21. Dedgar Jimenez
Dedgar Jimenez is part of the reason I felt the need to label being a “Hunter Noll Guy” as even a thing. Baby Bartolo enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2017 but didn’t get the recognition I thought he would for it.
In 2017, Jimenez spent most of the year in Advanced-A dominating, before moving up to Double-A and only getting better. The left-handed pitcher combined between the two leagues to post a 3.02 ERA.
2018 was a little different for Jimenez. The 22-year-old spent the entire year (sans one start in Triple-A) in Double-A. Although the numbers aren’t as good, there are a lot of positives to build off of.
Jimenez posted a 4.39 ERA in 137 1/3 innings for Double-A and a 3.00 (two runs in six innings) in Triple-A.
That Double-A ERA may not seem that great, but remember it was 5.82 heading into July 17. Over his last nine starts though, Jimenez posted a 2.06 ERA in 52 1/3 innings.
Two problems, this year were walks and home runs. Jimenez posted a career-worst in both categories with 56 walks and 18 home runs. Previously the highs for those categories were 41 and six. Now the question is whether this season was a step backward or a fluke for those two.
I’m going with fluke – for a few reasons. First off, other numbers improved. His batting average against was a career-low .242 and the 1.29 WHIP was the second best of his career. Meanwhile, 120 strikeouts were a career-high and Jimenez also threw his first complete game shutout.
Jimenez has been bashed in the past for his conditioning and work-ethic but I’ve seen nothing to support that.
The work conditioning and work ethic claims seem to just come from the fact that he doesn’t boast a Chris-Sale-like body. He seems to have a true workout routine though and is effortless on the mound. That could be part of the “work ethic” claim too – the fact that he doesn’t look like he’s doing too much on the mound.
Jimenez is another pitcher without a true “out” pitch. He does have a plus-slider and plus-changeup though. His fastball isn’t overpowering but he was starting to get weaker contact off it later in the year.
Jimenez works fast on the mound and really just goes out there and pitches. For what it’s worth, I’d put him on the short-list for prospects I’d want to use for a spot-start where I needed five-plus innings.
He’s projected as basically a Four-A starter. Someone who is used in the Majors but stays mostly in Triple-A. I don’t see that though, I truly believe Jimenez could be a fantastic middle-of-the-rotation arm in the future. Remember, he’s only 22 and still has plenty of time to continue his growth.