67. Luis Jimenez – Right-handed Pitcher
Born: 01/02/1995 – Height: 6’4” – Weight: 170 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Facts & Info: Jimenez was signed by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic in January 2013. He struggled early in the season last year at Short-A Mahoning Valley as he owned a 9.13 ERA over his first eight appearances (23.2 IP, 29 H, 3 HR, 18 BB, 18 K) through July 29th, but over his last six appearances covering all of August and September he had a 2.30 ERA (31.1 IP, 19 H, 1 HR, 13 BB, 20 K).
Stuff: Jimenez is an arm that the Indians are very intrigued by because of his body, size, arm strength and the way the ball comes out of his hand. When he is on and around the zone he is tough to square up. He features a four-seam fastball that sits at 91-93 MPH, but has the extra juice where when he reaches back for extra he can get it up to 95-96 MPH. He has that extra tank of gas where when he wants to throw harder he can do it as he can pitch 92-93 MPH the whole game and then in the fifth inning be at 93-95 MPH. He also will drop an occasional two-seamer in to give hitters a different look to his fastball. His main secondary offering is an average slider which has a chance to be more, though he also mixes in a developing changeup that is coming along and is a pitch he is involving more often into his pitch mix.
Delivery & Intangibles: Jimenez has an athletic build with good size that allows for durability, and is actually bigger than his listed weight as he is probably closer to 185-190 pounds. He has a loose arm, a little bit of deception in his delivery and has the long legs and arms to get on hitters quickly. He is not afraid to challenge anybody and has really learned to slow things down on the mound, which has been a big key as his significant mental strides have helped him be more consistent with his stuff and mechanics. In 2015 there would be times where he would be pitching and things would go quick and he would speed up a little bit and his performance would crater, but last season he showed more elusiveness when things started to speed up as he was able to step off the mound and slow things down as opposed to speeding up - which is a sign of growing maturity.
Focus: Consistency has been Jimenez’s biggest issue to this point in his career as he often has too many big misses with his pitches which make it tough for him to be effective. The Indians are working with him to improve the command and location of his fastball in order to avoid missing so big on location and to have his misses end up in the same area. At times he can become a little arm dominant and come out of his delivery a little bit and stand up, so the Indians have worked with him to stride and reach more aggressively to the catcher and to stride straight. He has such long legs and arms that he can advance on hitters, so the Indians just want him to focus down and be aggressive with his legs to step and stride aggressively. His slider is a solid offering, but to be above average or more he needs to show more confidence in it, locate it better, sharpen is up and avoid trying to do too much with it.
Future: Jimenez had an interesting year pitching outside of the complex leagues in the Dominican and Arizona for the first time in his career. His numbers were very ordinary which makes it easy for the casual fan to cast him aside and overlook him as a prospect, but he’s an arm the Indians like a lot. He overcame some adversity after his poor start with Mahoning Valley with a strong showing over the final six weeks of the season, and a lot of that improvement came from improved command of his fastball that saw him drop from a 6.8 BB/9 to a more reasonable 3.7 BB/9. He has the arm strength with a good fastball that reaches the mid-90s, and the Indians believe that if they can get him more consistent with his release point and his mechanics that the fastball command will continue to improve like it did over the course of last season and that he may be due for a significant spike in his performance this coming year. He will continue to be developed as a starter, though he has the stuff to pitch out of the bullpen and could see his stuff and performance skyrocket if moved there in the coming years. He should open the season in the starting rotation at Low-A Lake County.