Is Chris Gimenez Worth the Fuss? | The Process Report

Is Chris Gimenez Worth the Fuss?

You know times are strange when Chris Gimenez is something of a cause celebre, but here we are. Gimenez, who is a bright and likable person by all accounts, became a fan favorite last season by hitting .406/.472/.594 over his final 36 plate appearances. Just like that Gimenez’s uninspiring first stint with the club was forgotten, along with his mediocre runs elsewhere. Part of it was because Gimenez had taken a risk and overhauled his swing mechanics and philosophy at the plate. But lost in the shiny stats and backstory is that Gimenez remains a flawed hitter with an uncertain future.

Let’s put the idea that Gimenez is a great contact hitter to bed. Had he qualified last season his contact rate would have been the sixth-worst in the league—and no, his new mechanics didn’t seem to help as his contact rate worsened during that run. The only batters to make contact less often than Gimenez were Josh Hamilton, Carlos Pena, Mark Reynolds, Adam Dunn, and Dan Uggla. Save for Hamilton, all of those batters had batting averages of .221 or less. Gimenez will not hit .400 or .300 over a full season; he’d be fortunate to squeak out .250 with such a high rate of swinging and missing.

Of course whiffing is an acceptable act if it comes with good power. But despite a large frame, Gimenez’s career ISO (.091) is less than those of Sam Fuld and Elliot Johnson, and just 13 points better than Jose Lobaton. Gimenez did show more power during his second stint, however, it’s too early to say whether it’s a signal or simply noise in a tiny sample. (Given Gimenez’s size it’s reasonable to think he could hit for a little more thump than he’s shown.)

So this is what it comes down to if you want Gimenez to shed the third catcher label: Root for him to either 1) embrace slugging or 2) embrace slap-hitting. As it is he has a history of being a singles hitter who whiffs as often as a bulking slugger. That’s not a combination that lasts for long in the majors.

Stats courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info



2 Comments

  1. I only like Gimenez because (a) he has shown some talent against LHP and (2) his defense has been something between sufficient and good IMHO. But, as long as Molina (or any other RHB with superior talent) is the club’s top catcher, I don’t see an ML role for Gimenez — unless the Rays feel his bat against lefties is good enough to spell Scott or Loney, which I doubt is the case.

  2. […] earned a fair amount of hype this spring – legitimate or not – and might have made the club as the backup catcher if not for a remaining minor-league […]

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