Highly hyped entering the season, for much of the year Eloy Jimenez has disappointed. While he missed some time due to injury, the disappointment went beyond that. Through August 28 he was hitting .237 with 22 HR and 52 RBI over 384 PA as he brought a questionable approach (15.1% SwStr%, 35.8% O-Swing%) and was consistently driving the ball into the ground (49.4% groundball rate). While the former was expected, the latter is a problem considering people thought he could deliver elite level power from Day 1.
Starting on August 29 he’s been hitting the ball with significantly more authority (46.5% Hard%), while also trading groundballs (39.5%) for line drives (30.2%). That alone gives some credence to his .345 AVG over this stretch, while he’s added 4 HR and 14 RBI. While he’s struggled a bit to stay within the strike zone (39.8% O-Swing%), he has cut his SwStr% dramatically (11.2%).
So now the question has to be whether or not Jimenez has feasted on a slew of pitchers who don’t necessarily belong in the Majors? It’s always tough to decipher September stats, so let’s take a look at who he’s taken deep during this stretch:
- Mike Clevinger
- Carlos Carrasco
- Jakob Junis
- Glen Sparkman
The home run off of Carrasco came in his second appearance off the IL, but for the most part it’s a group of familiar names. That helps to support a bit of development on Jimenez’ part, and while he has posted a 33.3% HR/FB in September it would actually mark the fourth time this season that he’s posted a mark above 25%. In other words, what’s not to believe?
While there’s been some disappointment this season, he’s proven that there’s still a lot more here. Maybe he continues to struggle with strikeouts throughout his career, but he’s showing that he can be an above average player for the rest of the season and beyond.
Hopefully you didn’t give up on him and sell low while he was struggling, because we’re seeing what’s possible.
Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN, CBS Sports