Pittsburgh Pirates Sign UDFA Catcher Joe Jimenez

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

With the draft capped at five rounds in 2020, there is a large supply of undrafted free agents that can be signed for $20,000.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed their second undrafted free agent.

Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced via Twitter that the team had agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Nick Garcia.  Garcia was the last player the team had to sign from their 2020 draft class.  The third round pick signed for $1.2 million per Jim Callis, about $420,000 over slot.  Ben Cherington officially added one hitter and five new pitchers to the organization via the draft, spending all but $87,100 of their draft bonus pool.

One area the Pittsburgh Pirates have not been overly aggressive in has been the undrafted free agent front.  After the draft ended, the club signed only player in Parker Brahms, a right-handed pitcher from Sacramento State.  The team, in search for catching depth, failed to add one in the Starling Marte trade despite rumors that was the position the club was targeting, in the draft, and the start of the undrafted free agent period.  Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to add a undrafted free agent cater.

According to Ben Glaser of Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates are signing Chapman catcher Joe Jimenez.  Chapman is the same school that third round pick Nick Garcia attended, meaning that Jimenez must have caught the eyes of the Pirates scouting staff.

Jimenez is a 5’10” and 185 pound right handed hitting catcher, while being a 2019 College World Series All Tournament selection at the Division III level.  Last season, he hit .302/.402/.371 with more walks (24) than strikeouts (17), while adding 12 stolen bases, but he was caught six times.  In 2020, Jimenez started off with a bang, hitting .348/.396/.587 in his first 12 games and 53 plate appearances.  In the Northwoods League – a collegiate summer league where players use wooden bats and minor league baseballs – Jimenez hit .206/.315/.308 in 128 plate appearances over 33 games.

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Jimenez’s bat seems to be subpar, but perhaps he’s a good defensive catcher that will help Garcia continue to develop given the recent transition to full time pithing for Garcia.  The Pirates are putting a lot faith in Garcia and his quick rising arm, so an additional $20,000 investment to help develop an overslot third round pick seems to be the explanation on this signing.