Last season, nearly everyone saw Eloy Jimenez coming as the next big Cubs hitting prospect. However, no one saw Jimenez being able to hit for a high average like he did. Heading into the 2017 season, some are looking for his power to increase enough for him to hit over twenty home runs. Along with Jimenez, there is another bat just as worth keeping an eye on this season. In terms of pure power, Wladimir Galindo is the prospect to watch.
I am not shy in my affection for Galindo’s abilities on the baseball field. Signed as an international free agent in 2013, he spent 2016 at short-season Eugene and hit 9 HRs over 66 games in a pitcher’s league, and did all of this at just 19. At one point he drove in eleven runs in one week and was named the Northwest League Player of the Week. He doesn’t hit for average yet, but that will come. I expect him to hit 20+ HRs in Class A this year.
Here’s a more detailed look at the player who stands to grab some attention this season:
Bats right, throws right
Power to all fields
Improved defensive footwork
Improved feet placement and an improved arm on defense.
Areas of Concern
Experience – Like Eloy Jimenez, Galindo lacked game experience after spending two season in instructional leagues in Venezuela and Arizona at 17 and 18. The more he plays the better he gets. Look for him to get in 125-130 games, probably with Low-A South Bend.
Plate approach – One of the great things about 2016 was MiLB.TV coming to Eugene. As a result, I got to see a lot of Galindo. His plate approach progressed over the course of the year. For instance, by the end of August, he could wait on a curve after being overmatched early in the summer.
The good news is, South Bend manager Jimmy Gonzalez is known for his ability to work with young hitters on their plate approach. As a result, I think it should be a match made in heaven for Galindo and the Cubs.
What I Would Like to See
If he has a great year, I think a .280 average with a .330 OBP combined with 20+ home runs would be an amazing sight. However, that’s a bit hyperbolic and hard for any prospect to live up to that, especially considering the Midwest League is pretty chilly through mid-May. A more realistic season from him would be .260 to .265 average with an OBP over .300 to go with 20+ home runs and 75 to 80 RBI. If he can live up to this scenario, I think he becomes a top 10 Cubs Prospect by the end of the year, and he will still be only 20 when the season ends.
One of the important things to keep in mind when watching Galindo this year is that he will be two years younger than the league average, and this will be his first year of full-season ball. Hopefully, he trained his body for the long grind. If he did, South Bend broadcaster Darrin Pritchett’s signature “Adios” home run call will be heard often on the radio and on TV…as it should be.
Lead photo courtesy Allan Henry—USA Today Sports