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The 11 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 5, Andres Gimenez

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2019.

Andres Gimenez
Chris McShane

Team: Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Position: SS

Born: 9/04/98 (21)

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 160 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2015 (Barquisimeto, Venezuela)

2019 Season: 117 G, 432 AB, .250/.309/.387, 108 H, 22 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 24, 102, 28/44, .306 BABIP (Double-A)

Date(s) Seen: May 16 (1-5, 2B, K, SB), May 17 (0-3, K), May 18 (0-3, BB, K, SB)

The Man

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, sending him 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. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League after the season ended and hit .125/.250/.292 in 19 games. He began the 2019 season with Binghamton and had a fairly disappointing season, hitting .250/.309/.387 in 117 games. After the season ended, the Mets sent Gimenez to the Arizona Fall League for a second time, where he hit .371/.413/.586 in 18 games, winning the AFL batting title.

The Player

Prior to the 2019 season, Gimenez used a compact, somewhat linear swing that was suited to spraying line drives all over the field. In 2019, he added a bit more loft to his swing, resulting in a spike in strikeouts as he swung over balls, and a great deal of poor contact, resulting in the lowest batting average and on-base percentage that he’s posted as a professional. The changes to his swing did have their intended effect, as he hit a career-high nine home runs. Gimenez was able to make hard contact prior to these swing changes- especially when he pulling down and in balls- but even with the additional loft, he has fringe-average raw power, and even if he adds a bit more muscle to his frame, 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.

Looking To 2020

Gimenez’ season did not live up to expectations, but his season was not objectively poor; he did post a 105 wRC+. He seemed to refine his swing a bit more in the Arizona Fall League, but whether or not those numbers changes are real or just small sample size and statistical noise remain to be seen. Regardless, he should be assigned to the Syracuse Mets for the 2020 season. In addition, he needs to be added to the Mets’ 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule V Draft.

The List

6: Jaylen Palmer

7: Shervyen Newton

8: Andres Regnault

9: Hansel Moreno

10: Wilmer Reyes

11: Luke Ritter