Saturday, December 8, 2012

Top 20 Prospects: #8 A.J. Jimenez C

#8 A.J. Jimenez C

Born: May 1, 1990 in San Juan, PR (Age 22)
Acquired via: 9th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur. Drafted from Academia Discipulos de Cristo (Bayamon, PR).
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6’0” Weight: 210lb.
Baseball America Ranking- Not Listed; but is listed as Top Defensive Catcher in the System.
Baseball Prospectus Ranking-TBA
FanGraphs Ranking- #8 Ranking- #15
Minor League Ball Ranking: #10

2012 Stats and Analysis:
New Hampshire (AA)

There really isn’t much to analyze about a season that was cut short to 27 games, due to a tear on the UCL, resulting in Tommy John Surgery. Jimenez’s injury had quite unfortunate timing. After an outstanding 2011 season (.303/.353/.417), scouts and fans were anxious to see how Jimenez followed it up. A.J’s bat never got going in 2012, and his 27 games are hardly something you could base an analysis off of, or possibly get an idea of his development. I ask you now, please don’t need read into his stats, the sample size—or lack-there-of— because it inhibits you from getting any idea on his development or ceiling.

Scouting Report
Jimenez is, and projects to be, an above average fielder, but not to an extent that would it would solely make him a starter in the MLB. With that being said, it’s not like his bat is bad—its not. Jimenez has soft hands, along with a high caliber arm, that, along with his defensive instincts, profile well behind the plate. Jimenez has the ability of smack doubles around the park, because that’s the limit on his power, per se. His fringe power is not a problem behind the plate, especially considering the +.299 avg. in 2010 and 2011. Jimenez has all the right make-up to stay behind the plate and be successful, although his offense and stature don’t profile well enough for a first or third base move. If he’s to make it, it’ll be a catcher, and that might be tough in this Blue Jays organization.  

Where will he be in 2013, and ETA? Projection?
Jimenez is blocked, fair to say? I have little doubt that Jimenez could catch AAA ball, and hold his own. One problem… Disregarding any possible trades, Travis d’Arnaud is Buffalo’s (AAA) starting catcher. That puts Jimenez in New Hampshire to start the season—maybe not such a bad thing—he’s only ever played higher than A+ 27 times, and let us not forget he’s coming off a big surgery. I’m sure Jimenez will find himself in Buffalo in 2013 at some point, and likely will be called up in September to the majors. It’s difficult to put an ETA on a catcher in this Toronto Blue Jays farm system, because of all the variables presented by the current depth. Jimenez could find himself as a backup in the MLB in 2014, and possibly starting by mid-2015—but not with this club. It’s not a debate on whether Jimenez will make it to the Majors; it’s what will become of him upon his arrival. In all likelihood, Jimenez becomes a solid backup catcher that could find himself starting on a weaker team. Jimenez’s ceiling, if all goes right, is a Major League starting catcher, maybe even a top 20 catcher in the league… Gives the Blue Jays a good problem to have, doesn’t it?

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