that collisions with the aforementioned key pieces of the White Sox lineup would create. Despite Eloy’s desires to remain in left field, the move would probably benefit the already injury-prone slugger in the long run, as we’ve already witnessed a playoff series with a less-than-healthy Eloy Jimenez.
While most eyes have been set on White Sox prospects Andrew Vaughn, Jake Burger, and Gavin Sheets as potential DH options for the White Sox, none of these players have yet to play a game at the Major League level. With Sheets being the only player of the three to even log an at-bat at the AA level, it is quite interesting to see a ballclub with this level of talent not have an everyday option in the DH role.
Moving Eloy into the DH role now would allow the White Sox flexibility to give Andrew Vaughn some seasoning in AA and or AAA while allotting a more defensively trustworthy player like Adam Engel the starts in left field. The move would also potentially give Gavin Sheets a better shot of making the roster should he earn it after his recent transition to the outfield. On days when Jose Abreu is not starting at first or when Yasmani Grandal needs a break from catching, Eloy could return to his spot in left for a game here and there, but my eyes will be closed any time a ball is hit to left-center.