Today, the Chicago Cubs announced their minor league player and pitcher of the year, and you will be completely unsurprised to see …
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 15, 2016
Jimenez, 19, joined the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans for their just-completed Carolina League Championship run, but spent his season mashing with Low-A South Bend, posting the best numbers the Midwest League, where he was about three years younger than the average player. For the year, he hit .329/.369/.532 with a 162 wRC+. It was the big breakout many knew was coming after the Cubs made him the top IFA back in 2013.
Now, Jimenez will head to the prospect-laded Arizona Fall League. More fun for us.
Clifton, 21, had a very solid year at Low-A in 2015, his first full season league. All he did in 2016 was improve in pretty much every single way at a higher level. With the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Clifton posted a 2.72 ERA, a 3.05 FIP, a 26.2% K rate, and an 8.3% BB rate. He gave up just 4(!) home runs in 119.0 innings. Hit this guy hard, you could not.
A 12th round pick out of high school in 2013, the Cubs gave Clifton an over slot bonus to get him in the system, and nobody is regretting that decision. Clifton figures to be at AA next year, and, as we’ve seen, pretty much anything can happen from there. The step up is a big challenge, but Clifton is very good. You’re going to see him getting a serious prospecting bump this offseason.