Hey world! (Hand waving emoji) Meet Eloy Jimenez, you might know who Eloy is. You might think “Ralph, he’s a top 2-3 prospect dude, we know Eloy!”. It’s true, you know Eloy, you’ve seen the production, you’ve seen me tell you Eloy for Jose Quintana was a mistake (please, lets not rehash this Cubs fans. Cool?), but what you haven’t seen, more than likely, is this big boy bang out in the flesh. I had the distinct pleasure of taking in Eloy over the weekend in Pawtucket, and man, he didn’t disappoint. Easy power, from a simple, but refined swing, breathtaking plate coverage, bat speed, and strike zone awareness. I’ve been fortunate this year to see some of the top bats in the minors since the beginning of the season. I’ve seen Vlad, more than I’ve seen my children since April, same goes for Bo Bichette, and Brendan Rodgers. Ronald Acuna, I caught in April in AAA, and in early May at Fenway. So suffice it to say, I have a good measuring stick for offensive prowess at the moment. From a hitting perspective, absent of athleticism, and other tools, only Vlad is better than Eloy in that regard. Really an impressive talent, he went 3-for-4 on Sunday, connecting for an opposite field shot in his first at bat, before knocking two singles later in the game, one to right, and the other to left. It’s really a beautiful swing, here’s a look at an open face swing on his homer in the third. Look how clean the bat path is, how quick his hands are, and how he engages his lower half. It’s beautiful.
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) July 29, 2018
Now for the question everyone is asking. When’s he up boss? I. Don’t. Know. The White Sox have no reason to push him to the majors, outside of pleasing the fanbase. If I’m Rick Hahn, I keep Eloy down all season, give him the Acuna/Bryant treatment in 2019, and don’t look back. “But Ralph how can they keep him down?” I’ll tell you, his defense in the outfield BLOWS! Dude, fell on a routine flyball in the 8th. He’s not the most athletic guy, kind of flat-footed and bull-legged. He’s a leftfield only future DH to me. The arm is solid, but he doesn’t take great routes to the ball, and doesn’t cover much ground. Vlad Jr. for all his weight issues, and defensive knocks, is not only significantly smoother in the field, he’s faster and more athletic. I said it like this to one of my friends, Eloy is the dude that always plays center in pickup basketball, he can protect the rim, block shots, rebound, and throw it down, Vlad is the chubby dude that takes you off the dribble, and starts hitting off-balance diaper shots in the lane. One is a specimen of strength, the other is a freak. They will both be stars, but Eloy has little value defensively. Thank god this is fantasy, that doesn’t really matter, does it?
- Very excited to be taking in Alex Faedo’s start tomorrow night at New Hampshire. The former Florida ace, has been very good this year across two levels of the minors. The swing and miss stuff hasn’t been there as much as you’d like to see, but he’s handled the transition well, compiling a 3-6 record, with a 3.39 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .210 BAA, with a FIP just under 4, and 14.2% K-Bb%. The scouting reports I’ve received are better than his stats indicate. Fastball is really effective to righthanded hitters, the slider has gotten everything from plus grades to average grades over the years, and of late the changeup has gotten some love from those that have seen him. The mechanics are funky, but Tigers beat reporter Emily Waldon had a nice side by side of he and Max Scherzer. I am not saying he’s Max Scherzer, Emily is not saying he’s Max Scherzer, but it’s striking. I’m reserving judgement until I see it myself.
Should get another look this weekend since his start yesterday was rained out after 9 pitches pic.twitter.com/E1qbWvCTIk
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) June 1, 2018
- The swing change for Cavan Biggio has continued to pay dividends this year as he continues to set new personal bests. On Wednesday the slugging second baseman, hit his 22nd and 23rd homers of the season, good enough for second in the Eastern League, one behind “all or nothing king” Bobby Bradley. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Jonathan Davis seeing promotion to AAA Buffalo Biggio should not be too far off. Earlier this season I expected at least a cup of coffee in September, but at the moment I’m not 100% sold on that.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 2, 2018
- The Braves were on a promotion kick the last few days, they promoted Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson to AAA, Cristian Pache to AA, Drew Waters and William Contreras to high-A. Atlanta did an excellent job of adding pieces for the short and long term at the deadline without giving up any core players. They continue to push their top talents aggressively and for the most part they’ve all met the challenge.
- The Diamondbacks catching prospect Daulton Varsho returned to game action over the weekend, and proceeded to hit for the cycle on Monday. Going 4-for-6, with 3 runs scored, an RBI, and 10 total bases. I love Varsho, and think his ability to hit, run, and get on base make him an excellent offensive talent regardless of position. In fact, I feel his bat is so good that he well eventually move off the position of catcher permanently.
- Can we talk about a player that’s just a great story? The Mets Luc Rennie was pitching in Indy ball, after being out of affiliated baseball for 2+ seasons. He worked his way back after an impressive run in the Independent Frontier League, gaining the attention of the Mets. Signed on the 4th of July and has done nothing but push since. Through 5 appearances, and 4 starts the righthander sports a 2-0 record, with a silly 33.6% K%, and 28.2% K-BB%, while limiting contact with a .204 BAA. He mixes a low 90’s fastball with cutting action, mid-80’s slider, high-70s curveball, and a changeup. So far he’s shown the ability to pound the zone, while working fast. Perhaps the Mets found a gem.
- In what might turn out to be a weekly update, the Rays Brendan McKay is coming off a stellar performance on the mound for the Rays high-A affiliate yesterday. The lefty went 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out out four, throwing 34 of 46 pitches for strikes. This on the heels of a two homer game on Friday, McKay looks to be stringing together strong performances on both sides of the ball. Still, he projects as a better pitcher than hitter at this point, though he should have the ability to get on base and provide some power when needed. Tough to bank on the offense pushing the profile.
- We mentioned the Braves callups earlier, and the Dodgers have a pair of their own! Shortstop Gavin Lux and catcher Will Smith. Both are impressive talents having breakout offensive seasons, while providing defensive value at challenging positions. I like the pair and foresee everyday MLB gigs, Lux combines across the board skills, with contact, on base, speed, and some power. Should be interesting how the bat looks outside of the Cal League. Smith moves up to AAA, and is just one call away from the Dodgers. If Yasmani walks this year, don’t be shocked if Smith is the primary guy come some point next season. He’s really tapped into the power stroke the past few years, rocking ISO over .200 in consecutive campaigns. Smith though a catcher, has gotten an equal amount of starts at third base this year, giving him the kind of profile that could provide sneaky value at the catcher position. His defense behind the plate is good too, his time at third was more driven by the depth Tulsa had at catcher, with wunderkind Keibert Ruiz sharing duties behind the dish.
- The Astros Brandon Bailey continued his scoreless streak last night, pushing it to 31 1/3 innings. The righthander was acquired from the Athletics this off-season for old friend Ramon Laurenao. Bailey is a short righty, checking in under 6 feet, but his stuff and ability to miss bats plays big. He mixes a four-seam fastball, a spike curveball, four-seam changeup, and a slider. I’m going to dig deeper into Bailey this weekend, and give you a more detailed report.