The Cubs’ top prospect, Eloy Jimenez, is receiving quite a bit of attention these days. First, he got a non-roster invitation to spring training, an unusual honor for someone who hasn’t played above A ball.
Now, he’s been slotted as the No. 14 overall prospect in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects, which were revealed Saturday.
Four other Cubs were on the MLB Pipeline list: second baseman Ian Happ at No. 28, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. at No. 76, right-hander Dylan Cease at No. 77 and third baseman Jeimer Candelario at No. 96. Almora, whose baserunning in Game 7 of the World Series was a key play in the Cubs’ win, just made it under the 130 plate-appearance qualification to keep his prospect status. Candelario also had some brief time in the big leagues last year.
Jimenez, who turned 20 in November, hit .329/.369/.532 with 40 doubles and 14 home runs for Low-A South Bend in 2016. He also played in two postseason games for High-A Myrtle Beach, going 3-for-8 with two walks, and then hit .255/.323/.491 (14-for-55) with three home runs as one of the youngest players in the Arizona Fall League.
After getting some good experience in early big-league spring games, he’ll likely start 2017 at Myrtle Beach, with the possibility of being promoted to Double-A Tennessee later in the year if all goes well.
The photo at the top of this post depicts the fantastic catch Jimenez made in last summer’s Futures Game in San Diego. That’s worth a further look:
You’ll note that former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, now in the Yankees system, is MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect.
The Cubs won the World Series in part because of the trade that sent Torres to New York. I’m fine with that.
Cease, who has been brought along slowly due to injuries, will probably start the season at South Bend. He just turned 21 last month.
Happ, after a fine Double-A season and hitting two home runs in the AFL championship game, will also play in some early spring games and then head to Triple-A Iowa, and perhaps have a September callup this year.