SAN DIEGO – His name has been popping up on Major League Baseball trade and rumor sites. Now, his name is popping up all over Major League Baseball.
South Bend Cubs super prospect Eloy Jimenez got the call to shine, and made his chance a supernova with a spectacular display at the MLB Futures Game Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres and the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. The World Team defeated the US 11-3.
The No. 10 prospect in the Chicago Cubs system – three of those already in the bigs in Willson Contreras (No. 2), Albert Almora Jr. (No. 5) and Jeimer Candelario (No. 7) – Jimenez may be jetting up the list quickly. Jimenez was 2-for-3 at the plate with a three-run homer, a double and four RBIs. He also had a catch in right field that topped all of them, running over 127 feet to make the catch before crashing into foul territory.
After the game, Jimenez said that was “the most crazy” catch of his career.
“When I hit the wall, I just tried to keep the ball in my glove,” said Jimenez, who did interviews in English as well as Spanish, the result of work in the Cubs’ language program. “If I jump and the ball drops, it’s no good.”
Jimenez’s double in the sixth drove in a run, but his bomb in the ninth, part of a seven-run inning, hit the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Company building in left field. The three-run shot left everyone shaking their heads at what the 19-year-old just did.
“I was just looking for something up,” he said. “I saw it, and that was it.”
For South Bend, Jimenez is already a known commodity. The slugger leads the team in six major categories, and is at least fourth in the Midwest League in all six. Jimenez is first in both doubles (29) and total bases (165) and tied for first in RBIs (58), is second in hits (104), third in batting average (.332) and tied for fourth in home runs (10) through 80 games and 313 plate appearances.
Jimenez will return to the Cubs lineup this week as South Bend heads to Clinton starting Wednesday.