Cubs Minor League Daily: Eloy Jimenez Is Very, Very Good

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Eloy Jimenez Is Very, Very Good

Chicago Cubs

Normally on Sunday we take a look at the standings for each of the leagues where the Cubs’ have an affiliate, but this week that doesn’t make much sense. In short, Iowa is way out of any kind of contention at the moment, Eugene just got started, and the rest of the leagues are about to wrap up their first halves. We already know that Myrtle Beach won their division and that no one else will, so in all honesty there isn’t a lot to talk about on the standings front.

Instead, let’s talk about Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez, the best prospect in the Cubs’ farm system by a wide margin, got off to a late start due to an injury suffered in spring training, and as a result he only recently surpassed the 100 plate appearance threshold that I use as a rule of thumb before putting much stock in minor league numbers. That means we can officially get insanely excited by what Jimenez is doing in Myrtle beach.

Through 104 trips to the plate, here are the numbers: .284/.394/.545, 14.4% BB rate, 15.4% strikeout rate, and six home runs.

Are you ready for the scary part? He’s arguably been unlucky. The minor leagues do not provide the best numbers regarding batted ball rates – line drive vs groundball and so forth – but what we do have for Jimenez are right in line with his career numbers. Despite the fact that he is apparently hitting the ball has hard as ever, and spreading the ball around to all fields as is his norm, his Batting Average On Balls In Play is about .100 below his 2016 figure. A case can be made that his performance at the plate should have resulted in even higher numbers.

And that is completely nuts when you consider that his current wOBA of .411 is already a career high, and he’s doing in that league reputed to be friendly for pitchers. He has massively increased his walk rate over last year (some of that may be reluctance by Carolina League pitchers to actually pitch to him), and significantly cut back on his strikeout rate. His ISO is up to a career high .261.

(Photo by Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

Among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances in the league, Jimenez is third in wOBA, second in OPS (.940), and sixth in BB/K ratio. None of the hitters ahead of him in any of those starts are as young as he is. Some are two or more years older.

No matter how you slice it, Jimenez is looking more and more like a true, impact, elite, very premium prospect the likes of which the Cubs have not seen since the mass prospect graduations of 2015. And on top of all that, just to add to his legend, he goes out and does this.

Eloy Jimenez is very good at baseball, and I cannot wait to see what he does in Tennessee later this season.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa 8, Omaha 1
The Cubs got their scoring out of the way by the third inning.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Chattanooga 7, Tennessee 5
A pair of errors led to the Smokies giving up four unearned runs.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 4, Down East 2 in ten innings.
The Pelicans won despite committing two errors.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Lake County 5, South Bend 3 in ten innings.
The Cubs bullpen was unable to put this one away.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 4, Vancouver 2
The Emeralds have their first win of the season.

Other Notes

  • After working through a string of really bad starts in April and May, Aaron Brooks has started to pitch pretty well for Iowa lately. He’s allowed no more than one earned run in three of his last four starts and has dropped his ERA by about a point and a half in the process. He’s still giving up more home runs than he can really afford to, but the overall trend is moving in the right direction. In a few more weeks he may be ready for a spot start in Chicago.
  • The Myrtle Beach Pelicans already had five mid-season All Stars this year, and now they have six. Reliever Pedro Araujo has been added to an All Star roster that already features Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Bryant Flete, Daniel Spingola, and Eloy Jimenez.

Author: Luke Blaize

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