Noah Song took the number four spot in our last round of voting, and I mentioned in that post that he was in a close three-man race that he barely snuck out of. I also mentioned that there was a fourth guy not too far behind those three. Sure enough, it was that fourth guy who emerged this time around, barely squeaking by the other two left over from the previous round’s battle. That would be Gilberto Jimenez, who comes in at number five on our list after getting 36 percent of the vote.
Jimenez flew under the radar when he came into the organization, signing for just $10,000 out of the Domincan Republic in August of 2017. As is generally the case for players signing at that point in the year, his first real games wouldn’t come until the next summer. In the meantime, however, the Red Sox did get Jimenez to work in trying to become a switch hitter during Instructional League that year. He took that out to the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old the following summer and performed very well in his first taste of pro ball. Jimenez slashed .319/.384/.420 over 67 games and stealing 16 bases. He did get caught 14 times, though, for what that’s worth.
After that strong showing, Jimenez really started to get some buzz. He was named the Latin Program Position Player of the Year that season, and word of his outstanding make up started to spread. The Red Sox were huge fans of the talent and the kid himself. Rather than give him some time in the GCL — not uncommon for Latin players his age with his lack of pedigree — they trusted he would be able to handle an assignment to Lowell. They were right. Jimenz led the league in hitting as an 18-year-old, hitting .359/.393/.470 in 59 games, stealing 14 bases and this time being caught only six times.
The scouting report is interesting and probably a bit predictable for Jimenez. He is extremely raw, which is to be expected for someone about to start his age-19 season who just started hitting from the left side (obviously the more common side to hit from for a switch hitter) two years ago. Still, the hit tool has the potential to be above-average, though there’s a long way to go there and it’s far from a given. Perhaps surprisingly, some have noted his left-handed swing is actually ahead of the right-handed one, despite the inexperience. He has the body for power, but unless there’s an overhaul coming in his swing it’s probably not going to develop into much of anything. That said, his speed — which is unanimously graded as plus-plus — and line drive approach should allow him to hit plenty of doubles and triples. Throw in the potential to be a very good defensive center fielder and the aforementioned make up and there’s plenty of be excited about. There’s just a long way to go for it to be realized.
That road really gets started this season. It’s always good to see a Latin player come from the DSL and perform so well immediately in the New York Penn League without having had previous stateside experience. That was a real test and he passed with flying colors. Now, we not only see him against more advanced competition in A-Ball but also for a full season. Jimenez will certainly start the year in Greenville and should stay there basically for the entire season.
Here is our list so far:
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...