Prospect of the Weekend: Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago Cubs (Low-A South Bend): 4-for-5, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, K.
With Gleyber Torres now a member of the New York Yankees, is Jimenez now the best prospect in Chicago? Ian Happ might have something to say about that, but Jimenez certainly has the highest ceiling of any Cubs hitter. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, and he’s gonna be a good-enough defender in an outfield corner to let you play him every day. If you’re sick of hearing about the young talent in the Chicago system, you might wanna look away, because Eloy could be the next great one.
Others of Note
Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals (Triple-A Omaha): 3-for-6, 2 R, HR, K. While he wasn’t impressive at the Futures Game, Bonifacio has undoubtedly reclaimed some of that lost prospect luster in 2016.
Josh Hader, LHP, MIlwaukee Brewers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. When Hader throws strikes, he’s nasty. He just hasn’t done that enough since the promotion, and he’s also pitching in a dreadful ballpark/league for pitchers.
Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. It wouldn’t shock me if Sims ended up being anything from a third starter to an up-and-down bullpen guy. The stuff is that good and the command is that poor. He had the good command on Friday, though.
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (Double-A Midland): 3-for-5, R, 2B, CS. When you look at Barreto’s numbers and aren’t inspired, keep in mind that he’s 20 and he had a dreadful start. He’s one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball, still.
Jon Harris, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. A much better second start than his first start in the Florida State League. With three pitches that flash plus, however, we sure would like to see him miss more bats.
Devin Williams, RHP, Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. There was a time when Williams was one of the best prospects in the MIlwaukee system. The times have changed, but Williams is still interesting with two plus pitches and an okay third.
Willi Castro, SS, Cleveland (Low-A Lake County): 4-for-5, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, K. I had something written about Castro being the new best shortstop prospect in Cleveland, but then the Lucroy trade got cancelled, and it’s probably still Erik Gonzalez, anyway.
Kelbert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (Short-Season Ogden): 3-for-4, R, 2 2B, K. Ruiz’s bat is ahead of his glove right now, but he’s got a chance to stay behind the plate with a plus throwing arm and decent athleticism.
Alec Hansen, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Short-Season Great Falls): 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Keep in mind that Hansen was a legit 1-1 candidate coming into the spring, and he’s shown that type of stuff for the most part as a professional.
Ty Blach, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Triple-A Sacramento): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Blach has one of the best changeups in the San Francisco system, and that along with good control gives him a chance to start despite none of his other offerings flashing better than average.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins (Double-A Chattanooga): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Tyler Jay gets most of the hype and has the higher ceiling, but you shouldn’t be surprised if Gonsalves ends up having the better career as a starter. It’s sure nice to have both if you’re Minnesota.
Donnie Dewees, OF, Cubs (High-A Myrtle Beach): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB. Since being promoted to Myrtle Beach, Dewees is hitting .450/.522/.700. Probably not sustainable, but nice to see.
Ryan Castellani, RHP, Colorado Rockies (High-A Modesto): 9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. It’s still weird to me to say that the Rockies are loaded with pitching, but, the Rockies are loaded with pitching.
Ricardo Sanchez, LHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Sanchez has had more downs than ups in the Sally League, but he’s 19, and he is still showing two plus pitches at times. It’s gonna be a long road, but the payoff could be huge.
Eric Jenkins, OF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 6-for-9, R, 2B, K, SB. Nice. The Rangers second-round pick last June, Jenkins has excellent speed and can go get it in center field. If he can cut the strikeouts down, he might have an average hit tool, too.
Bryan Reynolds, OF, Giants (Short-season Salem-Keizer): 3-for-4, 2 R. I’m still surprised that Reynolds fell to the Giants so late in the draft. Every tool but the arm has a chance to be at least average, and he can give you above-average defense at three outfield positions.
Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves (Short-Season GCL): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Ian Anderson has never given up a professional run, which is a record.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland (Triple-A Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R, K, SB. Even with the strikeouts and the concerns about the platoon stats, Zimmer can still be an impact player who can make a difference in every aspect of the game. Well, outside pitching. Zimmer probably won’t pitch.
Adam Plutko, RHP, Cleveland (Triple-A Columbus): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. He’s never going to miss a ton of bats, but he has four competent pitches, and he throws all four for strikes. That gives him a chance to pitch every fifth day.
Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees (Double-A Trenton): 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. You know how people love to say Yankees prospects get overrated? I know that’s not true, because this guy is ridiculously underrated. Even with the trades, he’s still one of their top 10 prospects.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 2-for-5, 2 R, HR. You know how people love to say Atlanta prospects are over… okay no one has ever said anything of the sort. Swanson continues to be really good.
LaMonte Wade, OF, wins (High-A Fort Myers): 2-for-3, 2 HR, K. Power is actually Wade’s “weakest” tool, as he’s more of the get-on-base-and-run type. It’s nice to know it’s there, though.
Yency Almonte, RHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto_:7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K. If the change can be even be average, Almonte has a chance to be a starter. If it can’t, his plus-plus fastball and above-average slider will serve him well in the bullpen.
Gage Hinsz, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The Pirates 11th-round pick in 2014, Hinsz has beaten expectations, showing a 60 fastball, two average offspeed pitches, and vastly improved control.
Matt Thaiss, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (Low-A Burlington): 2-for-4, R, 2B. I would have given Thaiss a chance to catch, but with a chance for a plus hit tool and average power, I don’t blam them for seeing if the bat can fast-track at first base.
Blake Rutherford, OF, Yankees (Short-Season Pulaski): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, BB. Since being called up to Pulaski, Rutherford is hitting .446/.493/.723 with 12 extra-base hits in 17 games. That’s a pretty quick adjustment, in my opinion.
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, New York Mets (Short-Season Brooklyn): After dominating in Kingsport, Szapucki has been just as good in his first two starts with Brooklyn. Both the fastball and curve are plus, and the change and command have made tremendous progress since he was a prep in Florida. This really could be the next big Mets pitching prospect.