Jimenez continues to show power with first AFL home run

One day after landing on Statcast leaderboard, Cubs' No. 2 belts two-run homer

Jimenez continues to show power with first AFL home run

MESA, Ariz. -- A day after he recorded the third hardest-hit ball of year, Eloy Jimenez continued to make waves in the Arizona Fall League on Friday.

Batting fourth in Mesa's lineup, Jimenez, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect and No. 23 on the Top 100, belted a two-run home run as part of a 2-for-4 performance to help lead the Solar Sox past Surprise, 10-4, at Sloan Park.

After coaxing a walk and popping out to shortstop in his first two plate appearances, Jimenez turned on an inside offering and roped it over the wall down the left-field line. While it wasn't a particularly long home run, the fact that he was able to muscle the ball out of the park was plenty impressive.


"I didn't get all of it, but I put a good swing on it and made good contact -- and it got out," said Jimenez, who was named the 2016 Midwest League MVP after batting .329/.369/.532 with 57 extra-base hits, including 14 home runs and a circuit-leading 40 doubles, with 81 RBIs over 112 games at Class A South Bend.

Jimenez recorded his second knock of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth with a scalded single to left-center field. The hit, which came on the first pitch of his at-bat, evoked memories of his accomplishment from the previous day, when the 19-year-old outfielder recorded the third-hardest hit ball of the year and fifth-hardest since the start of the 2015 season, according to Statcast™, on a groundout to third base.

Jimenez hits the ball hard

"Not really," Jimenez said when asked if he had any idea as to how hard he had hit the ball on Thursday. "I don't really pay attention to that stuff, but it does feel good when I hit it that hard."

The Solar Sox pushed across the game's first run in the bottom of the first, when a throwing error by Surprise shortstop Mauricio Dubon allowed Franklin Barreto to score.

Marlins No. 4 prospect Brian Anderson connected on a tape-measure home run to left-center field, which nearly cleared the berm beyond the wall, to begin the inning. Barreto (the A's top prospect and No. 42 overall) then gave Mesa the lead with a two-run single to left field before coming into score on a single by catcher Victor Caratini (Cubs' No. 15).

The Solar Sox continued their offensive onslaught with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with Jimenez's two-run shot to left field representing the big hit in the frame. Dexter Kjerstad then extended Mesa's lead to 10-2 when he plated Ryan McBroom (Blue Jays' No. 28) on a fielder's choice to third base.

But Surprise would not go down without a fight in the bottom of the ninth, as Tanner English (Twins) and Corey Toups (Royals' No. 30) both delivered RBI singles before Jose Trevino grounded into a double play to end the game.

Including Jimenez, the Solar Sox had five players collect multiple hits in the contest including Barreto (2-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R), No. 21 overall prospect and Cubs' No. 1 Ian Happ (2-for-4, 2B, R) and Anderson (2-for-3, 2 R).

Mesa also received a strong performance from starting pitcher Dylan Covey (A's No. 19), who, in his first outing since suffering a torn left oblique on May 8, allowed two earned runs over four innings to record the win. The 25-year-old right-hander scattered four hits, walked one and struck out five, with 41 of his 62 pitches going for strikes.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.