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.
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.