The Toronto Blue Jays' lone representative in this year’s MLB Futures Game is catcher A.J. Jimenez. Jimenez is 6'0", 210 pounds and plays for the Double-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He is a 22-year-old prospect who hails from Puerto Rico and will be representing the World Team in the Futures Game.
Jimenez was drafted in the ninth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft straight out of high school. He started the 2013 season on the disabled list while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery but has hit extremely well since returning to the lineup.
In Single-A, where he started the season, Jimenez hit .429 in just nine games before being promoted to the Double-A New Hampshire. In Double-A Jimenez has played 23 games and has been just as impressive. His batting average is .376 with 46 total bases and an OBP of .400.
In each of his three seasons in the minors, Jimenez has cut down on his strikeout totals and increased his walks. That is a very good indicator that he is becoming a more mature hitter and learning how to succeed at the highest level.
However, catcher is an extremely important position, and teams likely won’t keep a player around who can only hit for average. Jimenez has been able to find success in other aspects of the game as well. He has worked well with his pitchers and consistently called strong games from behind the plate.
Jimenez is also an above average defender. He was voted as the Florida State League’s best defensive catcher in 2010 and 2011 and has received much praise for his strong defensive play. According to Baseball Instinct, Jimenez is a “top-flight defensive catcher.”
With the departure of Travis d’Arnaud this offseason, Jimenez jumped to the top catching prospect in the Blue Jays organization. With his extremely strong defensive play, his ability to work with pitching staff and his ability to make contact at the plate Jimenez is on a fast track to the MLB.
Catcher is not a deep position within the Blue Jays organization and if Jimenez can keep up his strong play he may be the catcher of the future.
Check on Jimenez in the Futures Game on July 14 as a part of the MLB All-Star festivities in New York.
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