Eloy Jimenez, outfielder, 6-4, 200
Signed as an international free agent in 2013 for a $2.8 million bonus
Potential landing spot in 2014: Mesa (Arizona Rookie League)
Sometimes, you have to get one right.
The 2013 international class was top-heavy, mostly with hitters. The Cubs went overboard on signings, leading to a cap on player bonuses in the 2014-5 period. The Cubs snagged two of the top three consensus picks in Eloy Jimenez and shortstop Gleyber Torres, as well as a few other possibilities. I repeat myself. Sometimes you have to get one right.
While Jimenez was considered the best by most, he wasn't a unanimous top option. Some preferred other options. Jimenez sounds and looks the part, but many prospects have passed that standard before. Most of the excuses for bringing talent along have gone by the boards. The Cubs have enough scouts, many of them highly thought of. The team has a new facility in the Dominican to elicit the best. The coaches are better now. Transitional classes provide that end of things. All the pieces should be in place.
Can Eloy Jimenez actually play baseball? Therein lies the question. Cubs fans have endured too many Corey Pattersons, Felix Pies and (insert your own favorite here) in the past. While pressure will be borne up and down the system here, some of it will be deserved. If he can't play right field, why not? While it's unreasonable to demand All-Star or Bust for Jimenez or Torres, they should be quality players coming through the system.
Both are expected to skip the Dominican/Venezuelan Leagues, and report directly to Arizona for Spring Training. Expect them to stay there.
If they can't hit curve balls, teaching hitting curves will be considered a system weakness. If they are poor base runners, shouldn't those skills have been taught better? I'm probably going a bit overboard here, but (barring injuries) if these two aren't special, something probably went wrong.
If he isn't able to hit a major league slider on the black, that can be forgiven. However, if he (and they, lumping Torres in as well) don't show solid baseball skills up the ladder, presumably to about Double-A at least, there can be some criticism.
Sometimes, you just have to get one right.