Boston Red Sox: All-time lineup and prospects who could dethrone them
Red Sox outfield protégé – Gilberto Jimenez
Gilberto Jimenez might not excite everyone thanks to his low power numbers. The switch-hitter had just three home runs last season and has six total in 864 at-bats in his career. However, there’s so much more to his game.
First of all, the slash line was really solid in 2021. Jimenez slashed .306/.346/.405 with 16 doubles, six triples, and three home runs. He drove in a solid 56 runs and scored 64 more, stealing 13 bases.
Second, the defense is really good. The outfielder has great range and a really strong arm that you might not expect from someone without power at the plate (although Ichiro never hit many homers and he had a rocket).
Third, there’s a chance he develops some power. Jimenez bulked up last offseason and many expected the power to show up last year due to that. He ended up having a much worse slugging percentage than the year prior though. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and point out that he had a year off due to COVID shutting down the minors in 2020. So maybe with a year with those new muscles under his belt, he’ll find his power stroke a little more.
Finally, there’s insane speed with Jimenez. He may have only stolen 13 bases in 2021, but he has 50-plus steal potential. I mean literally his first at-bat of last year saw Jimenez beat out an infield single to second base. It was as routine as a routine grounder could get, and he just beat it out.
This should help him keep up some high averages as he can get on-base with a lot of weak contact. And a ton of steals and runs scored could help raise his legacy as well. If any sort of power ever does come, that’s just icing on the cake. Honestly though, I’d love to have a “classic” leadoff man who is just getting on-base, raking up steals, and scoring runs from his 2-3-4 hitters knocking him in.
Honestly, no one is passing Williams for a long time. Jimenez could definitely put his name up there with some greats though. At at 21 (turns 22 on July 8th), he’s got a lot of time ahead of him. A Major League debut in 2023 is possible. He should definitely be in the Majors by 2024. That gives him plenty of time to run up (weak pun intended) the numbers.