The Boston Red Sox have plenty of prospects that the following season could be good to. Just exactly who will make it their year in 2019 though?
I mean, did you really expect me to get through this whole series without ever mentioning Baby Bartolo? Seriously? Dedgar Jimenez might be the most under-the-radar pitching prospect the Boston Red Sox have. I’m here to change that.
Jimenez was absolutely incredible in 2017, posting a 3.02 ERA in 146 innings while spending time in Advanced-A and Double-A. The most impressive part was that he posted a lower ERA in Double-A (2.91) than he did in Advanced-A (3.07) in that year.
2018 saw Jimenez’s ERA at 4.33, which is maybe why some people are overlooking him. There are about 25 reasons why you shouldn’t do that though, so let’s dive right in.
First of all, Jimenez may have had a higher ERA, but he did so while playing the whole year in Double-A (including a start in triple-A that saw him give up just two runs in six innings). Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at some deeper stats.
Jimenez posted a career-high in strikeouts (120) despite pitching 2 2/3 fewer innings than he did in 2017. He also lowered his BAA considerably from .257 in 2017 to a career-best .242 in 2018.
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While the left-handed pitcher did allow a career-worst 18 home runs, this could actually be seen as a fluke. The three years prior all saw him give up six home runs each, so this sudden jump could just be a few pitches not going his way. If you really want to dig into this though, it could have a correlation to the career-high 56 walks he allowed.
Jimenez was pitching at the highest level of his career in 2018. With more experienced hitters, maybe they were simply laying off pitches that he would get players in lower classes to swing at. He’s not exactly a power pitcher, so he relies heavily on deception. When that wasn’t working as well, Jimenez would get hit hard.
As the season went on he adjusted, however, as proof by the stats. In his final nine starts, Jimenez allowed just one home run and none in his final six. That’s a positive trend to have going heading into 2019.
Speaking of 2019, there’s a lot going for the 22-year-old as the season approaches.
With a full year of Double-A under his belt, he’s set for Triple-A time this year. Especially with the Red Sox showing they trust him enough to pitch there in a spot start last season. Jimenez is also trending up when it comes to strikeouts and ability to create weaker contact.
2019 could be the year that Dedgar Jimenez is truly put in an MLB-Adjacent position. He’s definitely climbed up the minor league ladder over the past few seasons and could now soon be an injury away from the Majors.
Many still see him as having limited potential, this could be the year that changes as well. Another full season against strong talent could show that he could be a reliable pitcher in the Majors.
In the end, 2019 could be a massive year for Dedgar Jimenez. There are clear improvements he’s making on his game. He’s also getting closer to the Majors and could see a full-time promotion to Triple-A this year. Finally, his stock in the Boston Red Sox organization has risen (even if it’s just slightly) in the past few seasons and should take a leap forward in this year. Let’s face it, Baby Bartolo is on the rise.