Three more international prospects to watch in the Pirates’ system for 2024

Let's take a look at some more international prospects in the system to keep tabs on.
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Pirates Prospect: Carlos Jimenez

The Pirates signed Carlos Jimenez back during the summer of 2018. Jimenez has looked good at times, but has yet to piece together a full, healthy season. In 2023, he pitched just 13 frames. But he’s returned healthy this year and is off to a solid start to the year and might receive longer outings as he continues to get stretched out after returning from a shortened 2023 campaign.

So far, he only has tossed 4.2 innings with two earned runs, and seven K’s. Jimenez has struggled with command issues in the past and has walked five through his first few innings of the season. But at just 21 years old, there’s time for him to sharpen up this part of his game. 

Despite being a young gun, Jimenez can run his fastball up into the mid-90s, topping out at 97.5 MPH this year. Along with good velocity, his four-seamer has good ride through the strikezone with only 13.8 inches of drop. But it lacks significant horizontal movement with just four inches of arm-side break. Trent Thorton is one Major League comparison based on velo and movement, but the closest in terms of just movement are Mitchell Parker and Aaron Civale.

Jimenez’s primary breaking pitch is a curveball. This pitch sits around 80 MPH with 52 inches of drop and 11.5 inches of horizontal break. The best Major League comparisons include Carlos Carrasco and Zach Eflin, both of whom have almost identical movement and velocity profiles with their curve compared to Jimenez. 

Arguably, the best pitch in his arsenal is his hard change-up. His change sits in the upper-80s and touches 90 MPH. Batters have an extremely hard time making contact against this pitch. Right now, he’s gotten a swing and miss 50% of the time with his change. 

Jimenez’s control could land him in the bullpen long term. But the Pirates will probably give him every chance possible to remain as a starting pitcher. Jimenez is at A-Ball Bradenton, and could pitch his first full season in an extended role.