BY: MATTHEW PRESLAR
The best part about AAA baseball in your back yard is the known, established prospects. Yes, BB&T Ballpark is great. The view of the city is amazing. However, the best part to me is the elite minor league players, the best of the best.
This is no more evident than the next three days in Charlotte, NC. Coming to town are International League Rivals, the Buffalo Bisons. Leading the Bisons are consensus top prospect in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., son of the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee.
Vlad Jr. is only 19 years old and was born in Canada while his father played for the Montreal Expos. Guerrero was signed at 16 (when international prospects are eligible to sign as free agents) and made the mad dash through the minor league ranks over the next three years. In 12 AAA games since being promoted a couple of weeks ago, Vlad Jr. is hitting nearly .400 with 4 home runs, showing well rounded talent with the bat.
In the home corner is the third rated prospect, Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez, 21, is from the Dominican Republic and was also eligible to sign at 16. His minor league career started as a signee of the Cubs before being included in a trade that brought him to the White Sox organization. The other big name acquired by the White Sox in that trade was Dylan Cease, currently in AA Birmingham, very likely to be a Knight sometime in 2019. While some injuries slowed Jimenez’s assent up the ranks, don’t expect him have a long stay in Charlotte. In 34 games with the Knights, Eloy is hitting .354 with 10 home runs and 10 doubles. Reading the scouting profiles, his power even ranks higher than Guerrero Jr.
This really is a heavyweight matchup and a special treat for the true baseball fans in the Charlotte area. I’m really fortunate and appreciative of this opportunity and can’t wait to see these two stars put on a great show. This event will likely never happen again and it’ll be an honor to see this talent play in person.