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updated: 11/21/2017 4:25 PM

Winter league success boosts confidence of White Sox prospect Jimenez

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  • Video: Eloy Jimenez highlights

  • White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 4 overall by MLB.com, has played well in the Dominican Republic Winter League, He hit .312 in the minors last season.

    White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 4 overall by MLB.com, has played well in the Dominican Republic Winter League, He hit .312 in the minors last season.
    Associated Press

  • Eloy Jimenez, shown here in action at Myrtle Beach, was placed on the White Sox 40-man roster this week.

    Eloy Jimenez, shown here in action at Myrtle Beach, was placed on the White Sox 40-man roster this week.
    Courtesy of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans

  • Eloy Jimenez, an outfielder with the Birmingham Barons, is the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox farm system.

    Eloy Jimenez, an outfielder with the Birmingham Barons, is the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox farm system.
    Associated Press

 
 

Sports Illustrated published its 2018 power poll on Tuesday because … why not?

No trades of note have been made this off-season, and the same goes for free agent signings.

Nonetheless, SI pulled out the tea leaves and deemed the World Series champion Houston Astros as next season's top team, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

The Chicago White Sox are still in rebuild mode, but Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez have already arrived and top prospects Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Zack Collins and Alec Hansen will be pushing their way toward the South Side in the upcoming season.

For now, Sports Illustrated is not overly impressed.

In Tuesday's power poll, the Sox checked in at No. 27, ahead of only the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers, who are projected as the worst team in baseball next season.

Maybe the White Sox will prove SI wrong, and maybe they won't. But with players such as Jimenez in the system, the Sox are still looking at a bright future.

Rated as baseball's No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, Jimenez was acquired in the July 13 trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

The outfielder, who turns 21 on Monday, had a combined hitting line of .312/.379/.568 with 22 doubles, 19 home runs and 65 RBI in 89 games with Class AA Birmingham and A Winston-Salem in the White Sox's system and A Myrtle Beach in the Cubs' organization.

Jimenez followed up the big season by playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. In 19 games with Gigantes del Cibao, he hit .368 with 4 homers and 21 RBI.

"It was something great," Jimenez said through Sox interpreter Billy Russo on Tuesday. "Something indescribable for me. I visualized that experience before the season started, but once the season started it was something that was unbelievable. The level there is very good. I faced very good pitchers, pitchers with very good quality, pitchers that have pitched in the U.S. and Mexico and in Japan."

As expected, Jimenez was added to the White Sox's 40-man roster on Monday. He'll report to major-league camp when spring training starts in February and is likely to open the 2018 season at Class AA Birmingham or with AAA Charlotte.

If Jimenez continues to terrorize opposing pitchers, it's only a matter of time before he joins the White Sox.

"I can't tell you exactly what is going to happen," Jimenez said. "My mind is very positive and I'm always very confident about myself and the things I can do. It's a decision the team has to make. I'm going to try to do my best. I feel very confident I can play in the majors whenever the team thinks it's the best moment for me."

Jimenez drew immediate comparisons to Jermaine Dye after being acquired from the Cubs. As for his own role models, the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder has a pair of good ones.

"I have two favorite players, one in each (side) of the game," Jimenez said. "In the offensive side, I have Miggy Cabrera. My idol. The person I like to follow up. On the defensive side, I like Adam Jones. I would like to mix the abilities of those two players and be the best of those two. I think I can be that player. I feel confident and, yes, they are the two players that I have as my guides."

• Twitter: @scotgregor

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