Here's a BP year by year look at him (sans this season)
A so-so defensive player, Jimenez is already a legitimate major-league leadoff hitter. The Padres were concerned enough about his defense at shortstop to pick up Ramon Vazquez from the Mariners, and will move Jimenez to second base. This decreases his value and increases the risk that he'll get injured, so his future isn't as bright as it looked late last year. He should still be a valuable player.
D'Angelo Jimenez is a finalist in the "Best Season After an Off-Season Broken Neck" balloting. Forget the value of the performance and just tip your cap to him for playing so soon after suffering the injury in a January car accident. Healthy again, he's one of the better prospects in baseball. Jimenez will be with the Yankees this year; whether he plays second base or third base is yet to be determined.
Jimenez would have been playing shortstop and batting second by June for about 25 other teams. He isnít going to hit for the power that the Trinity does, but he actually does some things better than they do, including play defense. With Jeter being Jeter, and Knoblauch being expensive and difficult to move, Jimenezís first shot at a job is likely to come in another organization. Heís a superior talent who deserves an opportunity.
A fantastic example of a player making a slow, steady climb through the system, improving at every level, and now ready to... to... spend a lot of time at Columbus. Jimenez, like Gomez, is blocked, with the infielders in Yankee Stadium under contract through at least 2001. For his sake and ours, I hope he's traded, because he could be a special player. There's 30 major league infields; based solely on expected 1999 production, I'd probably take Johnson/Gomez/Jimenez/Lowell over a half-dozen of them.
Jimenez suffered a broken foot in midsummer, but that was about the only thing that went wrong for him this year. He continued to develop in all areas, particularly his plate discipline and glovework. As expected, heís gaining power with age. The Yanks have a logjam up the middle, so Jimenezí future may be in another organization. Why he wasnít selected in the Expansion Draft is an absolute mystery.
Scouts rave about Jimenezí tools, but the walks, for an 18-year-old, are what stand out. Heís still got a lot of growing to do, and will play at high-A Tampa in 1997. Still two or three years away, but will begin showing up on radars this year. With Jeter at short and Rudy Gomez at second ahead of him, a lack of good third base prospects in the organization may eventually move him to third.