On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced the rosters for the 2013 Siruis XM All-Star Futures Game, to be played at Citi Field in New York on Sunday July 14, 2013 at 2:00pm EST. In that group of the games top prospects, catcher A.J. Jimenez has been selected as the lone representative of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Ranked by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo as the team’s 11th best prospect, the selection is indicative of the strides that Jimenez had made in such a short period of time in 2013.
After playing just 27 games in 2012 due to needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Jimenez has seized the opportunity upon his return to active duty. He started the season in extended Spring Training before playing 9 games with the Dunedin Blue Jays, hitting .429 with 1 home run and 9 RBI in 29 plate appearances.
That earned him a quick promotion back to Double-A New Hampshire, where his season ended prematurely a year ago. Jimenez has not let up since moving to the Eastern League, hitting .451 with 9 RBI and a 1.033 OPS in 54 plate appearances for the Fisher Cats.
However, it is Jimenez’s defensive promise that helped make it easier for Toronto to include fellow catching prospect Travis d’Araud in the R.A. Dickey trade with the Mets this winter.
Jimenez is one of the toughest catchers to steal against in the Minor Leagues. Since making the transition to a full-time catcher in 2010, Jimenez has caught 51%, 44%, and 55% of would be base-stealers in each of the last three seasons. One year after the aforementioned Tommy John surgery, he has kept up that pace, nailing 38% of attempted robberies in 2013.
The key for Jimenez now is health, as the path to the Major Leagues is wide open for him. With incumbent catcher J.P. Arencibia doing nothing to prove that he is the catcher of the future, the opportunity is there for Jimenez to establish himself. A nod in the Futures Game is a good start on that quest.
In 2012, Anthony Gose was the sole Blue Jays prospect to participate in the Futures Game, going 1 for 1 with a walk and a run scored. Travis d’Arnaud was also selected to participate, but was injured and was unable to play.