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Saturday Sleepers: Carlos Jimenez Has One of the Best Changeups in the System

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In early 2022, I saw Carlos Jimenez pitch for the Bradenton Marauders. Of all the players who played in Single-A on that particular day, Jimenez stood out the most.

When talking about players in A-ball standing out, it’s usually for glimpses of potential, rather than being a well-rounded prospect. Jimenez stood out as a fierce competitor with a lively fastball and an advanced changeup, at the young age of 19-years-old. Those pitches led to high strikeout totals, along with control issues as Jimenez worked to refine his command.

Two years later, Jimenez is back at the same level, and still putting up elite swing and miss. He’s made two appearances so far, and his most recent this past Tuesday shows why he’s a guy to watch. Jimenez threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits, walking one, and striking out five.

His fastball sat 95-96 MPH, touching as high as 97.5. The pitch features 2332 RPMs of average spin, and generated seven whiffs on 19 swings, with four called strikes for a 32% overall called and swinging strike rate (CSW%). Jimenez was in the zone 47% of the time with the pitch, while getting a 44% chase rate, and a 25% contact rate on chase swings.

The changeup remained elite. Jimenez got three whiffs in four swings, and two called strikes for a 50% CSW on ten pitches. The changeup features much less spin than the fastball, averaging 1788 RPMs, with an 87.1 MPH average velocity.

Jimenez also threw a curveball, which led to two whiffs on five swings. The curve averaged 80.1 MPH, and had a 2671 average RPM.

In his first outing of the year, Jimenez walked four in 1.2 innings, allowing two runs while striking out two. His four-seam was only in the zone 33% of the time, and only got 19% chase. There are still command issues, but he’s also young enough to work through commanding a fastball. This week’s start was an example of how dominant Jimenez can be when he’s on, and executing his fastball/changeup combo.

At the very least, Jimenez has the stuff to envision a future as an upper-level pitcher with a chance to pitch in a Major League bullpen. Getting to a positive consistent point with his fastball would be a massive step toward that upside. From there, developing the three-pitch mix with the curveball could give him a chance to be a starting option in the big leagues.

For now, Jimenez remains a guy with promising stuff, with the assignment to learn how to consistently use that stuff for the dominant results he is capable of posting.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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