Eloy Jimenez officially announced his signing with the Cubs today in a press conference in the Dominican Republic. The move has been long-rumored, but the Cubs asked him to wait until after the trade deadline to make it official.
Gleyber Torres (ss)
Erling Moreno (rhp)
Jefferson Mejia (rhp)
Johan Matos (c)
Eloy Jimenez (of)
*Baseball America didn't include any prospect in their top 30 who had previously been eligible to sign.
The Cubs haven't acquired any additional slot space since their July 2nd trades of Ronald Torreyes to the Houston Astros and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. In combination with their lavish spending, this means they will face the maximum penalties in next year's international signing period. They will be unable to sign any prospect for more than $250,000, and will pay 100% tax on their overage this year. This will cost them an extra $2.3 million, approximately.
Leonardo Molina Signs With the Yankees
The remaining question is whether the Cubs, resigned to the maximum penalty, will pursue any of the big names left on the market. Phil Rogers had been touting Leonardo Molina and Luis Encarnacion as their next targets, but today Molina turned sixteen, and signed with the Yankees for $1.4 million. For most, this isn't a surprise, as most of these deals are unofficially completed well in advance, and Ben Badler has been predicting Molina to the Yankees for months. Luis Encarnacion turns 16 next week, and Badler is still predicting that he will sign with the Phillies. I haven't heard any other buzz connecting the Cubs to additional IFAs, but if they do make a run at someone else, OV will have you covered.
Eloy Jimenez Scouting Report
Jimenez is a big corner-outfielder with power who enjoys Dominican sunsets and Sammy Sosa homers at Wrigley Field.
Several teams see Jimenez as a better version of Elier Hernandez. He has good baseball instincts, but his bat isn’t as advanced as Guzman’s or last year’s No. 1 prospect, Blue Jays Venezuelan shortstop Franklin Barreto. Some scouts have seen him hit in games, while others haven’t seen the game dominance that would merit the type of bonus he’s expected to command. His long arms create length to his swing and he will need to keep his hips from flying open too early, but he has good hand-eye coordination and uses the middle of the field. Jimenez has average raw power and a flat swing that results in hard line drives rather than loft power. With his size and strength potential, he could grow into above-average power. Some scouts think he has the ingredients to hit, so it may be a matter of making subtle adjustments.
Jimenez is athletic for his size and in January ran the 60-yard dash in 6.72 seconds, which is above-average speed. Others have said his speed plays closer to average and because of his frame and unusual gait, he will continue to slow down as he fills out, so he’s a corner outfielder all the way. With a slightly above-average arm, he should be able to play right field.
Considered by many to be the top prospect available for the 2013 IFA class, Jimenez is a physical specimen with a major league ready body. Despite his massive frame, Jimenez is noted to have above-average speed running a 6.72 in the 60-yard dash at the recent MLB International Prospect Showcase. Possessing similar tools to Royals 2011 signing Elier Hernandez (also trained by Nina), Jimenez has a quick bat, but his swing can get long at times leading to contact issues. Given his current size at age 16, it's quite foreseeable that Jimenez will slow down some as he fills out, but his plus-plus raw power from the right side and above-average arm strength should profile just fine in an outfield corner. Jimenez regsitered a hit, two walks, and two stolen bases in three at-bats in the MLB Amateur Prospect League.
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