Jimenez, Robert, Adolfo envision future White Sox outfield
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox’ prized corner-outfield prospect, Luis Robert, a Cuban center-field prospect the Sox invested $52 million in, and Micker Adolfo, a strong-armed right fielder who as a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic in 2013 got a team-record $1.6 million signing bonus, were talking about the future around the batting cage Tuesday.
“The future” is a favorite topic most Sox fans have dived into for a year now. It’s a nice conversation, what with those three painting a nice outfield picture on future depth charts and many others seemingly giving a team that hasn’t sniffed a postseason nine years running a chance to maybe, just maybe, be consistently good in a couple of years.
“Actually, just a few minutes ago when we were taking BP, we were talking about it,’’ said Jimenez, the acquisition from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade who, as the No. 4-ranked minor-leaguer in baseball, probably rates as the face of the Sox’ prospect stockpile. “Micker and Luis said, ‘Can you imagine if we had the opportunity one day to play together in the majors, right, left and center field? The three of us together having the opportunity to bring a championship to this team.’ I think that’s a dream for us, and we’re trying to work hard for that.’’
These are the kinds of words surfacing from spring training that help Sox fans plod through another week of cold, snow, rain, wet basements and more cold.
Patience is key. Only Jimenez has a chance to see the big leagues this season, and all three of them will open in the minors, Jimenez likely where he left off at Class AA Birmingham and Robert and Adolfo at high Class A Winston-Salem, although Robert might be ticketed for low A Kannapolis depending on how he fares in Cactus League games, which begin Friday.
Last year, everyone wanted to know when Yoan Moncada would get called up. This year, it’s when right-hander Michael Kopech and Jimenez are getting the call.
“I don’t try to set a date for when I’m going to be in the majors,’’ Jimenez said. “I’m just trying to do my best every day, and when God thinks the right time is coming, that’s good for me.’’
Since he came from the Cubs’ organization last summer, Jimenez hasn’t minced words about his perceived readiness for the majors, although he toned that down a bit Tuesday.
But Sox outfielder-infielder Leury Garcia played some winter ball in the Dominican Republic with Jimenez and saw firsthand what the fuss is about.
“Man, he’s going to be good,’’ Garcia said. “Tons of talent. Hits with power and not just homers. He makes contact, uses the whole field. And he can play defense.
“Personality-wise, he’s awesome. Good teammate, smiling, happy, enjoying the game.’’
Robert (whose last name is pronounced like the conventional first name) said he, Jimenez and Adolfo (whose first name rhymes with biker) talked about going through the system together.
“We were talking about having the first stage of the three of us together in the minors, then going to the majors, all three of us together,’’ Robert said. “To have the opportunity should be special for us. We were dreaming about that.’’
Jimenez, Robert and other prospects will be big storylines as spring training winds down. Coaches, teammates, fans and media are all looking forward to seeing them get playing time in Cactus League games.
All seem optimistic about the future, Jimenez included.
“I’m very excited because I know from the time we have here, that when the moment comes, we can all be in the majors,’’ he said. “The ones that can reach that level, we’re going to be good. We’re going to be terrific. I know that.”
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.