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RichH55
09-11-2002, 02:52 PM
Versatility key ingredient for Jimenez's play
By Scot Gregor Daily Herald Sports Writer
Posted on September 10, 2002
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - During his 18 years of service in the major leagues, including parts of two seasons with the White Sox, Tony Phillips made a name for himself by talking a mile a minute and playing the game on the edge.

But Phillips was a unique talent.

He did everything but pitch and catch, and he also battled on every pitch as a leadoff hitter.

Compared to Phillips, D'Angelo Jimenez has the exact opposite personality. The Sox' 24-year-old infielder keeps to himself and quietly goes about his business.

But during his first two weeks with the White Sox, Jimenez's style of play has prompted manager Jerry Manuel to draw a comparison.

"Tony Phillips was a guy who played a lot of positions and led off,'' Manuel said. "(Jimenez) can play a number of positions. If I had to identify him at this time, I'd point to the versatility vs. utility. That's the type of player Tony Phillips was.''

In other words, Manuel thinks Jimenez should be on the field every day rather than coming off the bench.

Since arriving from Class AAA Charlotte on Aug. 26, Jimenez has started seven games at second base, four at shortstop and one at third base.

Acquired from San Diego in a July 12 trade, Jimenez was at second base in Monday night's 10-6 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

He got the Sox started by leading off the game with a triple against Kansas City starter Paul Byrd and scoring on Jose Valentin's sacrifice fly.

Jimenez (.288) has reached base safely in 11 of his 12 starts with the White Sox.

"I'm happy with the way I'm playing, but I'm the new guy here and I'm trying to compete,'' he said. "This is September, and they want to see which guys are capable of playing.''

Jimenez already has made quite an impression.

"I'm really getting excited about him,'' Manuel said. "Just the way he goes about his business, he's an interesting player.''

Jimenez has an interesting past.

Signed to a free-agent contract by the Yankees in 1994, Jimenez quickly rose through the farm system and shared New York's minor-league player-of-the-year honors with Nick Johnson in 1999 after batting .327 with 15 homers, 88 RBI and 26 stolen bases at Class AAA Columbus.

Over the winter, Jimenez was involved in a serious car crash in his native Dominican Republic and suffered a fractured neck. "I'll never forget that day,'' Jimenez said. "I'm lucky to be alive.''

With Derek Jeter entrenched as the Yankees' starting shortstop and Alfonso Soriano also rising in the system, a fully recovered Jimenez was traded to San Diego midway through last season, and he became the Padres' starting shortstop.

Shifted to second base this season, Jimenez was batting .240 with 3 home runs and 33 RBI in 87 games before being dealt to the Sox for two minor-leaguers.

Jimenez has bounced all over the infield, but he's not about to complain.

"I've always played shortstop, but now I'm really comfortable at second base, too,'' Jimenez said. "It's been a pretty tough year for me, being moved to second base, being traded and then playing in the minors. It was tough mentally, but I'm here now and this is where I want to stay.''

It looks like Jimenez has found a home with the White Sox.

"He appears to be a very heady player,'' Manuel said. "We need that, especially in the infield. He brings a lot to the table, and that makes it tough to sit him out.''

RichH55
09-11-2002, 02:53 PM
Its worked for Mclemore, and with Willie needing at bats, could see alot of shuffling

FarmerAndy
09-11-2002, 04:27 PM
Let's suppose that Jimenez continues to impress throughout September and in spring training next year. His "natural position" is shortstop.

Now, will the same people that cried for two years about Jose Valentin being moved from SS still have the same opinion about the importance of playing your "natural position"? Or will your opinion change if it means putting Jimenez and 2B so Jose can keep his job at short?

Just curious.

guillen4life13
09-11-2002, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by FarmerAndy
Let's suppose that Jimenez continues to impress throughout September and in spring training next year. His "natural position" is shortstop.

Now, will the same people that cried for two years about Jose Valentin being moved from SS still have the same opinion about the importance of playing your "natural position"? Or will your opinion change if it means putting Jimenez and 2B so Jose can keep his job at short?

Just curious.

good question. i dunno.

doublem23
09-11-2002, 05:35 PM
Originally posted by FarmerAndy
Let's suppose that Jimenez continues to impress throughout September and in spring training next year. His "natural position" is shortstop.

Now, will the same people that cried for two years about Jose Valentin being moved from SS still have the same opinion about the importance of playing your "natural position"? Or will your opinion change if it means putting Jimenez and 2B so Jose can keep his job at short?

Just curious.

There's a difference, IMO, about moving Valentin for Clayton (who sucks) and moving him for Jiminez (who has a chance to be good).

Daver
09-11-2002, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by doublem23
There's a difference, IMO, about moving Valentin for Clayton (who sucks) and moving him for Jiminez (who has a chance to be good).

Jiminez also has a better chance of being Tony Graffinino with a worse glove............

voodoochile
09-11-2002, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by FarmerAndy
Let's suppose that Jimenez continues to impress throughout September and in spring training next year. His "natural position" is shortstop.

Now, will the same people that cried for two years about Jose Valentin being moved from SS still have the same opinion about the importance of playing your "natural position"? Or will your opinion change if it means putting Jimenez and 2B so Jose can keep his job at short?

Just curious.

If Jimenez can continue to hit and can play 2B, then they should go with the best overall combination (offense and defense). So, it will depend on whether the extra offense Jimenez can give the team will offset the better defense Harris could offer at 2B, IMO.

Neither one of them is going to hit well enough to bump Jose off the field and he clearly should be at SS over 2B, so the question should come down to Harris or Jimenez at 2B.

Right now that looks like Jimenez. And no, I don't have a problem with them putting Willie back at AAA for that decision, but if they bump Valentin or Crede to allow some no hit all defense player to play regularly then everyone involved in the decision should be summarily executed. Just skip the firing all together and go straight to "termination"...

hold2dibber
09-11-2002, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by daver
Jiminez also has a better chance of being Tony Graffinino with a worse glove............

I'm curious, do you think Jimenez's glove is worse than Durham's?

Most likely, the starting IF next year will be:

1b: PK
2b: D'Ang
SS: Manos
3b: Crede

How do people think that IF compares, offensively and defensively, with the opening day IF this year of:

1b: PK
2b: Durham
SS: Clayton
3b: Manos

Seems to me that you're losing offense when you compare Jimenez to Durham, but gain offense when you compare Crede to Clayton. Your 2003 defense at 2b is probably about the same, a little bit worse at SS and significantly better at 3b. All in all, I would say the likely 2003 IF is pretty comparable with the 2002 opening day starting IF overall, but much, much cheaper.

PaleHoseGeorge
09-11-2002, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by hold2dibber
Seems to me that you're losing offense when you compare Jimenez to Durham, but gain offense when you compare Crede to Clayton. Your 2003 defense at 2b is probably about the same, a little bit worse at SS and significantly better at 3b. All in all, I would say the likely 2003 IF is pretty comparable with the 2002 opening day starting IF overall, but much, much cheaper.

I think the more relevant analysis is how each Sox player stacks up with players at the same position across the league. For example, Valentin's offense is very ordinary for a thirdbasemen, but top-third for shortstops.

1B Konerko. Top-third performer. No change.
2B Durham vs. Harris. Durham was top-third by default. Harris hasn't had enough opportunity for us to judge--but it is not looking good. Incomplete.
SS Clayton vs. Jimenez. Still too early to say much about Jimenez. Incomplete.
SS Clayton vs. Valentin. Top-third bat from Valentin. This is an upgrade.
3B Crede vs. Valentin. Niether is a top-third performer, but Crede has much more upside. Probably an upgrade.