Jimenez entrenched as big bat in middle of White Sox's lineup
When looking back on the playoffs, a combination of shaky pitching and some head-scratching decisions by former manager Rick Renteria are likely to get the most blame for the White Sox's early exit.
Fair and fair, but the repeated failure of the Sox's high-powered offense to come through in the clutch was equally costly.
While losing 2 of 3 to the Athletics and being eliminated in the first round, the White Sox were 4-for-28 with runners in scoring position.
Yoan Moncada was 0-for-5 with RISP, Jose Abreu was 1-for-5 and Adam Engel was 0-for-3 as the Sox scored 7 of their 11 runs on homers.
Something was missing in the best-of-three series, and not having Eloy Jimenez proved to be a huge loss for the White Sox.
"We definitely need his bat in the lineup," shortstop Tim Anderson said.
In the final week of the regular season, Jimenez sprained his right foot running the bases in a loss at Cleveland.
He sat out the last three games against the Cubs and missed the first two postseason games against Oakland.
A late addition for Game 3 as the Sox's designated hitter, Jimenez led off the third inning with a double before being lifted and limping back to the dugout.
It was a painful end for the 23-year-old left fielder, and the White Sox.
"He's a tremendous player and obviously not having him in the lineup is not an optimal lineup for us," outfielder Adam Engel said.
In his second season with the White Sox, Jimenez batted .296/.332/.559 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 55 games.
A dangerous hitter under pressure, he led the majors with a .438 average hitting with two outs and was second in that category with 25 RBI.
Ranking 10th in the American League with 45 home runs since the start of the 2019 season, Jimenez has quickly developed into of the best young power hitters in baseball.
Signed through the 2024 season with club options for two more years, Jimenez is looking forward to getting back to the playoffs with the Sox on a regular basis.
The obvious question is his position.
Still trying to prove he can be a serviceable left fielder, Jimenez had another rough year on the defensive side.
In the third game of the season, he ran into the wall at Guaranteed Rate Field and appeared to suffer a concussion. Jimenez missed two games with "light-headedness," according to the White Sox.
A week after returning, Jimenez misjudged a Christian Yelich flyball and got tangled up in the netting at Guaranteed Rate Field. Yelich circled the bases with an inside-the-park home run.
Jimenez wants no part of being a one-dimensional DH. With continued work and more experience, he's confident has can get the job done in left.
"It's motivated me a lot because people don't think I can play defense," Jimenez said. "For me, it's a challenge. I know I can play. It is something that I want to do for myself, first, and the people talking."