Down East (Rangers)
Lynchburg (Indians), 87-52 (.626)
|Most Valuable Player
Ademar Rifaela, OF, Frederick (Orioles)
|Pitcher Of The Year
Triston McKenzie, RHP, Lynchburg (Indians)
SEE ALSO: Carolina League Top 20 Chat
To qualify for a Minor League Top 20 Prospects list, a position player must have one plate appearance per team game, a starting pitcher must have one-third of an inning per team game and a reliever must have 20 relief appearances.
This year's high Class A Carolina League featured a trio of talented outfielders, led by the slam-dunk No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez.
Dealt from the Cubs to the White Sox at midseason as part of the package for lefthander Jose Quintana, Jimenez showed literal light-tower power at the Carolina League home run derby when one of his longballs busted one of the bulbs out of a light stanchion.
Behind Jimenez were two more outfield prospects in Potomac's Victor Robles and Frederick's Austin Hays. Robles picked up right where he left off last year in showing prodigious talent on both sides of the ball, and Hays began one of the minor leagues' biggest breakout years. He continued mashing in Bowie and then became the first member of the 2016 draft class to reach the major leagues.
And although Carolina, in its first season as a Brewers affiliate, was loaded with prospects on Opening Day, its best talent didn't arrive until midseason. Center fielder Monte Harrison made an instant splash for the Mudcats, showing five-tool potential and defense so dazzling that he made SportsCenter multiple times.
The Mudcats also boasted one of the circuit's best pitching prospects in righthander Corbin Burnes, who used above-average stuff and command to rank third in the minors with a 1.67 ERA. The league also featured the top two strikeout artists in the minors: Winston-Salem righthander Alec Hansen and Lynchburg righthander Triston McKenzie.
1. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Myrtle Beach/Winston-Salem (Cubs/White Sox) |
Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 205 Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013 (Cubs)
The prize of the four-player package that the Cubs used to pry Jose Quintana from the White Sox, Jimenez had an easy transition from organizations. Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem were playing each other when the trade went down, so he and teammates Matt Rose and Bryant Flete simply grabbed their equipment and switched dugouts.
Jimenez's carrying tool is obvious. He has easy plus-plus raw power and at least plus in-game power. But he's no one-trick pony. Jimenez can hit the ball 400-plus feet, but he can also rip line drives to all fields and projects to hit for average in addition to power. His approach is beyond what evaluators would expect for a 20-year-old, and his 18.9 percent strikeout rate is low for a power hitter.
In the outfield, Jimenez is average at best and some see him as a tick below-average thanks to his below-average speed, but he should be fine in a corner.