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Tigers Top 30 Prospects: #17 Joe Jimenez

Joe Jimenez is relatively unknown by Tigers fans. Once he gets to full season ball, people will start paying attention. He has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter.

Kevin C. Cox

Unfortunately, there is no picture of Jimenez available at this time, so I decided to have Al Alburquerque being a clown. That's better anyway.

#17 Joe Jimenez: 6'3", 220 lbs., RHP

Tigers (R) 18 18 12 3 4 0 35.30% 8.80% 0.145 0.83 0.237 93.30% 0.5 1.53 -1.03

Gulf Coast League hitters were obviously no match for Jimenez. That is great and all, but as I have said before, I would not read too much into it.

Here is a link to his Perfect Game profile.

This is what was written about him at the Perfect Game World Showcase last January:

Joe Alexander Jimenez is a 2013 RHP with a 6-3 220 lb. frame from Bayamon, PR who attends PRBAHS. Big strong athletic build, power pitcher's look. Sound delivery mechanics, long extended arm action with some hook in back, 3/4's arm slot, works downhill, ball comes out cleanly, some effort on release. Steady low 90's fastball, topped out at 93 mph, maintained velocity well, fastball mostly straight with occasional running action. Introduced new slider since last few events, good pitch with late break and good feel in the strike zone, low 70's curveball is a "get me over pitch" and effective in the right counts. Gets nice movement and sink on change up but can maintain arm speed better. Keeps getting better every time we see him, velocity is up, slider is a promising pitch and beginning to show nice pitchability. Good student, signed with Florida International.

Projected 2014 Level: Extended Spring and Connecticut, probably a late season WMI appearance

Thanks to Nick Faleris for the video. It's relatively short, so definitely check it out.

The sample is too small for charts or graphs on this one. Sorry, guys. Let's get right down to the meat of Jimenez' profile.

Joe Jimenez is a big, right-handed starter, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tigers in 2013. There is certainly a backstory here, but Jimenez was seeking pretty large dollars, may have received some bad advice, and fell in the draft. Detroit swooped in and grabbed him for around $100,000. Touted as the best arm out of Puerto Rico in 2013, Jimenez features a 90-93 mile per hour fastball that touches 94, with occassional run and sink, and an improving slider that flashes plus with tight spin and depth. He also features a curveball that is a bit below average, and will probably be scrapped long term, along with a usable change up. The change up isn't a feature pitch at this time, and acts as more of a 'show me' offering. However, he has the potential for two plus pitches, and an average one, in addition to a really nice pitcher's build. That's a solid prospect.

Jimenez consistently attacks hitters, especially ones that are overmatched by his pure stuff. In the Gulf Coast League, he went right after guys, spotted his fastball inside and outside, and could change eye level with it. His slider is the put-away pitch for now, and with more refinement, should be able to play at a plus level relatively soon. Mechanically, Jimenez has a loose, somewhat long arm action. He shows the ball a bit behind his body, kind of like Jeff Hoffman from East Carolina University, a top pitcher in this year's draft. He doesn't look to have any mechanical red flags, and repeats his delivery well. His breaking pitches come from the same arm slot as his fastball, although he could stand to maintain arm speed on the change up a bit better.  Due to his relatively smooth and repeatable delivery, the command and control profiles are each solid, major league average, or a tick above profiles. Remember, this is a kid who just turned 19.

There doesn't look to be much physical projection left with Jimenez, but that is completely fine. He is in his 'man body' at current, which is bottom heavy and strong. He looks the part of a mid-rotation workhorse, and is probably too advanced at this point to tear up the complex league. I don't know if he's ready for a West Michigan challenge out of the gate, but I wouldn't fault the Tigers for placing him in that position. He's not quite as advanced as a guy like Jake Thompson as a 19 year old, but would give short season ball hitters nightmares at this point.

Jimenez should be an interesting follow over the next 18 months, and it really seems like the Tigers have gotten a steal here. Remember, he's still extremely, extremely far away. I'm excited to get eyes on Jimenez at some point throughout the year, and shoot some video of my own. All in all, this is a guy to get excited about, and if he continues to improve, will shoot up the Tigers prospect lists due to his pitchability and above average stuff.