Power Coming For Jimenez

DUNEDIN, FL - Hitting at a .328 clip to go along with three home runs and 22 RBIs through 48 games this season, Dunedin catcher A.J. Jimenez was selected as a 2011 Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star. The right-handed native of Puerto Rico has been playing pro ball since the 2008 season, but this was his first All-Star accolade of his young career.

"It's my first all-star game in professional baseball," A.J. Jimenez said. "It was a nice experience, it was different. It was the coolest thing I've done in baseball right now. You play with all good guys in the FSL and just, it was nice to be there."

Jimenez, 21, was one of six Jays to be named an All-Star this season. He spoke about what's been working for him in 2011, both offensively and defensively.

"I've been working on a short swing the whole season. I just try to work on that all year and hopefully it's gonna be good," he said. "I've got good defense, but just need to keep working every day."

Dunedin's Manager Clayton McCullough highlighted some of Jimenez's abilities and shed some light on why this season has been going so well for him.

"I think the biggest thing with A.J. is the physical stuff has always been there. He's always had a knack for finding the barrel of the bat; he's got a lot of hitting ability," stated McCullough. "He can catch, he's athletic, he can throw — does a lot of things very well behind the plate."

As a solid defensive catcher, having only committed five errors behind the plate, it's an added bonus that the righty can also swing the bat well. Considering he has seen a lot of action in the middle of the Dunedin lineup, hitting for power is also important. Power comes with size and physicality. Jimenez is listed as 5-foot-11 and an even 200 pounds, but McCullough believes there is change coming.

"I think his body is starting to change," said McCullough. "He's maturing some physically. He's stronger now than he was last year, certainly previous years before that so that's helping him now probably physically able to compete daily against better competition."

McCullough then touched on Jiminez's chances of being a power threat as he advances to higher levels of the organization.

"He's filling out some. His legs are getting stronger, so now you think if he keeps on the progression that he is, his body's got a chance to hold up and be durable at that position. Also, usually that power is the last thing to come," McCullough stated. Down the road, he's gonna be strong enough to hit some home runs.

"Is he gonna be a home run hitter? No, but he's gonna have enough strength in his bat to, now some of the doubles he hits, maybe three or four of those turn into home runs and he hits 10 or 14 homers a year, which would be about average power.

"He's got a chance to do that I think as he tightens up his swing and his offensive game and his physicality; they kind of mesh together. Down the road, there's a chance there's power in there."

Jiminez himself wants to hit for more power. He said that an accomplishment for him this season would be to hit a couple more home runs. As for what he needs to improve on, it's all about his mental approach.

"Just keep strong in my head, like in my mindset and just stay in shape," he said.

For Coach McCullough, he would like to see Jiminez improve on consistency to make a successful jump to the next level of pro ball.

"It's probably always just getting more consistent, continuing to clean up little things here and there because physically, it's all there," McCullough said. "It's just, can you tighten up certain parts of your game that when you go to the next level are gonna be exposed more? He's got a great swing, he's got a knack for doing a lot, but just being able to repeat it more often."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It's my first all-star game in professional baseball,\" A.J. Jimenez said. \"It was a nice experience, it was different. It was the coolest thing I've done in baseball right now. You play with all good guys in the FSL and just, it was nice to be there.\"
\r\n
\r\nJimenez, 21, was one of six Jays to be named an All-Star this season. He spoke about what's been working for him in 2011, both offensively and defensively.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been working on a short swing the whole season. I just try to work on that all year and hopefully it's gonna be good,\" he said. \"I've got good defense, but just need to keep working every day.\"
\r\n
\r\nDunedin's Manager Clayton McCullough highlighted some of Jimenez's abilities and shed some light on why this season has been going so well for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest thing with A.J. is the physical stuff has always been there. He's always had a knack for finding the barrel of the bat; he's got a lot of hitting ability,\" stated McCullough. \"He can catch, he's athletic, he can throw — does a lot of things very well behind the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs a solid defensive catcher, having only committed five errors behind the plate, it's an added bonus that the righty can also swing the bat well. Considering he has seen a lot of action in the middle of the Dunedin lineup, hitting for power is also important. Power comes with size and physicality. Jimenez is listed as 5-foot-11 and an even 200 pounds, but McCullough believes there is change coming.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think his body is starting to change,\" said McCullough. \"He's maturing some physically. He's stronger now than he was last year, certainly previous years before that so that's helping him now probably physically able to compete daily against better competition.\"
\r\n
\r\nMcCullough then touched on Jiminez's chances of being a power threat as he advances to higher levels of the organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's filling out some. His legs are getting stronger, so now you think if he keeps on the progression that he is, his body's got a chance to hold up and be durable at that position. Also, usually that power is the last thing to come,\" McCullough stated. Down the road, he's gonna be strong enough to hit some home runs.
\r\n
\r\n\"Is he gonna be a home run hitter? No, but he's gonna have enough strength in his bat to, now some of the doubles he hits, maybe three or four of those turn into home runs and he hits 10 or 14 homers a year, which would be about average power.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a chance to do that I think as he tightens up his swing and his offensive game and his physicality; they kind of mesh together. Down the road, there's a chance there's power in there.\"
\r\n
\r\nJiminez himself wants to hit for more power. He said that an accomplishment for him this season would be to hit a couple more home runs. As for what he needs to improve on, it's all about his mental approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just keep strong in my head, like in my mindset and just stay in shape,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nFor Coach McCullough, he would like to see Jiminez improve on consistency to make a successful jump to the next level of pro ball.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's probably always just getting more consistent, continuing to clean up little things here and there because physically, it's all there,\" McCullough said. \"It's just, can you tighten up certain parts of your game that when you go to the next level are gonna be exposed more? He's got a great swing, he's got a knack for doing a lot, but just being able to repeat it more often.\"
\r\n
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