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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/23/24 : Today at the Complex


Morning Major League Camp :


Watched parts of six live BP sessions on Roberts and Ashburn fields  - Taijuan Walker, Spencer Turnbull, Yunior Marte, Connor Brogdon, Orion Kerkering and Luis Ortiz each threw.   Bryce Harper went yard against Walker.  Jake Cave is swinging well in the early going - he lined a couple hits during the sessions.   Turnbull has good stuff - first time I’ve seen him close up - Darick Hall lined a hard single to left field against him but no one else made solid contact.


Afternoon Minor League Mini Camp :


Batting Practice :


With the wind blowing strong from left to right it was hard for lefty hitters to keep pulled baseballs fair on Carlton Field - quite a few went over to the adjacent grounds keeping building and some even made their way over to Roberts Field.  I was again impressed by the hitting ability of Nikau Pouaka-Grego -his swing is easy but the baseball flies off the bat - during his session he launched three in a row over the fences with seeming ease - the young man can rake.   Justin Crawford also had a good round - multiple line drives stroked with authority and a couple over the wall that he launched.  Quick hands and ability to drive thru the baseball - comes with growing into his frame - looks like broader shoulders and more muscle than what we saw last summer.  Bryce Ball launches em with authority - the big fella repeatedly drove baseballs beyond the fences.  Carson Taylor has also impressed this week, solid and consistent hard contact.


Bullpens :


Jonathan Petit, Mavis Graves, Luke Russo, Enrique Segura, Micah Ottenbreit, Casey Steward, Jaydenn Estanista, Wilmer Blanco and Alexis De La Cruz each threw side bullpen sessions on the seven mounds.


Live BP :


Jordi Martinez, Estibenzon Jimenez and Paxton Thompson threw live BP sessions on Roberts field.  Darick Hall stuck around for the afternoon sessions to get more AB’s - he faced all three pitchers, lined a ball against Thompson off the left field wall.  I keep singing the praises of Jordi Martinez, he’s got legit big league stuff, it’s not if but when he pitches in the show.  Estibenzon Jimenez is another one of my favorites - “Jimmy” is fun to watch, he competes and has really good stuff, gets after hitters, won’t back down - has a mix to succeed.  He’s my spotlight player of the day.


Today’s Minor League Player Spotlight


RHP Estibenzon Jimenez  - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 11/27/19 - San Felipe, Venezuela


2023 Stats :  appeared in 21 regular season games for the Low A Clearwater Threshers making 19 starts.  He recorded a 3.60 ERA in 90 innings pitched during the regular season with 78 strikeouts and 39 walks, posted a 1.36 WHIP.  Averaged 16.28 pitches per inning pitched and had a 64 % strike ratio.  An additional seven innings over two games in the playoffs brought his career high in innings for a season to 97 which is more than double what he threw in each of his first two years as a professional.  He was dominant in his second playoff game recording six strikeouts in three scoreless frames.   “Jimmy” has a career 2.81 ERA in 51 appearances (DSL,FCL, Low A) over 179.2 IP with a 1.36 WHIP, a 68 % strike ratio and a 12.36 pitches per inning pitched average.


Notes :   I have liked his game since I first saw him on the backfields a couple years ago.  Voted the best changeup in the Florida State League in a Baseball America poll for the 2023 season.  He gets after it, doesn’t waste pitches, doesn’t back down from situations and displays a passion for the game.  Has the ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes - a sinker in the 91 to 94 mph range, four seamer sitting 92 to 95 mph, touching 96, slider,changeup,cutter and curve ball.  Focuses on fastball, changeup and slider, is a smart pitcher who can read hitters reactions and use that to his advantage.  The repertoire of pitches along with the skill set and moxie is his ticket up the ladder.  A right handed version in competitiveness and style of Ranger Suarez.


Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “Fills up the strike zone with three quality pitches. A durable arm that continues to increase velocity each season. Great feel for his change-up.”


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


Estibenzon Jimenez windup and delivery in sequence - live BP today



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