Cubs honor prospects Jimenez, Clifton

Breakout outfielder tabbed top player, right-hander named top pitcher

Eloy Jimenez led the Midwest League with a .532 slugging percentage and a .901 OPS. (Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)

By Alex Kraft / MiLB.com | September 23, 2016 7:11 PM

Eloy Jimenez and Trevor Clifton gave the Minor Leagues a resounding introduction to the next wave of talented Cubs prospects. On Friday, the outfielder and right-hander were named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

Jimenez began the season as the Cubs' 10th-ranked prospect but soared to MLB.com's No. 24 overall slot with a breakout season for Class A South Bend that included an appearance in the All-Star Futures Game. The 19-year-old outfielder hit .329 with 14 homers, 40 doubles and 81 RBIs -- all career highs -- in 112 games with the Cubs' Midwest League affiliate en route to claiming the circuit's Most Valuable Player award.

Chicago rewarded Jimenez with a promotion to Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach for the Carolina League playoffs, and the native of the Dominican Republic went 3-for-11 with two RBIs in three playoff games. He's ticketed for the Arizona Fall League, where he will play for the Mesa Solar Sox next month.

"I'm anxious to get started already," Jimenez told MLB.com.

Clifton similarly broke out in his fourth season in the organization. The 21-year-old right-hander led the Carolina League with a 2.72 ERA while striking out 129 over 119 innings in 23 starts for Myrtle Beach. He was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two postseason starts, helping the Pelicans repeat as Mills Cup champions.

"I just made a couple of adjustments, and I studied hitters a little more and took video before the game and learned what they could and couldn't do," Clifton told MLB.com. "I really stuck to my strong side of the game and executed it."

Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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