White Sox Eloy Jimenez Out 5-6 Months With Ruptured Left Pectoral Tendon
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Eloy Jimenez.
One week from Opening Day, one of the World Series favorites suffered a crushing blow to their chances. White Sox left fielder Eloy Jiménez suffered a rupture of his left pectoral tendon, the team announced Thursday. The expected timeframe for recovery is 5-6 months.
Jiménez, who suffered the injury while jumping at the fence for a home run during a Spring Training game on Wednesday, was expected to be a lynchpin in one of the most dangerous lineups in MLB in 2021. The 24-year-old is coming off a strong sophomore campaign in which he hit .296/.332/.559 with 14 home runs in 55 games for a White Sox team that made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
With Jiménez out — as well as Adam Engel on the mend for multiple weeks with a hamstring injury — the White Sox outfield thins out quickly. The team brought in Adam Eaton during the offseason, but with Jiménez out the Opening Day roster seems likely to include Billy Hamilton, who was signed as a non-roster invitee just nine days ago and is with his sixth organization in the last seven months. The White Sox also have former top prospect Nick Williams in camp, and it’s possible he makes the team to soak up plate appearances in the early going, as well.
One relevant playing time benefactor from this injury could be Andrew Vaughn. The 2019 No. 3 draft pick hasn’t yet played a game in the upper minors, but has looked good in spring training, and the injury to Jiménez could open up a path to the 22-year-old making the roster as a DH who occasionally spells Jose Abreu at first base. Vaughn is the No. 14 prospect in MLB according to MLB Pipeline, No. 21 on Baseball America, and No. 14 on Baseball Prospectus. He will also reportedly see time in left field during the final week of Spring Training.
Tony La Russa said Vaughn will start in left field tomorrow and “you’ll see him out there as much as possible” over final week
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) March 25, 2021
Late last month PointsBet released data that showed the White Sox as the biggest liability in a number of futures. At the time, 28% of all World Series futures were on the White Sox. Similarly, Jiménez was a popular MVP pick (+4000 with 18% of the bet count, second to teammate Tim Anderson) and was the most popular pick to win the home run crown (+1500 with 26% of the bet count, ahead of Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton).