The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with a pitcher that made the jump from the Domincan last season and could make a big jump up the prospect ladder in 2013.
Position: Starting Pitcher Highest Level: High-A
Throws: Left Height: 6'1" Weight: 187 lbs.
Age: 21 Born: 11/27/91
2012 Season Stats
Low-A: 97.1 IP, 7-5, 3.51 ERA, 113 H, 19 BB, 4 HR, 59 SO, 1.15 GO/AO, 3.35 FIP, .354 BABIP
High-A: 19.2 IP, 1-1, 2.75 ERA, 23 H, 1 BB, 2 HR, 14 SO, 1.41 GO/AO, 3.71 FIP, .344 BABIP
Fastball – C+. Jimenez’s fastball sits at 90-91 mph which is average for a left handed pitcher. But it has good sink and generates a lot of ground balls, which is why it grades to very slightly higher than average.
Off-speed Pitches – B-. Jimenez has what I’d consider an “A” grade change up, and a “D+” grade (below average) breaking ball. But it’s the idea that hitters are completely unable to discern between a 90 mph fastball and an 80 mph change-up given the arm speed and angle that makes him such an effective pitcher.
Control – A. “A” grades are reserved for specific abilities which play up among the best of Major Leaguers. Jimenez in his first year in the US sported a pristine 1.5 BB/9, meaning for every 6 inning start, he might walk one batter. For a 20 year old facing higher competition for the first time, that’s amazing.
Command – A. Simply put, Jimenez puts the ball where he wants it, when he wants it there. He knows he’s not going to strike many hitters out, so it is Jimenez’s goal to generate as many weak ground balls and pop ups as possible, which he showed he can do in the low minors.
Mechanics – C+. Personally, I found his mechanics to be smooth, but hated his arm angle and his lack of finish. However, when you look at it, at least he’s using the same arm angle with regularity and his delivery doesn’t require a great deal of effort.
Performance – A-. All he did in his first year in the states is cruise through A -Ball and put up three sparkling starts in Advanced A -Ball. The Angels didn’t bother sending him to Arizona or to Orem for development. They saw a pitcher that was ready to move up and didn’t play it conservatively. How many pitchers can we honestly say outperformed all expectations the minute they touched American soil?
Projection – C. This is where Jimenez’s ranking takes a hit, he’s a soft-tossing lefty that relies on contact. Sure, he made low minors hitters look foolish as a breezed past them. But once he reaches AA and AAA, he’ll see major league quality hitters for the first time that’ll really test his abilities as a pitcher. Since we don’t know what Jimenez will do in those situations, we can’t for sure say he’ll be anything more than a 5th starter or swing starter type. For what it’s worth, I see a lot of Joe Saunders in Eswarlin Jimenez, which means he may be a steady 4th starter in the majors.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date – 2015.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)