The Red Sox were aggressive during the 2017 international signing period, and it already appears to be paying dividends for the franchise.
After a dominant performance in the GCL at age 17/18, outfielder Gilberto Jimenez was aggressively promoted to short-season A-ball as a teenager to kick off the 2019 campaign.
He’s responded beautifully, slashing a blistering .367/.396/.491 with 26 runs scored, two home runs, 14 RBI and nine stolen bases in 43 games played for the Lowell Spinners.
A hot start in Low-A is nice, but what does it mean for the speedy center fielder going forward? Can he push for a spot in Boston’s outfield in the next few years, and is he worth a look in your dynasty league?
What’s Eating Gilberto Grape
Jimenez was one of four highly-touted international signings by the Red Sox during the 2017 July signing period, along with right-hander Brayan Bello, shortstop Antoni Flores and third baseman Daniel Diaz.
Standing 5-feet-11-inches tall and weighing just 160 pounds, Jimenez has some filling out to do if he wants to have any kind of power in the big leagues. Right now he’s more of a slap hitter, which works fine thanks to his 80-grade speed.
FanGraphs describes him as a running back-style baseball player, thanks to his sneaky athleticism, compact frame and his ridiculously high motor.
He’s still raw, very raw, as a hitter, fielder and a baserunner. He swiped 16 bases in the GCL in 2018, but also got caught 14 times. Those numbers improved slightly at Low-A, where he has nine steals with four caught stealing.
He’ll need to clean up his baserunning if he wants to have an impact on the bases at the big league level – which is tied directly to his future value in dynasty leagues.
With little power projection to speak of yet – something that could change as he continues to develop – his fantasy value is tied to those legs.
I do like the bat, obviously it’s hard not to like an 18-year-old who is hitting .367 in short-season, but he has not shown much plate discipline, with a 4.9% walk rate this season. His 16.8% strikeout rate isn’t bad, but speedy players need to be able to draw a walk, and a player who can’t even walk 5% of the time in the New York-Penn League is definitely cause for concern.
It’s hard to nail down any specific advice here, as Jimenez is just too raw to make any concrete predictions on. Will the power show up? Will he learn how to run the bases, or draw a walk?
In deeper dynasty leagues, I’d love to take a shot at Jimenez. If he can improve in even one of those areas, he has a good chance to be a big leaguer in his early 20s. Power may never be a big part of his game, but if he does fill out his frame more, he could be a late bloomer in that regard.
I’ll conclude with a paragraph from Fangraphs preseason projections on Jimenez, which had him 15th in the Red Sox system:
“When you look back at prospects who outplay their projections, scouts will often point to a name and tell you not to underrate plus athletes with plus makeup; we were aggressive in ranking Jimenez for that reason.”
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on twitter)