The Boston Red Sox on Friday added outfielder Gilberto Jimenez to their spring training roster as a non-roster invitee.
This is notable not because Jimenez will compete for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day squad — he’s likely a couple of years away from reaching the majors — but because it’ll give the 20-year-old a taste of big league camp as he continues his ascent in the Red Sox system.
“To be able to have him here, work out with us, learn the game and hopefully he can get some at-bats and go out there and see what he can do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during a video conference after Friday’s spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “This is the first time I’ve seen him. Strong kid. Strong. Looking forward for him to go out there and learn from the guys. It should be fun to see him run around the bases.”
Jimenez, signed as an international free agent in 2017, is the Red Sox’s No. 5 prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, trailing only Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Bryan Mata and Jarren Duran on those rankings.
The switch-hitting Dominican Republic native is considered an excellent athlete with blazing speed and evolving power, which could result in him becoming an impact player offensively at the highest level. His quickness certainly helps him in the outfield, too, where Jimenez’s arm strength has drawn solid reviews.
Jimenez hit .359 with three home runs, 19 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and an .863 OPS in 253 plate appearances with Single-A Lowell in 2019, the season before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into everything.
We might not see Jimenez crack the majors until 2022 or even 2023, but he’s definitely an intriguing prospect worth monitoring throughout the 2021 season. His stock appears to be rising, with Friday’s invitation to major league camp perhaps being the latest evidence of such.
The Red Sox now have invited 34 players to major league spring training as non-roster invitees with Opening Day scheduled for April 1.