Luis Jimenez and Manny Correa: Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2012

Stephen Dunn

Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2012 contributions. I rank guys according to advanced metrics which, for position players, include batting runs above average, positional adjustment, defense, and a replacement level calculation that scales the total to "Wins Above Replacement" (though the concept of replacement level doesn't really apply to minor leaguers). I use a standard "runs allowed based" WAR formula for pitchers.

7) Luis Jimenez, 24, 3B - 3.2 WAR, +7 bat, +6 glove. .309/.334/.495 with 16 HR and 17 SB.

Jimenez did exactly what he did last year, and the year before that, which means I get to be a little lazy. From last year's writeup:

...Jimenez did his regular high contact/moderate pop/no patience thing... he hit linedrives at a solid 20% rate; he showed no real platoon split, hitting righties just as well as lefties; he didn't strike out much; he maintained his short, athletic swing; and he continued to play good defense....

... He's a pull-oriented hitter who takes aggressive hacks off of his front foot, launching balls consistently into the air across the left half of the field. His homerun per flyball rate has hovered around 7%-8% for years, which is actually pretty mediocre; he just hits balls into the air 20% more of the time than the average player, including Trumbo, providing more opportunities for extra base hits....

...The high flyball rate is important in projecting Jimenez' production in the big leagues because it means that his batting average on balls in play will likely continue to rest below the mean... It makes sense: all of those balls in the air mean more pop-ups and fewer groundball singles.

"Lucho's" line drive and ground ball percentages crept up a bit in 2012, which helped to give his BABIP a bump, but for the most part he remained the same free swinging, pull-oriented, flyball hitter. Growth in his secondary skills - any growth - would have boded well for his major league future, because often players plateau or will even decline slightly when they return to Salt Lake for a second campaign, and Jimenez is almost certainly ticketed to head back to the Bees.

I'm consequently a little down on him compared to last year, but here's some optimism from another, unexpected source:

...Jimenez is a free swinger. But he always seems to make hard contact when I see him play, and he's got a really nice swing: short, simple, consistent. His production is always safely above league average, but not in the outstanding range (his last four wRC+ marks are 117, 113, 115, and 109), so it isn't a case of me falling in love with gaudy numbers. Jimenez continues to draw negative reviews from scouts for his glove, but I'm not sure why.....

Jimenez is now 25 and it remains to be seen when/if he'll get a chance in the majors, but I can't shake the feeling that something will click when he's 26 or 27, he'll take his game to the next level, and emerge as one of those surprise older prospects who "comes out of nowhere" and suddenly makes noise in the majors.

8) Manuarys Correa, 23, RHSP - 3.1 WAR, +10 runs saved. 165 IP, 4.31 ERA, 191 hits, 111 K/26 BB

According to "runs allowed" based WAR, Correa was good in 2012; according to FIP-based WAR, he was excellant, leading the Halos' farm with 4.5 wins due to stinginess with the walks and homeruns. He gave up a lot of hits on the back of a .324 BABIP, his K-rate was mediocre, and there's nothing exceptional about his batted ball distribution, but he kept the ball in the park while pitching in some of the most hitting friendly stadiums in the minor leagues. A longstanding organizational arm, Correa is the kind of guy who might really shine in Arkansas, which is a good thing, since it's not clear who else in the organization is going to give them quality AA innings.

I didn't see any ball games in my one-week stint in So Cal last year (not even an Angels game!), and Correa had just one televised start. I might have seen him throw a relief inning or two in 2011, but have no memory of it. This is all by way of saying that any scouting report I give is based on a very limited sample size. It's also a crappy sample, because that 2012 televised game was Correa's worst of the season. God help me if folks ever use my worst day of the year to cast judgment on my professional worth.

Here's what I recorded in May:

...FB looks like it has some natural cut at times, high 80's low 90's. Or maybe he's alternating 2-seamers with cutters? Got behind in the count consistently in first. Not blowing the ball past anyone. FB was tagged despite good location: HR, double, line drive singles all off of FB, but only the HR was really a grooved pitch. Slider is a little sweepy. Looks like it's his go-to pitch, gets some swing and miss off of it with righties. Change has some fade, gets a couple of swinging strikes, but another one was roped. Then another one. For the most part, hitters tracked what he threw and connected.

He's very tall, lanky but filling out. Drop and drive delivery. Mechanics got out of whack after a first inning HR, stayed tall a few times trying to stay on top of the ball and locate down, release point changed, and bounced a couple of FB's. Recovered, mechanics were more consistent in second and third innings.

Was run on pretty readily, didn't have much success holding guys at first....

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