Chicago Cubs fans need to get excited—the team has signed highly regarded international prospect Eloy Jimenez.
#Cubs have officially signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Eloy Jimenez, regarded as the top international prospect by Baseball America/MLB.com.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 2, 2013
The agreement was for $2.8 million, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler.
While it's a big signing for the Cubs, fans shouldn't get too excited, as he's only 16 years old and won't see the field for at least five or six years.
However, the kid is still a talent and one who will be talked about in baseball circles.
According to Badler:
It’s hard to find one player who clearly stands above the rest in this year’s international signing class, but Jimenez is the closest thing to a consensus choice.
His long arms create length to his swing and he will need to keep his hips from flying open too early, but he has good hand-eye coordination and uses the middle of the field. Jimenez has average raw power and a flat swing that results in hard line drives rather than loft power. With his size and strength potential, he could grow into above-average power.
According to MLB.com, which listed him as the top international prospect, Jimenez is the total package.
The teenager has impressed scouts with his intelligence, plus-speed, and gap-to-gap power that is expected to improve as he grows into his body.
Jimenez is also an advanced hitter with quick hands and is expected to hit for average. He projects as a corner outfielder, likely right field, because of his arm strength and athletic ability. Some believe he might lack in baseball instincts and has an average to above-average arm, but most agree Jimenez will improve once he is placed into a team's academy.
MLB.com also rated Jimenez on his skills. The system rates players on a scale of 2-8 for both present and future tools. His present/future ratings include hitting 3/5, power 4/6, running 6/6, arm 5/6 and fielding 5/5.
For the most part, the projections say he's going to sit in the 5-6 range, which is average to above-average.
Here are a few videos to watch him first-hand:
Jimenez is a good outfielder who, if he reaches his full potential, could be a staple in the Cubs' outfield for many years to come.
Caution to the Wind
For Chicago fans who are really excited about this move, let me first throw a little caution to the wind.
He's still 16 years old and there's a lot that can happen between now and the time he makes the majors (if he makes it at all).
The best example I can use is Edward Salcedo, who signed with the Atlanta Braves out of the Dominican Republic in 2010.
Salcedo received a $1.6 million signing bonus and was compared, by some talent evaluators, to Hanley Ramirez, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Since then, Salcedo has batted .242 with 42 home runs and 204 RBI in 430 minor-league games.
This year is the first time he's been above Single-A.
While he's hardly considered a bust at this point, it is taking longer for him to get where the Braves thought he would be.
Just as the Braves have been patient with him, so too will the Cubs have to be with Jimenez.
Regardless, it's a great signing by the Cubs, but should not be considered a franchise-altering move.