Fresh off a return from a week on the bench, presumably resting up some undisclosed minor boo-boo, and fresh off winning all the awards, top Chicago Cubs prospect – yes, we’re calling him that now – Eloy Jimenez homered on Tuesday, his 13th of the year in 107 games.
To show he is 100% and appreciative of the awards, though (I can only assume), Jimenez doubled down with another blast last night as part of a crazy South Bend Cubs win that featured the team blowing a 9-2 lead, and then falling behind by a run in the 10th inning, only to walk if off with two runs in the bottom of the 10th.
This time, Jimenez’s homer was a monster shot, though, traveling 423 feet and heading out way over the berm:
That one went all the way out in the kids play area. Watch out when Eloy’s up to bat, kiddos!
The homer, Jimenez’s 14th on the year, helped push his season line to a ridiculous .336/.376/.543. That .919 OPS leads the league by 63(!) points. And this is a 19-year-old kid in a league where the median age is 22. Am I doing a sufficient job imparting on you just how much Jimenez has crushed it this year?
If you were picking nits, you’d point to the walk rate under 6% or the BABIP approaching .400, but part of the explanation for those is that, at this level, he’s simply able to rip the ball so hard so consistently that he’s not going to take many walks (pitchers aren’t exactly trying to pitch around a guy in A-ball) and he’s going to have an elevated BABIP. The strikeout rate is still under 20%, which is solid, especially for a slugger at his age in that level. Yes, you’d like to see the ISO a little higher and the walk rate a little higher, but, again, we’re just picking nits. The nearest comparison, offensively, that we have in recent memory is a 19-year-old Javy Baez at the same level, where he showed a little more power, struck out a little more, and walked a lot less. Of course, Baez was a shortstop with defensive upside at that point, so he was a more highly-regarded prospect. Still, that’s incredible offensive company if you think back to what Baez’s bat was like in the minors (and how it continues to evolve even to this day).
This has been a huge, huge year for Jimenez, who will be a top 50 – maybe even top 30 – prospect in all of baseball to every single ranking service after this season. No question about it.