Clifton, Jimenez tabbed Cubs top minor leaguers
Trevor Clifton was named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year and OF Eloy Jimenez was named the organization’s top position player.
Clifton posted a 7-7 record and led the Carolina League in ERA (2.72), WHIP (1.16) and opponents batting average (.225), while finishing third in strikeouts (129). The right-hander was named the league's Pitcher of the Year while also being honored as both a midseason and postseason All-Star.
A native of Maryville, Tennessee led the Pelicans to their second consecutive Carolina League Championship, winning both of his postseason starts. Clifton surrendered just one run on eight hits over 12 postseason innings, fanning 11 against only one walk.
Including the postseason, Clifton turned in 10 straight quality starts to finish the season. Over that stretch, the former 12th round pick out of Heritage High School in Tennessee went 5-1 with a 1.46 ERA, striking out 65 in 61.2 innings while allowing just 36 hits and 10 walks (0.75 WHIP).
That performance earned Clifton the Cubs' Pitcher of the Month honors for August, where he registered a 0.85 ERA, not allowing a run in four of his five starts. He also took home the award in May, when he went 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA. He led all Cubs minor leaguers in strikeouts.
Clifton has gone 19-19 with a 3.52 ERA (117 ER/299.0 IP) in 67 minor league starts, all but eight as starter, in four seasons with Rookie League Mesa (2013), Boise (2014), South Bend (2015) and Myrtle Beach (2016).
Eloy Jimenez was named Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year after batting .329/.369/.532 with 40 doubles, three triples, 14 HR, 65 runs and 81 RBI in 112 games with South Bend. He led the MWL league in doubles, slugging, and OPS, ranked second in RBI and total bases (230) and was third in batting average (.329). He led all Cubs minor leaguers in average and ranked second in RBI.
Named a Midwest League mid-season and post-season All-Star, the 19-year-old earned two Player of the Week honors and was named Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for May after batting .364/.407/.627 with eight doubles, seven homers and 23 RBI in 28 games.
He was named to the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in San Diego and smacked a long homer to go along with a double, four RBI and a diving grab in the stands. Jimenez was added to the Myrtle Beach roster for the final three games of the playoffs and went 3-for-11 with two RBI.
Considered one of the top international prospects in 2013, the Dominican Republic native signed with the Cubs for a reported $2.8 million. In 211 minor league games, the 6-foot-4 right-hander has hit .297/.338/.469 with 24 HR and 141 RBI.
Jimenez top pick in DWL Draft
On the same day he was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year, Eloy Jimenez was the top pick in the 2016 Dominican Winter League draft by Gigantes. RHP Oscar De La Cruz (5th round) and Jose Paulino (6th round) were both taken by Estrellas. Former Cubs prospect Frandy Delarosa, now with Texas, was selected by Leones in the eighth round.