In his first year of full-season baseball, Carlos Jimenez flashed some serious potential while with the Bradenton Marauders. He also made clear what path he was going to have to take to reach that potential.
Despite maybe not having the same kind of name recognition some of the other prospects in the Single-A rotation had, Jimenez showed that he had the skills and tools to be right there with them.
Featuring one of the best changeups in the system, the young righty struck out 88 batters (28.5 K%) in just 69.2 innings pitched last year. He struggled with the walks, allowing 45 free passes (14.6 BB%).
It wasn’t as bad as it looked, as you can see Jimenez running out of gas towards the end of the season, and his control really suffered. In his last five games that spanned the final two months of the season, he walked 21.7% of the batters he faced, which was more than he struck out (19.3%).
There are improvements to be made, but it was still a far cry from the 11.9% walk rate he was issuing through the end of July.
From April through July, Jimenez struck out 31.7% of the batters he faced, posted a 3.27 ERA and held opponents to a .215 average. In August and September, his ERA was 6.75 and opponents hit .286 off of him.
Jimenez features three pitches, all of which have the potential to be at the very least, average to above average. He averaged 93.9 MPH on his fastball, and it has strong tail-movement on it, generating a 21% called strike/whiff rate.
His curveball is a big breaker that in a lot of cases would be the best pitch among the three, and it had a 29.6 CSW%. It only trailed the changeup, which has drawn the rave comparisons despite how young Jimenez is. He posted a Swinging Strike rate of 28.3%, and a CSW% of 38.7.
The video above shows a little bit of each pitch he throws, all from his start back on July 17, 2022.
While it’s his third pitch right now, there’s certainly potential with the curveball. He can throw it back door to lefties, and have to break away from righties.
With the changeup can certainly see the potential of the pitch, as it has a very sharp break back arm side in an almost ‘airbender’ type of way.
While a lot of changeup/offspeed pitches are thrown arm side, fading away from hitters, Jimenez throws his a little differently at times. In the righty vs righty matchups, he throws the pitch away, almost like a slider but one that tails back in on the hitter.
Late Season Struggles
A lot of young pitchers hit a wall later in the season, especially once they start hitting new highs in innings pitched. Jimenez doubled his innings from 2021 while he was in the FCL, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see him struggle a bit down the stretch.
While his control was erratic throughout the season, it really went on another level the last two months, walking more than he struck out.
This was his last start of the season, where he didn’t get out of the first inning, allowing three walks and hitting another among the eight batters he faced.
If you watch the catcher, Jimenez rarely hit his spots and when he did it was fastballs mostly straight over the plate. Even then he struggled with commanding the pitch.
There’s a potential major league starting pitcher somewhere in Jimenez right now, and he’ll be 20-years-old when the 2023 season starts, where he’ll likely begin in Greensboro. That ballpark won’t be kind to him if he misses his spots, so there’s a good chance the overall base numbers won’t be pretty, almost like Jared Jones in 2022.
Fangraphs jumped in on Jimenez this season, ranking him 17th in the system, ahead of 2021 second round pick Anthony Solometo. They did have him listed as a multi-inning reliever, which is a possibility if the control doesn’t improve.
There does look like there can be some improvement in the delivery, eliminating some of the extra movement, and trying to reduce the fall off to the first base side to try and make it more repeatable.
The Pirates are starting to have more and more success with their International signings, and Jimenez has the chance to be another success story. His base stats may not be pretty this year, but if he can stay healthy, increase his workload from 2022, and get the walks down without losing his swing and miss stuff, it can still be a great step forward for him.
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.
For those interested in fan access at Pirate City, today at least the central area around the tower was open to the public.
In past years Jiminez, Ortiz and Jones would have been top 10 candidates. The Pirates are pitching rich. But the development system lacks Ace-quality pitchers, e.g. Cole, Tailon and Glasnow. It is certainly deeper than in the past.
Big Luis Escobar vibes for me. Good stuff, but a ton of effort in the delivery that prevents any kind of command from playing.
Good on FG for putting him in the mix.
Was thinking the same thing. Is it better to fast track these guys by putting them in the pen? To at least get something out of them? I’m not saying do that this year, but if the command is still way off this year, I have to wonder if it will ever be playable.
19, 6’2″, 140 and throwing 93 with advanced feel for a Change-up! This is the type of talent the Astro’s have been manufacturing lately. Wonder what a set diet and a lightweight lifting regimen might do for him between now and this time next year? Maybe he takes the recognition from FG seriously? He’s got tools!
Oz Ocampo was a long time scout with the Astros who left when the sign stealing issue broke and worked for the Pirates for a couple of years. I would be willing to bet that he had a hand in signing Jimenez. He left the Pirates last year to return to the Astros and is now with the Marlins. Like the Marlins needed any more help with finding pitching.
I like Jimenez as well. But to me, it depends which CU you are watching. The 88mph don’t look great to me. The 87-86mph change-up’s are a different story. They look nasty, kept low, and a lot of late movement.
It’s an aggressive assignment though, being only 19 and a SP in LowA. I guess less aggressive with no SS ball anymore but still impressive and you can see the upside.
I would bet he repeats Low A though. Atleast to start the season. I can’t see moving up pitchers that have mediocre numbers the season prior. I guess I’m more in favor of mid-season promotions and a player really playing/pitching well b4 moving them up.
I’d be surprised if they sent him back, but I do think he’ll move along on the slow side for now. His command isn’t strong and he seemed pretty worn out late in the season. His IP were double his previous high and he’s not as physical a guy as Ortiz, who’s 2 1/2 years older.
Maybe. I just can’t see who’s spot he is taking in High A either?
Harrington probably starts in High A(like Sean Sullivan did). Sean Sullivan probably stays in High A to start the season. Solometo definitely moves up. Po-Yu Chen is 21(turning 22 in October) and most likely moves up. Lineraz is already there, briefly. Meis might get moved up to AA but I would bet starts out in High A again. That’s 6.
Plus, who knows with some of the college arms, like Dereck Diamond, JpMassey, Cy Neilson, Dom Perachi, and Jaycob Deese. They might try some out as SP. Although most probably start in Low A.
And maybe even Chandler(if they scrap the two-way thing). I just can’t see them justifying having him DH every couple days after being dominating by Low A pitching. Maybe though. He has the pedigree to get pushed fast.
But explain to those coaches(who career it is to win) that u are trying to win games with him DH. And I get development is most important, especially at the lower levels. And coaches falling in line with what management wants is also important for their career. It would just surprise me. Both Chandler and Jimenez moving up would surprise me.
Decisions, decisions. The real fun is just seeing what they come up with. 🙂
And maybe Sullivan does move up too. I thought he was younger and a second look at his 2022 stats and maybe he goes to AA too. I thought he was still only 21 years old.
If Oviedo wins the 5th rotation spot(which I’m hoping) then my predictions will definitely be off.
So then, explain to me why you have Jared Jones in a comment on another article projected as being in Double-A? Jared Jones age 19 season in FSL with “mediocre” numbers, then moved up to Greensboro for his age 20 season, with “mediocre” numbers. Carlos Jimenez would be no different, going into his age 20 season.
I don’t think Jones’ numbers were mediocre. His ERA, yes, but pitching in bandboxes/hitters havens the last two seasons too. Plus, Jones pitched 122 IP in 2022. Second, only to Luis Ortiz’s 124 IP, in all of the Pirates minor league system. And first in K’s with 142.
I would say having the most K’s in the system and 2nd in IP(only by 2 innings) deserves a promotion, no?
As does the 2.2M signing bonus. I’m sorry but that matters too. Organizations are more likely to give the big bonus babies more opportunities and quicker promotions in the lower levels
And Jones’ numbers in Low A were superior to Jimenez’s except ERA and acouple points in BA against. Jones FIP and xFIP and k rate in Low A were ridiculous.
Jimenez walked 11 more batter in 3 more IP comparing their Low A numbers too.
I would say Jones has out pitched Jimenez on most fronts.
FIP and xFIP were ridiculous? There’s barely a half-run difference lol you’re trying to thread a needle through two very raw pitchers with big stuff.
His last two seasons? As in, Bradenton, two seasons ago… in his age 19 season… 66 innings… Where Carlos Jimenez pitched… last season… in his age 19 season… and threw 69.2 innings…
What do u want to bet Jimenez doesn’t move up and Jones does?
$50. Though I believe both will
$50 donations to P2 and you’re on!!
Ya, u got both move up and I got Jones goes to AA and Jimenez repeats and starts in Low A.
Jones Low A – 2021 -66 IP, 103K, 3.91FIP, 3.75 xFIP, 34 BB
Jimenez Low A – 2022 -69 IP, 88K, 4.85 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, 45 BB.
4.50 FIP and 4.22 xFIP for Jimenez, but, don’t really care. Similar age at same point in careers, with electric stuff, but minimal command.
There could be 2 schools of thought with Jimenez being Rule 5 eligible too. The Pirates want to keep him down to keep teams from drafting him. Or they want to move him along faster to evaluate for a 40 man roster spot.
We both agree Jones moves up though. Being Rule 5 eligible next season too.
I think both face similar issues in that the stuff plays, its just commanding it.
Where is Crash Davis when you need him??
Whata kick in the balls getting sent down to work on the highly touted prospects command.
And I’m trying not to knock Jimenez either. I’m a fan!! And I see the Jones/Jimenez comp. I just think Jones is borderline earning a promotion but being the most K’s and 2nd most IP(along with being Rule 5 eligible and a big bonus baby) gets promoted to AA to start the season.
Ya, you’re right!! Don’t know what I was looking at?
Love this kid’s potential, hope he makes the necessary improvements this year. BTW the catcher in that first video is a smooth receiver.
I believe that was Grant Koch who was catching 🙂
That game Koch started, but Wyatt Hendrie ended up taking over
I’d put Jimenez down as a Pitcher who could possibly have a season similar to the one Ortiz had last year. Starting in A ball and making it to Pittsburgh by season’s end.
His stuff is definitely good enough to be a MLB SP. Showing he can command it will determine how fast and how high he climbs the ladder.
Is it too soo to start pounding the table for Mr. Jimenez?
Never too early for that 😂
The first table pound for Carlos!!!
P2 writers seem bullish on CJ. I hope that he justifies the hype.