2. Andres Gimenez, SS
Height: 5’11”, Weight: 160 lbs.
DOB: 9/4/98 (20)
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2015 (Barquisimeto, Venezuela)
85 G, 308 AB, .282/.348/.432, 87 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 22 BB, 70 K, 28/39 SB, .343 BABIP (Double-A)
37 G, 137 AB, .277/.344/.358, 38 H, 9 2B, 3B, 0 HR, 9 BB, 22 K, 10/13 SB, .330 BABIP (Double-A)
Considered one of the best international rookies in the 2015-2016 class, the Mets added a highly regarded talent into their minor league system when they signed Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez, giving him a signing bonus just north of $1 million. Gimenez looked like a man among boys in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, hitting a combined .350/.469/.523 in 62 games split among both of the Mets’ DSL teams. When the 2017 season began, Gimenez impressed Mets brass during extended spring training to the point that they gave the 18-year-old an extremely aggressive assignment. Typically fairly conservative with their top prospects, the Mets assigned Gimenez to the Columbia Fireflies, their Low-A affiliate. In 92 games, he hit .265/.346/.349, more than holding his own against competition years older than himself as the second-youngest player in the league that year. After spending the winter working out at a Barwis strength and conditioning camp, Gimenez showed up to spring training lighter and more athletic. He began the year with the St. Lucie Mets, the third-youngest player in the Florida State League, and hit an impressive .282/.348/.432 in 85 games. At the end of July, he was promoted to the Binghamton Mets, where he was the youngest player in the league. He did not hit as well in his final 37 games, but still posted a strong batting line, hitting .277/.344/.358.
Gimenez uses a compact, simple swing, keeping the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for a long time. Thanks to his strong wrists, he is able to adjust his bat path midstride, giving him the ability to react to pitches with movement. Despite being 19-years-old in his second year of professional baseball in the United State, Gimenez has shown an advanced eye at the plate. Exposed to advanced breaking pitches and premium velocity more consistently this past season, he began chasing bad pitches more than he had in 2017, but he still kept his strikeout rate at a manageable level and continued drawing walks at a high rate. Though he has broad shoulders and will almost certainly add more muscle to his thin frame as he continues to mature, it is unlikely that Gimenez ever develops much in-game power. He can make hard contact- especially pulling the ball when it is down and in- but is currently more of a gap hitter with below-average raw power, and even with additional growth, that profile is unlikely to change very much. Thank to workout sessions at Barwis training facilities over the 2018 offseason, Gimenez shed weight and became more athletic, turning what was above-average speed into a plus tool. In addition, he has become smarter on the base paths, learning how to read pitchers better and pick and choose his spots.
In the field, Gimenez has the potential to be a plus defender at shortstop. He has quick reactions, good instincts and a fast first step. He is smooth around the bag, and shows both plus range and a plus arm. In addition, he has all of the “intangibles” in spades. Gimenez is extremely mature for his age, is a hard worker, and is always looking to improve at the plate, in the field, and as a person in general.
Steve Sypa says:
Gimenez does not necessarily have “one man wrecking crew” potential, but his floor is fairly high. He has an excellent hit tool and could be a potential .300 hitter, has transformed himself into a legit plus runner thanks to offseason training last winter, and is a great fielder. Put those attributes in a pot and stir, and that is a major league shortstop.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Entering 2018, I wasn’t a big fan of Gimenez, who I saw as ‘Ruben Tejada 2.0’; that is, a useful middle infielder who does most things decently but doesn’t have a standout skill. Gimenez promptly blew that comp out of the water, improving from average to plus at shortstop and showing potentially elite (in today’s MLB) base stealing ability thanks to improved speed and great instincts on the basepaths. He’s a ‘safe’ bet to be an above average shortstop at the major league level now, and while the lack of power means he most likely will never be a superstar, good shortstops don’t grow on trees. If you prefer high-floor guys, there’s an easy justification for Gimenez over Alonso as well.
Kenneth Lavin says:
After aggressively pushing him to the full-season South Atlantic League as a 17-year-old in 2017, the Mets continued to push Gimenez aggressively in 2018. Gimenez was mostly up for the challenge, performing quite well as one of the younger players in the Florida State League, and holding his own against much older competition as one of the youngest players in the Eastern League. He reported to camp this year in excellent shape, having worked very hard on developing his lower body muscles during the offseason, and is now a plus runner with the potential to steal bases with regularity down the road. He ended up stealing 38 bases in 52 attempts between Port St. Lucie and Binghamton, which was good for around a 70% success rate. He’s a good hitter, with excellent feel for the barrel, but hasn’t shown much game power yet, and doesn’t show a ton of raw power in batting practice. Hopefully he is able to get more and more power into his game as he begins to play against competition that is closer to him in age. His carrying tool is likely to always be his plus glove at shortstop, where he utilizes his plus speed, excellent instincts, plus arm, and silky-smooth actions around the bag to make all of the plays you’d expect a plus shortstop to make. There has been a lot of talk about him potentially being called up to the majors in 2019, but I think that’s generally a little short-sighted given just how young he is and how the bat has played so far in the upper minors. However, I do think he is likely to be a first division regular at a premium position when all is said and done, and would not be surprised, given all of the praise he’s received from scouts and coaches about his maturity, makeup, and focus, if that outcome is realized sooner rather than later.