Several trades occurred while I was on vacation. I’m profiling the prospects involved in those deals in a belated nature. First among these is the deal that netted the Chicago Cubs LHP Jose Quintana. A breakdown of the big league side of that trade is available here.
Just a reminder of the players exchanged:
- LHP Jose Quintana
White Sox get
The blockbuster’s headliner was power-hitting outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who has arguably the best in-game power projection in the minors. That power was preordained by Jimenez’s broad-shouldered 6-foot-4 frame which, even when he was 16, seemed to promise exceptional future raw pop. Jimenez’s body has developed a bit faster than many had expected (at age 20 he’s already closer to 250 pounds than his listed 205) and helps him generate power from foul pole to foul pole. At times, Jimenez barely squares up pitches and is still able to drive balls to the wall for extra bases, seemingly by accident. He’s very likely to hit and hit for power, the latter perhaps at an elite level, placing him firmly in heart of whatever batting order he occupies as a base-clearing force.
Defensively, Jimenez’s below-average speed and average arm relegate him to an outfield corner and, probably, left field. But the bat is going to profile anywhere Jimenez ends up on the defensive spectrum.
There are those concerned by Jimenez’s history of injury, which has kept him off the field at various points over the last several years. He’s had multiple hamstring and shoulder issues (including one of each this year) which had caused the Cubs to frequently deploy Jimenez as a designated hitter. He’s only played 30 games in the outfield this year. And while some onlookers are concerned by the combination of injury and rapid physical maturation, nobody denies that Jimenez has special power and is very likely to continue getting to it in games. He’s one of baseball’s best prospects.
Righty Dylan Cease was the Cubs’ sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft and the priciest of three high-school pitchers signed, over slot, by Chicago that draft after they signed their first three picks, including Kyle Schwarber, under slot. Cease had Tommy John shortly after the draft – he suffered an elbow injury in March of that year and was known to be injured before his selection – and exorcised some of his mechanical demons while rehabbing his elbow. Upon return he was throwing harder than he did as an amateur with better, but still fringey, strike-throwing ability.
Cease sits 93-97 and will touch 100 with a fastball that, at times, lacks movement. That’s just too much for the Midwest League, and Cease had struck out 74 hitters in 52.1 innings with South Bend before the trade. He’ll also flash an above-average curveball, often with 12-6 shape, which misses bats down beneath the zone. Scouts think it has a chance to mature as a plus pitch, though they’d like to see Cease more consistently locate it in the strike zone when that’s clearly his situational goal. His changeup flashes average but is more regularly below it. Because of Cease’s arm strength and curveball feel, his ceiling is quite high. If the changeup and command both develop to average, he’s a potential front-end arm. More likely, though, he fits in the middle of a rotation.
INF Matt Rose is power-hitting first baseman who was drafted out of Georgia State (a program that has produced a singular big leaguer in RHP David Buchanan, now in Japan) in 2015. He’s a below-average athlete with above-average raw power and bat speed. He has spent time at third base, but scouts think he’s viable exclusively at first. He has a pull-only batted-ball profile and an aggressive approach to hitting that has limited him to a .307 career OBP. Even with 20-home-run power, that’s probably not enough at first base.
As far as Future Values are concerned, Jimenez holds firm at a 60 for me, as he did during the offseason.
|Hit||Raw Power||Game Power||Run||Fielding||Throw|
Cease has been healthy and already thrown more innings this year than he has in a single pro season to date. He’s still a bit of a relief risk due to repertoire and command limitations, but he’s a 50 FV now as he performs in full season ball and will merit consideration on the offseason top 100.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.