Injury has helped to hinder Eloy Jimenez thus far, but missed time can’t be the only thing held against him. When he’s been on the field the results have been abysmal, hitting .227 with 6 HR and 14 RBI over 151 PA entering play on Saturday. Considering all of the hype it would seem astonishing that he’s been this bad, and it’s even more shocking that we are in June and fantasy owners were considering whether or not they should move on. Then again, considering the numbers it would be easy to argue that he’s basically been below replacement level…
Those whispers likely have been quieted after two strong days, as he homered in back-to-back games in Kansas City (3-8, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R), before taking on 0-3 on Monday. Now you have to wonder if it was just an adjustment period that was needed? Are we finally getting the rebound we’ve been waiting for, or is it just a smokescreen? We all knew that strikeouts could be part of his game, but his approach has likely been worse than envisioned:
- SwStr% – 15.0%
- O-Swing% – 36.0%
While he’s proven capable of making enough contact on fastballs, his Whiff% of 21.95% against offspeed pitches and 25.09% against breaking balls (entering play on Sunday) are highly concerning. Clearly the book against him has been to feed him a steady diet of breaking balls:
- Hard – 48.17%
- Breaking – 45.02%
- Offspeed – 6.81%
Considering that he owns a .205 BAA/.318 SLG against sliders and .105/.105 against curveballs, there’s little reason to think that there’s a change coming. The question is whether or not he will be able to make the adjustment. The preseason scouting report, courtesy of Baseball America, would make you think it’s possible:
He also shows an impressive knack for learning how pitchers plan to attack him, and then adjusting to the strategy within the same game. These qualities should allow Jimenez to be a plus hitter with plus-plus power.
Let’s not forget he got off to somewhat of a slow start at Triple-A last season (.282/.378/.462 over his first 11 games) before exploding over the final two months (64-165 with 10 HR and 29 RBI). In other words, while it’s easy to be disappointed giving up on him could be a significant mistake. There’s no questioning his power and willingness to use the entire field (29.7% Oppo%) so as he settles in and adjusts his Hard% (31.7%) and overall production will improve significantly.
Now is the time to be buying, not losing hope, so kick the tires before it’s too late.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, ESPN, MILB.com, Baseball America