The White Sox named Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech their minor league players of the month for September, setting up a media tour for each of them in Chicago.
Jimenez went first on Tuesday, meeting with the media, throwing out the first pitch, dropping by the broadcast booth, then throwing some pitches on the Fundamentals deck.
One word reigned supreme in the accounts from the dugout: confidence. Mainly because of this:
“I truly believe that I can be playing here right now,” Jimenez said through a translator. “The only thing I can do and handle is to work hard every day and try to do my best and try to learn about the game every day and put me in the best position to force them to make a decision. They are the ones who can have the power and in my case, in my mind, I’m ready. But I have to wait.”
And because James Fegan asked him about this ...
Lol @Lamantha21 pic.twitter.com/9aYx9UsW5U— Ian Clarkin (@iClarkin) August 5, 2017
... and got this out of him:
“That’s one of those things that just happened,” Jimenez said, opting for an interpreter with a heap of television cameras in his face. “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I feel very confident. I’m feeling good with my body and I say ‘OK, ‘I’m going to hit a home run tonight,’ and it happens. I have that kind of confidence in myself.”
Sure, but how often does he wake up feeling that way?
“It’s kind of often,” Jimenez said. “It’s not just with homers. It’s with hits, singles and it’s just the way I feel about my game when I’m on the field.”
It’s the kind of confidence from a 20-year-old that could come off as overcompensating, except for the lack of discouraging words from outside that might prompt such posturing. If you have to nitpick, his defense is only suitable for corners, and he’s been a little bit more banged up than you’d like to see, but nobody seems to have any reservations about anything regarding his hitting.
The numbers back that up. Jimenez hit .312/.379/.568 over 89 games -- 42 with Myrtle Beach, 29 with Winston-Salem and 18 with Birmingham. Counting only his performance with the Sox affiliates, he hit .348/.405/.635 with 16 doubles, a triple, 11 homers, 17 walks and 37 strikeouts over 47 games.
Jimenez has the profile that makes a rebuild more tangible. Unlike Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson, whose all-around athleticism overwhelmed Triple-A but ran the risk of being exploited early in the big leagues, it’s easier to see Jimenez’s promotion as a turning point in the rebuilding. Of course, that assumes that the Sox will let Jimenez see enough of Birmingham and Charlotte next year to confirm readiness and pass service-time thresholds, of course, but given the confidence around and from Jimenez, maybe he actually could start making things happen if his first-pitch jersey became his real one.
Great Falls 8, Billings 5
- Craig Dedelow went 2-for-5 with a triple and a strikeout.
- Justin Yurchak, 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Franklin Reyes went 2-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts.
- Chris Comito: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 HBP
- Will Kincanon: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K
- The Voyagers remain tied for first with Missoula with four games remaining.