Cardinals reach down into their system and pluck another piece of quality big league depth
The Cubs signed Eloy Jiménez for $2.8m out of the Dominic Republic in 2013. The Cubs blew past their bonus pool limits to sign Eloy and Gleyber Torres who were at the top of this international class. The two developed in to valuable assets the Cubs used to bolster their bid for a World Series. After dealing Gleyber to the Yankees in 2016, the Cubs sent Eloy to the cross town White Sox as the headliner in a package for LHP Jose Quintana in 2017.
At 6’4”, 205 lbs., he’s a presence in the box, and his size is warning enough of what he’s capable of. He has the appearance of a hulking slugger, but he’s more than that. Jimenez hit .337 and .312 the last two minor league seasons, becoming one of the top prospects in the game. With the Southsiders looking to excelerate their competitive window, they signed Eloy to a record-breaking deal for a player with no service time. The deal is for 6 years, $43 million with two option years that can push it closer to $75 million.
Eloy is a complete hitter and becomes one of the best hitters in the American League immediately.
Defense (40 Field/45 Arm): Eloy has alternated between left and right field in his pro career thus far, but his below-average arm makes him a better fit for left. He doesn’t cover much ground in the outfield and is a sub-par defender and designated hitter could be his future long term role.
Power (70 Game/80 Raw): The power comes easy, and there isn’t a fence in any ballpark that Eloy can’t clear. He famously did his best Roy Hobbs impersonation when he took out a light tower during the 2017 Carolina League home run derby. The swing is simple and repeatable. He starts his hands from a low slot, and at the top of his leg kick his hands rise up and his hips do their job. The result is a seemingly effortless stroke that produces hard contact and elite exit velocities. He’s already worthy of being a centerpiece in any lineup.
Hit (55 Present/70 Future): The above average present and future plus hit tool is the separator for Jiménez. It’s rare to come across a hitter of his size and power peak that has the ability to control the zone and recognize spin like he does. He’s a tireless worker that has famously been seen working on pitch recognition drills early in the morning after a two-strikeout game in the minors. He studies pitchers and their game plans and reacts and adjusts due to how they attack him. He makes consistent hard contact while posting sub-20% strikeout rates for a majority of his pro career. After a sub-par spring the plan right now is to attack him with breaking balls, and in fact 15 of the first 21 pitches he saw in the big leagues were breaking balls. It will be fun to see what happens when he adjusts.
Speed (40 Present/30 Future): Speed isn’t a part of his game, and he’s a good enough hitter where it doesn’t matter. I do expect him to slow down as he gets more physically mature.
Prediction: The White Sox have a franchise building block here, and he will be the face of the south side squad for at least the next six years, likely more. I believe Eloy can hit .290 right now, and is a .300+ hitter at his peak. Our Prospects Live peak projection was .310/.360/.580 while also hitting 40 homers. He draws Miguel Cabrera comps for a reason. The White Sox are going to let Eloy finish developing at the big league level, and he will become a top five hitter in baseball at his peak.