Name:Eloy Jimenez, OF
Age: 18 (11/27/1996)
How acquired—Signed as free agent Aug. 1, 2013, out of the Dominican Republic. Scouted by Carlos Reyes, Gian Guzman, Jose Serra, and Miguel Diaz.
Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League (42 G, .227/.268/.367, 3 HR, 27 RBI)
Prior to Cubs
Considered the top international prospect heading into the July 2 signing period in ’13, here’s what Scout.com had to say, “Jimenez is a fine prospect. He ran a 6.72 in the 60 last January which is an above average to plus time but players in Latin countries are coached on how to post fast times and generally get the most out of the showcase culture. Jimenez's speed plays more to average during games, likely losing a step as he fills out. He's fine defensively and his arm is often average but, at this age, arm strength can vary event-to-event and some have put a 55 on his arm. While Jimenez hasn't hit in games like many scouts hoped he would or his tools would suggest, he isn't a wild-hacking all-power guy. He actually has a bat path that's in the zone a long time with power created by bat speed and strength rather than a steep angle that sacrifices contact.” The Cubs were tied to the outfielder through the entire process but didn’t make the signing official until August. He received a reported $2.8 million bonus but wasn’t able to make his Cubs debut until 2014.
The Cubs brought Jimenez stateside for fall instructional league and the following spring, was back in Mesa and ready for a taste of pro ball. Jimenez spent the summer in Arizona, first at extended spring training, and then playing 42 games in rookie league. The 17-year-old made his pro debut June 21, striking out as a pinch-hitter against the Diamondbacks. Jimenez didn’t see action until the start of July and played 22 games in July and 19 more in August. The 6-foot-4, right-hander hit .227/.268/.367 and slugged his first pro homer July 2 against the Padres. He finished the year with three long balls and showed some sense of the strike zone with 10 walks and 32 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances. After playing left for two games, Jimenez was moved to right field and logged 180 innings with an assist and one error.
The Cubs are currently deciding if Jimenez starts the season in South Bend or remains behind for extended spring training, and more seasoning before turning the youngster loose in the Midwest League. He could also see a stop in Everett before hitting South Bend but the Cubs seem interested in getting their young outfielder to the MWL by season’s end. I would be surprised if he headed north with the team as its tough enough for an 18-year-old to hit quality pitching every day for the first time in his life, its also tougher to do it when you’ve never played in 30-40 degree temperatures. Whenever Jimenez gets on the diamond, the first thing you notice is his size, a slightly slender version of Jorge Soler. Jimenez posses a strong arm that plays well in right field and good speed. Signed for his potential power, Jimenez has shown some of that this spring with some bombs in game action and impressive batting practice displays. Because of the Cubs depth in the minors, they can be patient with their young outfielder and you shouldn’t expect him in the big leagues for a few years. Like any prospect, he’ll need to stay healthy and turn his weaknesses into strengths to live up to expectations.