by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
While Eloy Jimenez has not been promoted yet, the White So are on record saying that is time is growing close. As soon as he’s healthy (he’s been sidelined the past few days due to an illness) it’s not going to be long before he’s roaming the Chicago outfield. With that in mind let’s take a look at what he’s done in ’18 and what type of production we can expect for his first taste of the Majors.
First, his numbers split between Double and Triple-A:
314 At Bats
.338 Batting Average (106 Hits)
18 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.388 On Base Percentage
.599 Slugging Percentage
.355 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously his batting average is inflated by an unsustainable BABIP, though the risk goes a bit beyond that. There is definitely the potential for a regression in his strikeout rate, as more advanced pitching could help to expose the risk. Just look at his strikeout rate // SwStr% at each level this season:
- Double-A (228 PA) – 17.1% // 12.4%
- Triple-A (120 PA) – 11.7% // 11.7%
The fact that he’s improved upon his promotion is promising, though it also is a rather small sample size. The concerns were voiced by Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 in their preseason scouting report, as he wrote:
He doesn’t currently control the strike zone well but as he matures and develops, his aggressive approach should be tapered. However, he’s always likely to swing and miss a lot but with a trade-off of double-plus power.
Especially upon arriving in the Majors it’s quite likely that he struggles with an elevated strikeout rate. Playing for three different teams in 2017 (including 18 games at Double-A) he posted a 19.5% strikeout rate and with the swing and miss it’s possible that it jumps into the 24-27% range. That’s going to help to limit his average upside, with a ceiling in the .260ish range. If he’s going to mash the baseball and push for a 30+ HR pace, though, is anyone going to complain?
Long-term he could figure it out, but think of his ceiling in ’18 as Khris Davis like (through Tuesday Davis owns a 15.3% SwStr%, 25.9% strikeout rate and .256 AVG). Of course Davis also takes a more fly ball-centric approach (46.9%), with Jimenez owning a 38.6% fly ball rate in the minors. Even with below average speed, that should allow him to maintain a better BABIP as he hits the ball hard and could find some holes… Maybe, at least, as a 50.4% Pull% in the minor leagues could cause him to be more prone to the shift.
At the end of the day, assuming he gets 150 AB in the Majors this season we’d expect a line in the realm of:
.255 with 8 HR, 25 RBI and 20 R
Maybe that’s not a difference maker, but it represents the risks he could face of being exposed initially before he figures it out. Obviously he’s a must own, but don’t expect him to simply hit the ground running and be 2018s version of Rhys Hoskins (though it’s not impossible).
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Prospect 361
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Midseason Rankings: