As soon as the ink was dry on the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades (which occurred in rapid succession in December), all eyes turned to the White Sox next biggest trade chip: Jose Quintana. The 28-year-old Columbian has a career 3.51 ERA and has been one of the most dependable starters in all of baseball over the past four years, racking up at least 200 innings every year since 2013. White Sox GM Rick Hahn held him all off-season in hopes of acquiring an elite prospect package in return, and today his gamble has paid off in a big way.
The below reports are amalgamated from scouting information via Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and others as linked (as we haven’t reported on them ourselves yet)…
Eloy Jimenez was part of the Cubs monster 2013 J2 class, which saw them grab Jimenez and Gleyber Torres. After struggling as a 17 year-old in rookie ball in 2014, Eloy put up respectable numbers (.284/.328/.418) in short-season Eugene. But his prospect stock soared after he destroyed A Ball by slashing .328/.369/.532 and stole the show in the 2016 Futures Game, homering and diving into the stands to make a spectacular catch. This season Jimenez continued his momentum by putting up impressive numbers in A+ thus far, slashing .295/.370/.543 between Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem.
Jimenez is a physical specimen at 6’4”, 205 pounds and has light tower power and nearly an equal hit tool. He isn’t just a home run or bust type of hitter – he has excellent plate coverage, quick hands, and has shown the ability to make adjustments as he has seen higher level pitching. He makes hard contact to all fields, as evidenced by this impressive spray chart.
Defensively, Jimenez is a corner outfielder (has played mostly left), and is an average to maybe a tick above average defender, depending on which scout you talk to. However, clearly most of the value is in his bat, which has massive upside that has landed him unanimously among the top 10 prospects in all of baseball. Baseball America recently ranked Eloy the 5th best prospect in all of baseball, up from 11th in the off-season.
While Jimenez is the clear centerpiece of this deal, Dylan Cease is a strong prospect in his own right. A Tommy John Surgery when he was a prep ruined his chances of going in the first round of the 2014 draft, but scored a huge overslot ($1.5 million) deal in the 6th round with the Cubs. The Cubs have been very cautious with Cease, who didn’t make his pro debut until mid-2015 and has been on a strict innings limits at every stop. After 24 innings in a brief rookie season debut, Cease unleashed his plus stuff on the short-season Northwest League, striking out 66 batters and walking 25 batters over just 44.2 innings while posting a 2.22 ERA. In 2017 he was moved up to Low A South Bend, where he put up similar numbers, striking out 79 batters to 26 walks over 51.2 innings with a 2.79 ERA.
Cease features a plus fastball that sits 93-98 and has hit at least 101 per multiple sites (there is also an unsourced report of 103 here). It has lots of life and its movement out performs his control, leading to fairly high walk rates. Cease’s fastball velocity gets headlines, but he has a true hammer curveball that some scouts feel has more potential than his fastball. The Cubs have introduced him to a fringy change-up, which is coming along slowly and would need to develop into an average offering for him to stay as a starter long term. BA ranks Cease at #80 in all of MLB, up from #93 this past offseason, and their profile has further information.
Matt Rose was an 11th round pick in the 2015 draft for the Cubs out of Georgia State University. He has prototypical first baseman’s body at 6’4” and 195 pounds and displays noted raw power. He has good plate discipline but has a long swing that has led to high strikeout rates early on his pro career. This year he is slashing .227/.281/.481 for High-A Myrtle Beach with 14 home runs and 15 doubles.
Bryant Flete was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela back in 2012 as a 20-year-old. He spent a couple years playing for the Cubs Dominican Summer League teams before making his stateside debut in 2014. Fleet is in the midst of a career year in High-A Myrtle Beach, slashing .305/.355/.425. Defensively he has played mostly 2B/SS but has also played 3B and a little outfield as well.
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