Even with big bonus second rounder Anthony Solometo on the team, the best pitching prospect on the Bradenton Marauders might be Carlos Jimenez.
On Friday night, Jimenez worked four innings in relief of Solometo, giving up four runs, but striking out nine. Most of the damage came early, with Jimenez coming out of the bullpen for just the fifth time of his young career.
“Getting into the game, and not having that routine to get started is a bit different for him,” said Bradenton manager Jonathan Johnston. “He needs to be able to do that, because he may be used in a type of situation like that. It was a good experience for him coming in after Solometo. His stuff is real, he just needs to continue to learn every day and get better.”
I got some video of that first inning from Jimenez, where he settled down midway through the inning. I like his timing, and edited the video to display how he will vary his hold time before delivering the pitch. As you’ll see below, he’s got some filthy options to choose from.
Jimenez is only 19-years-old. He was a lower profile signing in July 2018, but has quickly emerged as one of the better prospects in the lower levels, after putting up strong numbers in the rookie leagues. The Pirates gave him an aggressive promotion to Single-A, where he’s one of the youngest players in the league. He also has a 3.09 ERA and a 38:15 K/BB ratio in 23.1 innings, showing the age isn’t impacting him much.
Below is a breakdown of the pitches thrown by Jimenez, to get a better idea of what makes him so good at a young age. Thanks to Anthony Murphy for the pitch stats and the video breakdowns.
By the Numbers
Velocity: 94.1 mph
Spin: 2262 rpm
Vertical Break: 14.7 inches
Horizontal Break: 10.3 inches
If you’re looking for a good breakdown of the impacts of spin rate, FanGraphs has a great article looking at velocity and spin rate combinations. The current numbers from Jimenez put him in a group with a .334 wOBA against the fastball at the MLB level. I don’t think he could just take his fastball to the majors today and automatically get those results. There are probably more factors to consider. That said, he throws the fastball for strikes, it doesn’t get hit much, and generates a good whiff rate. That rate is soon put to shame by the secondary stuff.
By the Numbers
Velocity: 86.3 mph
Spin: 1763 rpm
Vertical Break: 30.7 inches
Horizontal Break: 13.7 inches
Jimenez gets a swinging strike just under 60% of the time with this pitch, and watching the video above, you can see why. It acts as a slider at times, and other times has a bit more break back to the arm side. The pitch is inconsistent, but has so much movement that it’s not a surprise he’s getting these swinging strike numbers at this level. This is a perfect lesson in what command actually is. Watching the video above, the pitch consistently works in the 86 MPH range, but has different movements. It seems Jimenez goes for a true changeup with cutting motion away from lefties when he is facing a lefty, while letting it have more slider movement away from right-handers. However, you can see that he’s not always able to control the movement and look from pitch-to-pitch. There are some where you can imagine him getting swinging strikes in the majors, and others where you know this will only fly in Single-A. Overall, the pitch shows a ton of promise, and has a lot of value right now for Jimenez, being equally as important as his fastball.
By the Numbers
Velocity: 78 mph
Spin: 2564 rpm
Vertical Break: 52.6 inches
Horizontal Break: 14.09 inches
The curve has some side-to-side movement with a big arch, almost like a slurve at times. The pitch has a more extreme movement toward the glove side of Jimenez than the changeup, and finishes with a hard sink toward the glove side, rather than a late break back to the arm side like the changeup. That makes this pitch a good complement to the changeup, giving Jimenez another swing-and-miss pitch with movement to pair with his fastball/changeup dominant combo.
Carlos Jimenez is a Future MLB Pitcher
Again, we need to consider that Jimenez is one of the youngest players in his league. The fact that he’s been so unhittable this early is phenomenal.
“I think the stuff is obviously the reason why he’s here,” said Johnston. “Continuing to control it, and control his emotions and be able to stay focused and I think he’s going to take off from there.”
You can see that there are things to work on for Jimenez. He needs better control. He could use better command to get a more consistent break from his changeup.
Yet, you can also see what makes him such a talented prospect. A fastball that averages 94 with good spin, and the potential to add more velocity as he fills out. Two secondary pitches that have a lot of movement — both vertical and horizontal — while playing well off each other at the end of the pitches.
His demeanor on the mound is also a positive. There was one pitch where Jimenez missed high and outside to a lefty, only to immediately look at the catcher, pat his chest twice to take accountability for the miss, and follow it up with a strike on a fastball low in the zone. He finished that same batter off with the same pitch, looking like a changeup away, and this time got him. That type of quick recovery will serve him well more often in the future.
There’s a lot to like about Jimenez, and the easiest way I can describe it is by describing what I saw on Friday night. The Pirates had Anthony Solometo and Carlos Jimenez — both 19 years old — pitching on the same night. Solometo just received $2.9 million due to his projectable skills and abilities from this age. Jimenez spent a few years in pro ball developing to this point, and has developed into a pitcher who is on par with a high profile draft pick like Solometo. Jimenez has MLB quality stuff already at a very young age, just without the MLB quality experience or command.
The good thing for the Pirates is they now have both pitchers developing together.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Williams: The Growing Pains of Single-A
Carlos Jimenez Has Emerged As One of the Pirates’ Best Lower Level Pitching Prospects
Anthony Solometo: High Changeup Usage Highlights Debut
Bradenton Statcast: Who Is Hitting The Ball Well?
Tsung-Che Cheng: “He’s the type of guy who has an elite level of focus, an elite level of drive”
Joelvis Del Rosario is Starting to Make a Name For Himself
Brenden Dixon: Approach Leading To Success As Bradenton’s Table Setter
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
wishing and hoping he got what it takes to make it to the show and excel when he gets there.
In watching the videos a few times, it appears to me that he tunnels the changeup with the fastball well. That might explain why he gets results on the changeup even when it’s over the plate without much movement. There seems to a bit of a difference when he’s throwing the curve. Curious if others see the same thing?
That’s a good observation.
Sharp eyes – and glad to see he throws a high majority of FB/CH. The Curve is decent, but it’s almost like he shortarms it from shoulder height. I think it would be a harder-to-hit breaking pitch with a higher release point.
At the beginning of the year I started charting a number of pitchers – AAA Stratton, Melendez, Bolton; AA Cruz, Nicolas, Matson, Burrows, Toribio; and at A Jimenez, Peralta.
Glad to see Solometo doing well. Are Kellington and Chandler still in the Complex League? Glad to see Mears rehabbing.
I do agree, this kid sounds promising and has been consistently good this year. I am not ready to annoint him a future major league pitcher yet. He is only in Low A and the Pirates have messed up far more talented young pitchers. Fortunately some escaped and are thriving elsewhere. I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the Pirates player development and for very justifiable reasons. Hopefully this kid is an exception.
Love the detail breakdown video and especially the data of all his pitches. Will love to see this more moving forward. A+ article Tim!
Whew, great look at the stuff.
That’s about the most violent delivery you’ll see from a kid, absolutely no chance of throwing strikes. Will be fun watching the balancing act of gaining command without sacrificing stuff.
He’ll be an interesting follow when he steps up to Greensboro, which I don’t really see happening this season. In the same way we wanted to see how well Florencio and Florez’s stuff played a level higher, with hitters who were able to better read breakers.
That change in particular.
The better ones he threw in the video above are lite versions of the Devin Williams airbender, really impressive pitch, but the ones that end up straight don’t have much to them.
Most violent?? Wow I don’t see that, only thing close to that is his follow thru, but compact enough on his wind up and lands on the same spot consistently.
Violence generally describes the control, as evidenced by repeatability, one has int heir delivery. Anthony Solomento’s delivery can be described as anything but compact, but you won’t hear any scout describing it as violent because’s he’s clearly able to control and repeat.
Jimenez shows varied mechanics on nearly every pitch, and arguably the most intense head whack I’ve seen from any current Pirate prospect when he really ramps up the fastball.
Remember, Shane Baz had a violent delivery by baseball standards. Put the two side by side and I think you’ll get what I’m seeing.
It’s phenomenal arm speed, but clearly effort-based. Luis Escobar had phenomenal stuff, but too much effort to ever develop big league command. When the club throttled back the effort, so went the stuff. A fine developmental balancing act, not at all unlike what they’re working through with Jared Jones.
John Baker is basically Jerome Powell, tamping down a superheated delivery without triggering full-on recession. 😉
What I see here is him falling towards first base, with his body kind of falling away as the arm whips through. I don’t know if I’d call it violent, but it’s definitely not controlled.
The side-to-side movement leaves a lot of potential for things to go wrong. I wonder if he’d get the same pitch action just throwing from the stretch and being more in line with the plate — cutting out almost all side-to-side action.
Definitely in the eye of the beholder, I won’t argue that. Eric Longenhagen at FG could obviously run circles around me and has often called Cody Bolton’s delivery “violent”, which I can’t for the life of me see.
I think I’ve read the stretch idea used before specifically to combat excessive “effort” or violence, that’s a great idea. Maybe even what the Rays did with Shane Baz?
Either way, great look at a lightning-fast arm. ‘ppreciate the article!
It’s more of a personal preference. I try to avoid calling a delivery violent, because it has connotations. I try to describe it in perceived effort levels from the pitcher.
The stretch cleans up things because they’re minimizing everything and putting all of their focus on the pitch. Everything prior in the windup is just to get extra velocity.
That balancing act you mentioned with Escobar will be huge for Jimenez. Escobar’s issues were an overhead delivery that tilted his head to the side, sending his body off line. Jimenez looks more effort. He’s putting too much effort and overthrowing some pitches. Can he scale it back and still have success? Or, does he only know how to go all-out, uncontrolled maximum effort. If so, can he learn control at the extreme?
He’s 19, so a lack of control is expected now. It will be interesting to see the paths they take to clean him up going forward. Especially with all of the options from Vic Black’s library.
Great article, i knew he was a pitcher to watch in bradenton but all of this background gives me someone new to follow closely. If he keeps this up, looks like he has the tools to break into the mlb at a young age
Really good stuff Tim.
Carlos Jimenez is now my favorite player in Bradenton, until i read the next article🤷♂️🤣…Great breakdown Tim, w/Anothonys support👏👏👏👏
He sure looks like someone who could develop into a big leaguer.
On a broader note, it seems that the share of international players on the Bradenton roster has gone up. If so, credit is due to NH and Nutting, who spent the money on improving scouting and the DR facility.