2013 Phillies Report Card: Cesar Jimenez
Cesar Jimenez got the big leagues back in 2006 when he was just 21 years old. Since then, he’s pitched a grand total of 65.1 innings while wearing four different uniform numbers. That’s just over 16 innings per uniform number. Injuries and underwhelming stuff have ticketed Jimenez as “Organizational Depth,” the title bestowed upon those who are forced to toil away in baseball purgatory, on buses from Lehigh to Louisville and back. Jimenez turns 29 years old in a little over a month and, at an ample 5’11” and 220lbs, he’s not doing the good kind of growing anymore. So we have what we have.
What we have is an arbitration eligible Venezuelan lefty who, in 17 innings of work this year, struck out 11, walked 10 (1.41 WHIP) and posted an ERA of 3.71 in a sample far too small to mean anything. Scouting wise we’re looking at an average fastball in the upper 80s, solid average changeup in the upper 70s that features good fade here and there, and an early-breaking slider in the 78-82mph range that he uses almost exclusively in the dirt to his glove side. It’s enough for him to get outs at Triple-A but not over a long period of time in the big leagues. He’s a pure depth arm.
The most notable thing to happen to Jimenez this season was this gem:
“The Empty Hand” tag will go down as one of the more hilariously awful calls in baseball history. While most of us take joy in CB Bucknor’s incompetency and the way it juxtaposes off of his very certain, very macho nod and subsequent “out” call, my favorite part of this play is easily Jimenez’s reaction. Was he overcome with so much uncontainable joy because he got out of the inning? Or was it because he successfully tricked Bucknor? Were we seeing the first on-camera manifestation of the joy all of us feels when we get away with something innocently insidious? That joy that, in that moment, we often have to quell to perpetuate the façade? The pure elation that comes when you realize your mom totally thinks you’re too sick to go to school and you actually almost make yourself sick trying to sandbag the smile that’s about to flood across your face.
I don’t know if Jimenez will be back with the organization next season or not. I do know that there’s at least one Japanese team that’s at least mildly interested in his services.