Two years ago on this day, the Chicago Cubs went on an IFA spending binge, the biggest prize of which – by signing bonus, anyway – was huge Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
Jimenez, now 18, came to the States for his rookie ball debut last year, but injuries largely derailed his season. Still, a good showing in Spring Training (seeing him in person was quite an experience, as he’s physically so much bigger than basically anyone else … despite being so young) got him into short-season Low-A ball this year, where he’s been hitting in the middle of the lineup for the Eugene Emeralds.
Last night, he did this:
That’s a laser rocket to left, and is where his power is right now. The ball comes off of his bat very hard as the natural byproduct of his size, but he’s not quite yet able to leverage that size into game power. There’s not a ton of loft on the ball when he hits it, but, given his youth, I wouldn’t be worried about the raw power not showing up eventually in games. It’s just something that takes time. Indeed, his hitting coach says Jimenez’s focus right now is on becoming a good all-around hitter, and then working on the power later.
The rest of his offensive game is very impressive, as he is willing to take walks, and hits at a high contact rate. On the year (14 games), Jimenez is hitting .321/.387/.446 with 9.7% walk rate and a mere 14.5% strikeout rate. It’s still very, very early … but I get excited thinking about this guy’s offensive potential.
Which, in turn, makes me excited about the new crop of IFA prospects the Cubs are bringing in today.