Eloy Jimenez is becoming our new favorite topic around these parts. Not only is he destroying the Carolina League, and not only is he appearing in trade rumors (which just proves that other GMs are good at their jobs), he’s now literally shattering stadium light fixtures while hitting home runs.
We’ve seen some very good hitting prospects come through the Cubs’ farm system lately. Anthony Rizzo. Javier Baez. Jorge Soler. Kris Bryant. Kyle Schwarber. Addison Russell. Willson Contreras. We’ve seen prospects who do ridiculous things on a nightly basis, guys who make baseball look easy. Jimenez does not take a back seat to any of them.
Just for fun, let’s check on where each of the above players were at the age of 20.
Rizzo (2010): High A and Double A with the Boston system. He finished that year with an OPS of .814.
Baez (2013): High A and Double A, finishing with an OPS of .920.
Soler (2012): Rookie and Low A, finishing with an OPS of .832.
Bryant (2012): Not a professional. He was still in college.
Schwarber (2013): Not a professional. He was also in college.
Russell (2014): High A and Double A, not to mention being traded to the Cubs. He finished with an OPS of .820.
Contreras (2012): Short Season A with an OPS of .673.
Jimenez is likely to be moved to Double A before the end of the season, and right now he has an OPS of .927. So far as his recent historical comparisons are concerned, comparisons we will likely continue to make as he puts up huge production numbers with very healthy walk and strikeout rates, Jimenez compares favorably to the rest of the Cubs’ best young hitters. In fact, at least so far, he compares well with just about anyone.
When it is all said and done, he may well be on the same offensive tier as Bryant and Rizzo. And that “when” could be as soon as next season.
If you are reluctant to see Jimenez traded for anything less than a jaw-dropping, no-brainer of a return, I can’t really fault you. Trading Jimenez could mean the Cubs are trading a perennial MVP candidate. He has a chance to be that good. Sometimes those trades have to be made, but I’m not going to argue with anyone who prefers to dream on a lineup that features Jimenez batting right behind Bryant and Rizzo.
- Seth Frankoff: 7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 4 K
- Dylan Floro: 1 IP, 1 H
- Zac Rosscup: 0.2 IP, 1 K
- Chris Dominguez: 1 for 3, HR
Double A: Tennessee Smokies
The Smokies are enjoying their All Star break.
High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Pelicans are enjoying their All Star break.
Low A: South Bend Cubs
The Cubs are enjoying their All Star break.
- Matt Swarmer: 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K
- Elvis Diaz: 2.1 IP, 1 K
- Connor Myers: 2 for 4, 2B
- Gustavo Polanco: 2 for 4
- Kwang-Min Kwon: 1 for 4, HR
- Zach Davis: 2 for 3, HR
- Even though the Cubs need multi-year arms (please, no more rental trades …), and even though Jimenez would definitely be a huge part of bringing in one of those arms, I do not yet see a Jimenez trade as a foregone conclusion. The Cubs may not be able to land the very best of the pitching market without dealing Jimenez, but they also have a very valuable player in Jeimer Candelario lurking in Iowa who is going to be attractive to other GMs. A package built around Candelario and a couple of the Cubs young arms (the Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Dylan Cease, Trevor Clifton group, for example) could prove compelling in a lot of potential deals. The Cubs have more options than dealing Jimenez or doing nothing.
- While the Smokies were slumping a bit towards the end of the first half, their third baseman Jason Vosler was playing very well indeed. In that final week he hit three home runs in a span of four games to raise his season total to 13, and in the process raised his season SLG to .521 – good for second in the league. As a result, he was named the Player of the Week by the Southern League.
- There are three minor league All Star Games tonight, all three featuring a lot of Cubs, and all three are on MiLB.tv. The Carolina League and the Midwest League games beings at 7:05 PM ET, the Southern League All Star game starts at 7:30 PM ET.
- It turns out that Jimenez’s light breaking shot wasn’t even his most ridiculous of the day; he cleared the light tower altogether beforehand. Despite those blasts, he did not win the home run derby.