Jimenez Could Be Sleeper For Blue Jays

TORONTO—With J.P. Arencibia in Toronto and Travis d'Arnaud at Triple-A Las Vegas, the Blue Jays have good young catchers at the top of the organization.

But it does not end there, with A.J. Jimenez coming up behind them at Double-A New Hampshire.

"We think A.J. is a sleeper," said assistant general manager Tony LaCava, who oversees the minor league system. "He is arguably the best defensive catcher we have and he gets better as a hitter every year."

Managers in the high Class A Florida State League last year singled out Jimenez as the league's best defensive catcher. He threw out 44 percent of basestealers, committed six passed balls and earned Dunedin team MVP honors.

"I'm trying to get used to the cold, but I'm feeling good about how I'm playing right now," Jimenez said.

Lefthanded reliever Evan Crawford, who opened the season in the New Hampshire bullpen, raves about his defense.

"He's fantastic, he's one of the most athletic people I've ever met in my life," Crawford said. "Being behind the dish, it's pretty special to be as athletic and as quick as he is. I've seen him make some throws this year that'll blow anybody out of the water.

"Also, he calls a great game. He's a smart kid back there. He's going to be something special. He's quick, he's athletic. You feel comfortable throwing it anywhere when he's back there."

Jimenez batted .303/.353/.417 with four homers at Dunedin last season, and he stole 11 bases in 13 attempts. In the previous season at low Class A Lansing he went 17-for-21 on steals. Jimenez started slowly in 2012, batting 10-for-47 (.213) with a double.

"If there has been a knock against him, it has been his durability. "But that has improved as well," LaCava said.


• Crawford, 25, was called up from New Hampshire on April 13 when closer Sergio Santos went home to California to be with his wife for the birth of their third child.

• Righthander Drew Hutchison was impressive in three starts at New Hampshire, so he got called up and made his major league debut on April 21 against the Royals. He gave up five runs in 51⁄3 innings, with four strikeouts and three walks in Toronto's 9-5 victory.