10. Dedgar Jimenez (Closer)
Not going to lie. I was kicking and screaming when the Red Sox had the audacity to take Dedgar Jimenez out of the rotation in the minors. He’s built to be a workhorse type guy. Even when he wasn’t pitching great I felt like he could get through six innings.
I admitted I didn’t mind the bullpen move if it meant it got him to the Majors though. The move didn’t get him to the Majors in 2019 but it definitely got him closer.
Oh, and I was very wrong about the move being a bad idea. Jimenez looked absolutely amazing to the point I almost put him even higher on this list.
It’s also worth noting that Jimenez made the biggest jump on the list compared to last year. Moving up 11 spots from 21.
The reason for that is simple. He’s a closer now. Jimenez was oddly thrust into that role in Double-A and wow did it work out well. The left-handed pitcher was 10-for-10 in save opportunities. He had a 3.78 ERA in Double-A and a 3.51 ERA out of the bullpen (10 runs in 25 2/3 innings).
Even better, in save opportunities Jimenez gave up just two runs in 11 1/3 innings (1.59 ERA).
The 23-year-old looked sharp out of the bullpen. His fastball was sitting in the mid-low-90s which was a tick faster than usual. Meanwhile, he has a slider than can cause problems for hitters as well and sits in the very low-80s.
The changeup is the star pitch for Jimenez though and that makes me very happy. I absolutely love a good changeup, there’s no better pitch in baseball.
It’s a good 10-15 MPH slower than his fastball but looks an awful lot like it coming out of his hand. It also has a nice drop-off as it gets to the plate. This is the offering that Jimenez will go to when he needs to make a pitch and it tends to work out for him.
Jimenez made such a big jump on the list this year because he now has a new role. He showed serious potential as a closer.
By the way, the Red Sox don’t have a closer. The plan was for Durbin Feltman to take on that role for Boston in a few years. He took a step backward in 2019 though. The job is still more-than-likely his for the taking. However, the door is open to anyone.
“Baby Bartolo, closer” has a nice ring to it if you ask me. Let’s make it happen.