- Full name Cesar Enrique Jimenez
- Born 11/12/1984 in Cumana, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Creacion Cantarrana
- Debut 09/11/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
Jimenez's tenure with the Mariners dates all the way back to July 2001, when he signed out of Venezuela at age 16. He has worked as a reliever in most of his eight seasons with the club, receiving just two extended looks as a starter, in 2003 and 2006, and wearing down under the workload both times. In fact, he missed much of 2007 recovering from surgery for a stress fracture in his left elbow. Jimenez was hammered in his big league debut at the end of the 2006 season, but he redeemed himself by pitching effectively in Seattle in 2008. His main weapon is the organization's best changeup, a true equalizer against righthanders, who managed to hit just .203 against him in the big leagues. Jimenez throws his changeup with deceptive arm speed and he consistently gets 10 mph of separation from his fastball, which ranges from 88-93 mph. He's unafraid to throw inside and batters have a tough time picking his pitches up. While Jimenez's slurvy breaking ball remains a work in progress, he showed increased confidence in it last season--though big league lefties hit him for a .317 average. Some club officials believe Jimenez could return to a starting role, but given his durability issues, two-pitch mix and ability to retire righthanders, he seemingly would fit best as a middle reliever.
After spending the previous two seasons working mainly out of the bullpen, Jimenez operated out of the rotation for most of 2006 and hit his stride last summer, allowing only one earned run in 43 innings over six Triple-A starts. He wore down afterward, as he had as a starter in the past. He spent three weeks on the Tacoma disabled list in August with a sore elbow and got hammered when he made his big league debut in September. Jimenez likely will wind up as a reliever because he holds up better and shows better stuff in that role. Hovever, he could open 2007 back in the Triple-A rotation His best pitch is his changeup, making him effective against righthanders. His fastball has some cut action and sits at 88- 89 mph and touches 92 when he operates out of the bullpen--2-3 mph quicker than when he starts. He also does a better job of throwing strikes and keeping the ball down in relief.
Primarily a starter in his first two pro seasons, Jimenez has advanced rapidly since becoming a full-time reliever in 2004, reaching Triple-A last year as a 20-year-old. He goes after hitters with three solid pitches: an 88-89 mph fastball that tops out at 92, a curveball that improved in 2005 and a changeup that ranks among the best in the system. He does a good job of throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. Jimenez doesn't have a dominant pitch, so he's probably not going to be a late-inning reliever, but with three effective offerings he could be a starter. The last time he was in that role, he made the Midwest League midseason all-star team in 2003 but saw his fastball drop to the mid-80s as he lost seven of his final nine starts. The Mariners are considering putting him back in the rotation after adding him to the 40-man roster, but Jimenez probably will relieve in Triple-A this year.
Though he made the Midwest League midseason all-star team as an 18-year-old starter in 2003, Jimenez appeared tentative and faded badly down the stretch, losing seven of his final nine starts. The Mariners moved him to the bullpen last year and he seemed much more comfortable, having no trouble handling a high Class A hitter's league despite being its third-youngest regular pitcher. Jimenez owns the best changeup in the system, though he still needs to find a way to keep righthanders in check. His 87-91 mph fastball and his curveball are both solid pitches for him, and he pitches above his stuff because he's so driven. Because he owns three effective pitches, Seattle is debating on whether to return him to the rotation in 2005. Regardless of his role, he'll pitch in Double-A San Antonio.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Changeup in the Seattle Mariners in 2009
- Rated Best Changeup in the Pacific Coast League in 2008
- Rated Best Changeup in the Seattle Mariners in 2008
- Rated Best Changeup in the Seattle Mariners in 2005