Hopefully Jimenez not a “dark horse” like Bonifacio

This in response to this piece on MLB.com.

If you’re looking for a sleeper to make the Marlins’ roster, jot down the name Jorge Jimenez.

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The way Jimenez has looked thus far since reporting to Spring Training has the Marlins considering carrying him as their starting third baseman. For that to happen, there are a few scenarios in play for him. Foremost, he must show that he is deserving of a big league roster spot.

Secondly, the Marlins’ first-base showdown must sort itself out. Prospects Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison are competing for the starting job. If neither is considered ready, Jorge Cantu may move from third base back to first base. Jimenez then would step in as the third baseman.

After that, the article discusses how Jorge Jimenez may make the roster as a a left-handed bench bat, which is far more likely. When I first passed this article, I immediately thought about this short thought Dave of Marlins Diehards put up last week.

I do not wish to equate Jimenez with Emilio Bonifacio, but this is how we ended up with Emilio Bonifacio as the starting third-baseman for 82 games last year.

I’m not the only person noticing this, right?

You were not, Dave. I think we all feel that a return to the days of Emilio Bonifacio is a scary thought, and if Jimenez even approaches that kind of level, then we may be in for some rough waters if he starts. But does he? How do they compare? Let’s take a quick look.

Tale of the Tape
Note: All stats cumulative minor league stats going back to 2006, only games from High-A or above considered

Emilio Bonifacio Name Jorge Jimenez
SHB Handedness LHB
25 Age 25
1642 PA 1093
.306 BA .302
.356 OBP .369
.397 SLG .431
16.9% K% 11.9%
6.9% BB% 7.9%
3.7 HR/600 11.0
.365 BABIP .321

That table shows some strong resemblances and some striking differences. Both players spent over 1000 PA in High-A or above and batted respectable totals. Both batting averages are a bit inflated due to high BABIP, though I’d give Bonifacio the benefit of the doubt that his speed got him a few extra deserved bases. Their walk rates don’t differ all that much, leading to similar OBP’s.

Where the two players differ is in the power numbers. Jimenez’ .431 SLG in the minors vastly eclipses Bonifacio’s .397, and unlike Bonifacio’s number, Jimenez’ is not buffed by added triples, but rather by home run power. While Jimenez averaged just about 11 homers per 600 PA, Bonifacio did not break four homers in that similar span. In addition, Bonifacio struck out at a bit of a higher clip, giving Jimenez the edge in terms of contact rate.

From these values, it seems obvious that Jimenez is a better player (not considering defense, which Boni likely wins). But, there’s an extra edge that Jimenez had over Bonifacio: Boni spent his age 23 season in Triple-A, where he was of similar age to other players. Jimenez, however, was a repeater in low-A and as a result just reached Double-A in his age 24 campaign, meaning he was well above the age of his peers. Putting up good numbers in the minors is nice, but doing so against kids who are younger than you may not be the most fair assessment.

So what does CHONE say about either player? The projections are actually quite similar. CHONE expects Bonifacio to hit .268/.324/.346, which would actually be a nice improvement from last year’s abysmal .252/.303/.308. Of course, it would still be a pathetic .301 wOBA, and Bonifacio isn’t likely to help with his glove either. Jimenez, on the other hand, doesn’t fair much better, expected to hit .259/.313/.373 with none of Bonifacio’s baserunning prowess. That line translates to a .305 wOBA, a smidgen better.

The lesson here? Neither player looks like he’ll be particularly good, and if Gaby Sanchez or Logan Morrison lose their jobs to either one, the Marlins may be in for another non-productive year at third base. Let’s hope Spring Training doesn’t force Fredi Gonzalez’ hand.

Topics: Emilio Bonifacio, Jorge Jimenez, Miami Marlins

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  • John Herold

    I think the worst part of Jimenez is probably his defense. Scouts have some concerns that he’ll have to transition to first base, and TotalZone more than backs that up. CHONE’s projection for his defense is -12/150! Some good news though is he has shown a pretty big split, and his projected CHONE wOBA through regressed split projection based off his minor league numbers is .315.