We are now, with this latest member of the top 20 list who we will announce shortly, halfway through our community list. For this iteration of the Red Sox farm system, this is an extremely crowded tier, roughly from about seven to 15-ish. There are a lot of different directions these votes could and can go, and we’ve seen that thus far with some close contests. None have better exemplified that fact, though, than this latest round of voting for the 10 spot. There were four players within one vote, and a tie for the top spot. But turning to the consensus rankings to break the tie, we get Gilberto Jimenez coming in at number 10 on our list.
Jimenez did not enter the organization with a whole lot of fanfare, coming in on a small $10,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic about a month after most of the big international prospects had signed in the summer of 2017. But despite the relative lack of prospect pedigree and hype coming into the season, he quickly made his mark in professional ball. The outfielder would make his professional debut in the 2018 season down in the Dominican Summer League, and while the big-league squad was having it’s best season ever, Jimenez was putting himself on the map. He finished the year hitting .319/.384/.420 and was named the organization’s Latin Program Position Player of the Year.
Now he was officially someone to watch in the organization, but we still hadn’t seen him stateside so there was still plenty of skepticism around the outfielder. That said, it was clear the organization loved him and his makeup was already receiving rave reviews, so his debut in Lowell in the following season was one many people were watching. Jimenez also was trying out switch hitting that season for the first time, and while there were some growing pains he was still able to put up a successful season despite the transition both in adjusting to life in the States as well as life as a switch hitter. That season in Lowell was stellar, and he finished it out hitting .359/.393/.470.
By the time that 2019 season had ended, Jimenez was officially one of the most exciting prospects in the system, and he seemed poised to make a major move not just up Boston’s organization list, but league-wide prospect lists as well. Of course, we know that he wouldn’t be able to play in 2020 with the minor-league season being cancelled, so it was 2021 when we were waiting for that jump to come. Unfortunately, Jimenez’s full-season debut ended up being a little disappointing. While he wasn’t terrible, he was a little banged up as the year went along and he ended up hitting a solid but unspectacular .306/.346/.405 in Salem.
Now, that line is a bit underwhelming compared to what we’d seen from him in the lower levels, but at the same time Jimenez was in just his age-20 season and his first full season of professional baseball. The scouting is still a little mixed on him, but the big ceiling is there. There is still a ton of progress he has to make and the skillset is still raw, but he’s coming along from the left side of the plate (that was the handedness he added when he began switch-hitting in 2019). His approach still needs to be refined, but he can put the bat on the ball and good things tend to happen from there. Jimenez is also a fantastic athlete, which helps him both on the bases and in the field, though again he needs to refine his abilities in center field a bit to reach his full potential there.
The big thing is whether or not he’s going to be able to add a little bit more power. Jimenez doesn’t need to be a consistent 30-homer hitter to make an impact at the highest level, but right now there’s just not a lot of hard contact in general, and if it doesn’t improve he’s likely looking at a ceiling of a fourth outfielder. But again, Jimenez is only going to be 21 this coming season, and he’s already got a full season under his belt.
That makes this coming season a big one, though there’s no guarantee it comes in the Red Sox system. Jimenez is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, assuming that is still a thing that happens after the lockout. Boston made the decision to leave him unprotected, and he’s a fascinating case. On the one hand, he’s a raw outfielder and it’s hard to stash a player like that on a major-league roster. On the other hand, it’s rare to be able to grab upside like this for virtually nothing.
If Jimenez does go without being selected, or he gets picked but returned before the start of the season, he will likely be going to High-A Greenville to try and take that next step forward. It’s possible that the Red Sox could opt for a conservative approach and give him the start of the season back at Salem, but there are enough other young center fielders coming up behind him that I think Jimenez will get the push, and an opportunity to show that he can make the hard contact he needs to once again be one of the most exciting prospects in the system.
- Triston Casas, 1B
- Marcelo Mayer, SS
- Nick Yorke, 2B
- Jarren Duran, OF
- Brayan Bello, RHP
- Bryan Mata, RHP
- Jeter Downs, 2B/SS
- Blaze Jordan, 3B/1B
- Jay Groome, LHP
- Gilberto Jimenez
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number 11 prospect. 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. We encourage discussion, of course, but please don’t comment under specific players’ names. Instead, scroll to the bottom to start a new comment thread in order to keep the players at the top of the comment section. Until next time...