On Tuesday night, the Midwest League held their 2016 All-Star game, and among the players in attendance was Cubs big, breakout, outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez.
Playing for the East, Jimenez started in left field and hit third in the lineup, but went hitless for most of the game (although he did have an RBI ground out in the 7th). I say “hitless for most of the game,” though, because in the ninth inning he did something pretty cool.
But first, let me set the stage.
By the end of the third inning the Midwest West All-Stars had already taken a commanding 8-1 lead over the East. Jimenez hadn’t done much offensively, going 0-4 with two strikeouts, and the game appeared to be out of reach. But in the top of the ninth inning, the East had pulled within three runs, when Tigers prospect David Gonzalez led off with a single that was immediately followed by a single from Cubs prospect Donnie Dewees.
Then, just before leaving the dugout, Jimenez told Indians prospect Willi Castro that he was going to hit a home run. Jimenez stepped up to the plate and did just that:
Jimenez took the first pitch of the at-bat out to straight away center field, clearing the 400 foot wall with ease. Two singles and a wild pitch later, and the East took an 11-10 lead that they refused to relinquish in the bottom of the 9th. It was a storybook ending for a very young, but clearly talented Eloy Jimenez, who was also recognized as the game’s MVP.
“I just (tried to) focus and be in the moment,” Jimenez said via Baseball America. “Tried to hit a slider, a breaking ball, something up. He threw me a slider, and I swung and hit it well.” Jimenez hit it well, indeed, but he wasn’t the only Cubs prospect who had a nice night.
Jimenez’s outfield-mate Donnie Dewees also made the 2016 Midwest League All-Star game this year, and the 22-year-old lefty was in centerfield for the East. In fact, Dewees was one of the runs to score on Jimenez’s homer, and he had a pretty fantastic game, overall. Starting in center field and leading off, Dewees went 2-4 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI and three runs scored on the evening.
Check out his RBI single that cut the West’s lead in half:
It was a good night for the East and a good night for Cubs prospects.
Oh, and Jimenez’s .914 OPS at the All-Star break leads the Midwest League by a good margin.