Tigers' Jimenez fails to make list of top prospects

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Joe Jimenez

Baseball America came out with its latest list of the Tigers' top 10 prospects Wednesday morning, and it appeared to have a serious and possibly accidental oversight.

Turns out, it didn't. Writer Josh Norris stands by his decision to leave right-hander reliever Joe Jimenez off the rankings.

This past season, Jimenez, 21, jumped from Single-A Lakeland to Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo and even was seriously considered a candidate to join the Tigers' beleaguered bullpen in September.

In Baseball America's rankings in January, Jimenez was No. 7 for the Tigers, and that was before he took the minor leagues by storm.

"Perplexing," said Emily Waldon, Tigers minor-league analyst for 2080ball. "Joe is basically the biggest thing next to JaCoby Jones, as far as MLB-ready talent."

Tigers general manager Al Avila, who like most baseball executives doesn't pay much mind to media-generated rankings, had little reaction.

"I don't know," he said. "Not something I have any influence on."

With an electric fastball and a blossoming slider, Jimenez was 3-3 with a 1.51 ERA, and 78 strikeouts in 53.2 innings, to just 17 walks. He had 30 saves, allowed just 26 hits, and had a WHIP of 0.801. He pitched in the Futures Game in July.

"Essentially, these lists are subjective," said James Chipman, a Tigers' prospect analyst, based in Lakeland. "There's no right or wrong answers in the realm of prospecting. That being said, the omission of Joe Jimenez in a Tigers top-10 prospect list is perplexing to say the least."

As for the top 10, the Tigers' first-round pick from June, prep right-hander Matt Manning, was listed No. 1.

The rest of the list looks like this: outfielder Christin Stewart, right-hander Beau Burrows, left-hander Tyler Alexander, right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, outfielder/third baseman Jones, outfielder Mike Gerber, right-hander Adam Ravenelle, outfielder Steven Moya and outfielder Derek Hill.

Here's a breakdown of Norris' top-10 list.