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Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 9: Leo Jimenez

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Photo credit:Mike Janes, Associated Press
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
There’s arguably no prospect in the Jays organization that raised their stock as much as today’s prospect.
This is Blue Jays Nation’s annual pre-season list, in which I’ll take a look at the top 50 prospects in the organization. We’ll look at the player’s stats, my observations, and other publications’ scouting reports if available.
Let’s take a look at Leo Jimenez.

Getting to know Leo Jimenez…

Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Born: May 17, 2001
Acquired: 2017 International Free Agency
2023 Team: Triple-A Buffalo
Previous Ranking: 8
Signed in the summer of 2017, Jimenez made his professional debut in 2018 in the Gulf Coast League, essentially the Florida Complex League, where he slashed .250/.333/.341 with no homers in 150 plate appearances for a 96 wRC+. The next season, he played for another rookie league team in the now defunct rookie advanced class, where he slashed .298/377/.377 with no homers in 245 plate appearances for a 115 wRC+.
Jimenez made his mark as a top 10 Blue Jays prospect in 2021, slashing .315/.517/.381 with his first professional homer in 242 plate appearances. On top of that, Jimenez had an insane 21.1 BB% (and a 14.5 K%), as well as 21 hit by pitches, which is still one of my favourite stat lines since starting this job.
The 2022 season wasn’t as kind to Jimenez as he reached High-A. With Vancouver, he slashed .230/.340/.385 with six homers in 294 plate appearances, while his BB% dropped to 9.2% and his K% dropped to 19.7%. The increase in power and the ability to play shortstop were promising signs, but his hit tool took a step back and the power wasn’t nearly enough.
Jimenez is a perfect example of why you don’t give up on a young prospect, as even on my top prospect list, he ranked as the 21st-best Blue Jays prospect heading into the 2023 season. With the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the 22-year-old slashed .287/.372/.436 with eight homers in 333 plate appearances, along with a 9.6 BB% and a 15.9 K%, a large reason for the rise.
Of course, Jimenez ran into some problems facing former big league pitchers in Triple-A, slashing .190/.338/.238 with no homers in 77 plate appearances, along with an 11.7 BB% and a 19.5 K%. However, Jimenez has shown in the past to bounce back well, so don’t be surprised if he has a good 2024.
As you can imagine, Jimenez ranks on several top prospect lists. Fangraphs has him as the fifth-best Blue Jays prospect, while Scott Mitchell has him as the Blue Jays’ sixth-best prospect, and Baseball America has him as the Jays’ seventh-best prospect.
Fangraphs really like Jimenez’s swing, as it’s short and he does a great job of generating contact. They do note though, that Jimenez may have issues with high fastballs due his swing path. Defensively he plays good shortstop and could easily be a long-term glove-first utility player, similar to what Mitchell says.
This is potentially Jimenez’s final year with an option. However, there is a clause that states if a player who has accrued less than five full seasons at the major and minor league level, they’ll get a fourth option year. A recipient of this clause is another former top 10 Blue Jays’ prospect, Otto López, who was given another option year for the 2024 season.
Either way, it’s only a matter of time before Jimenez makes a big league roster.

In case you missed it…

Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown: The honourable mentions
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 19: Cade Doughty
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 18: Adam Macko
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 17: Jace Bohrofen
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 16: Alex De Jesus
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 15: Dahian Santos
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 14: Enmanuel Bonilla
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 13: Tucker Toman
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 12: Landen Maroudis
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 11: Juaron Watts-Brown
Blue Jays Nation’s Pre-Season Prospect Countdown – No. 10: Damiano Palmegiani

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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