Poor, poor Luis Jimenez, in any other organization he would likely be battling for a starting spot during Spring Training. In fact, in most other organizations, Jimenez would have already won the Opening Day 3B job, if not the job as a backup. His impressive .314 BA/.395 OBP/.429 SLG% is deserving of a spot on the regular season roster, but that just won't happen for Luis Jimenez with the Angels.
The 25-year old 3B prospect has never really gotten the chance to break through with the Angels and it looks like he'll never get the chance with Alberto Callaspo signed for the next two years until Kaleb Cowart is ready to take over the job. It's not that Jimenez is some slouch prospect however, he has shown impressive power in the minors.
The last two years Jimenez has tallied over 35 doubles and 15 homeruns per season which would theoretically give the Angels the power they've been craving from the hot corner. His ability to make consistent contact as a "free-swinger" is impressive in the idea that it complements his power while giving him a tool many free-swinging prospects his age don't possess. Unfortunately, his plate discipline is not nearly as up to snuff with his other tools, cracking the big leagues with poor strike zone judgment and difficulties working the count will put Jimenez in the hole far too often for him to successfully control his plate appearances. On top of that he would be taking away a fair amount of defensive value given by Alberto Callaspo, who was a top five 3B in terms of UZR in the 2012 season . While Jimenez may not necessarily get on base as much as Callaspo he will provide more power, giving the Angels another impact bat in the lineup (though 35+ doubles and 15+ HR's isn't a massive jump from Callaspo, though it is strong progress).
Jimenez has shown big improvements in his plate discipline this Spring Training, drawing a walk in a third of his plate appearances. If that can translate to a full season Jimenez would go from "solid impact bat" to "perpetual threat"; unfortunately the Angels aren't too interested in giving him the chance to prove this. Don't get me wrong, the Angels are very much justified in going with Callaspo over Jimenez, especially when you consider the fact that the team will need to be as defensively superior as possible in order to win important games. The offense of this team is strong enough already so keeping the defense in tip-top shape is the only way to prop up the susceptible pitching staff.
This just leaves us with one question: What in the world will the Angels do with Luis Jimenez?no comments