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Cubs Minor League Daily: Context for Eloy Jimenez’s Breakout

Chicago Cubs

eloy jimenez homerEloy Jimenez, at the age of 19, is tearing up the Midwest League to the tune of an .890 OPS. His .331/.370/.520 average, ten home runs, and six steals make him one of the contenders for the most valuable player in the league despite being among the younger prospects.

How unusual is it, though, for a teenager to post these sorts of offensive numbers in the Midwest League?

To answer that, I sorted through Midwest League stats on Fangraphs for every year back through 2010, looking for players who managed an OPS of at least .850 in their age 18 or 19 season. I left the default values for Plate Appearance qualifiers in place; that means we will (for the most part) only be looking at players who spent the entire year in the Midwest League.

There weren’t very many of them, but the names are fairly recognizable. In fact, here is the entire list.

2010: Matt Davidson (.874)
2012: Miguel Sano (.893)
2013: Carlos Correa (.872)
2015: Bobby Bradley (.890)
2016: Eloy Jimenez (.890)

That’s the list. Davidson is slugging third baseman who struggles to make enough contact, Sano and Correa are two of the best young players in baseball today, Bradley is an unknown still, and Jimenez is a Cub.  I suspect the only name on that list you may not have heard before is Bradley, and he entered the season as the number five prospect in the Indians’ organization.

With a strikeout rate of 22.5% for the season, it is certainly possible that Jimenez follows the path of a Davidson instead of a Sano, but it is far too early to say that for sure. In fact, Sano in 2012 had a strikeout rate of 26%; Jimenez is on the high side, but still not terrifyingly high given his power. It is entirely possible that Jimenez will be just fine.

[Brett: Let’s also hope that Jimenez is just fine after leaving Friday’s game early. He hasn’t played since, but we’ve not heard about a serious injury.]

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Las Vegas 6, Iowa 2
The game was tied at two when the ninth inning began.

  • Brian Matusz: 5 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K. All in all, a good start for the former Oriole.
  • Joe Nathan: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K. He is expected to be in Chicago by the end of the week.
  • Juan Perez: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Mark Zagunis: 1 for 4, HR

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 6, Mongomery 4
The Smokies had to rally twice to break their losing streak.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Winston-Salem 7, Myrtle Beach 2
The Pelicans lacked the offense to overcome their other mistakes in this one.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 8, Kane County 5
The Cubs broke the game open with a five run third, but gave four right back in the bottom of the frame.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 7, Tri-City 6
This was a very back and forth game.

Rookie: Arizona Cubs

Arizona had the day off.

Other Notes

  • Tyler Pearson, a catcher by trade, was the DH for the Pelicans yesterday. He also pitched the final inning.
  • Eugene’s magic number for clinching the first half division title is down to three. Interestingly, the 21-9 Emeralds are six games better than any other team in the league. They have more road wins (12) than anyone else does home wins.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.