- Full name Antonio J. Jimenez
- Born 05/01/1990 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Academia Discipulos De Cristo
- Debut 09/06/2017
- Drafted in the 9th round (279th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008 (signed for $150,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
Injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2012, have slowed Jimenez, and he has averaged about 72 games a season in six years. He missed time last April and August with minor injuries, and the health of his arm bears monitoring. Defense is his calling card and gives him a backup catcher profile. Jimenez possesses a true plus arm and quick feet to limit running games. His caught-stealing rate of 32 percent in 2014 was the lowest of his career, and his career rate is a robust 41 percent. He is a strong receiver and blocker with athleticism, though he can have lapses of concentration. Jimenez has solid bat speed, natural feel for the barrel and uses all fields, but he projects to be a below-average to fringe-average hitter with some length to his stroke. He has a strong body and boasts at least average raw power, but his swing path and approach will likely limit him to 8-12 home runs a year. The below-average runner is on the 40-man roster and should start 2015 back at Triple-A Buffalo.
Jimenez went in the ninth round of the 2008 draft due to concerns about his elbow, and injuries have delayed his development, including Tommy John surgery in 2012. When healthy, however, Jimenez profiles as an everyday catcher who excels in every aspect defensively. His accurate, plus arm shuts down running games. Of the 157 catchers who played at Triple-A in 2013, just six had a higher career caught stealing percentage than Jimenez's 43 percent. Not only does he nail baserunners at a high clip, Jimenez severly limits stolen base attempts, as runners have attempted steals at nearly half the league average rate with Jimenez catching. With quick feet and athleticism, he blocks well, and his strong, steady hands give him good receiving and framing skills. Jimenez has above-average bat speed, and he has lowered his hands and reduced his stride to make his line-drive swing more compact. He should be a fringe-average hitter, and despite above-average raw power, his swing is geared more for gap power and his home run ceiling is likely 8-12 a year with plenty of doubles. He is a below-average runner. Jimenez, who will likely open the season in Triple-A, could make his major league debut in 2014.
Some clubs considered Jimenez a third-round talent in 2008, but questions about his elbow dropped him to the ninth round, where he signed for $150,000. He stayed healthy in his first four pro seasons, emerging as the system's best defensive catcher, but his elbow issues resurfaced in 2012. He appeared in just 27 games before requiring Tommy John surgery. The track record with elbow reconstruction is encouraging, so Jimenez should regain the above-average, accurate arm that has helped him throw out 43 percent of pro basestealers. He also blocks and receives well, and he shows aptitude for handling a pitching staff. Jimenez's offense has started to catch up to his defense. He has good bat speed and has improved his pitch recognition. He lacks power, but he can drive the ball to the opposite field and should be able to handle the bat well enough to be an everyday big leaguer. He's a below-average runner, but not bad for a catcher. Once he's back to full strength, Jimenez will return to Double-A. The Blue Jays protected him on their 40-man roster in November.
Some teams viewed Jimenez as a third-round talent in the 2008 draft, but his tender elbow made most clubs uneasy and he fell to the ninth round, where the Blue Jays snagged him and signed him for $150,000. His elbow hasn't been an issue in pro ball, where he has thrown out 42 percent of basestealers in four seasons. His bat has started to catch up to his defense, and he earned team MVP honors while helping Dunedin to the Florida State League's best record in 2011. Jimenez does it all behind the plate, blocking and receiving well while showing an above-average, accurate arm. Managers rated him the best defensive catcher in the FSL last year, when he had just six passed balls in 98 games and erased 44 percent of basestealers. He also did a nice job handling a pitching staff that included several of Toronto's best young arms. Jimenez has made significant strides as a hitter, showing good bat speed and improved pitch recognition. He batted in every spot in the Dunedin order except leadoff and cleanup last year, spending most of the second half in the No. 2 hole. He hits to all fields and consistently barrels balls. He has some gap power, but home runs won't be a big part of his game. Surprisingly for a catcher, he's is an average runner. Jimenez will head to Double-A in 2012, with J.P. Arencibia and Travis d'Arnaud looming as large obstacles ahead.
Minor League Top Prospects
Jimenez tends to get overlooked playing in a Blue Jays system already deep in catching prospects. But he can't stay in the shadows much longer after he had his best year yet with the bat and managers voted him the best defensive catcher in his league for the second straight season. Jimenez's plus arm helped him rank second in the FSL in terms of erasing 44 percent of basestealers. He has a feel for calling games and is a good receiver, allowing just six passed balls in 98 games. He also runs well for a catcher, rating close to average overall. As a hitter, Jimenez shows promising pitch recognition and bat speed with a contract-oriented, all-fields approach. He has only fringy power but has a knack for barreling the ball, so some of his doubles could turn into homers as he gets stronger.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Florida State League in 2011
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Midwest League in 2010