Versatility A Major Plus For Jimenez

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Versatility A Major Plus For Jimenez 

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DEFIANCE - Versatility is a major selling point when it comes to the baseball future of David Jimenez.

Will he be an outfielder? Infielder? Pitcher? Perhaps, a combination?

“Jimenez is a versatile prospect who can help a team in a variety of ways, whether that’s in the infield, out in the outfield, on the mound, at the plate, or running the bases,” noted PBR Northwest Ohio scout Dylan Hefflinger. “I’ve had the pleasure to see DJ throw a no-hitter, make outstanding plays at third base, run down a ball in the gap as a center fielder, while also coming up with clutch base hits and always running the bases well. DJ can certainly help a program at the next level in many ways.”

Where he fits in is debatable.

“Akron sees me as two-way and I’d love that,” Jimenez related. “I used to want to play the field so I could play every game rather than just a couple times a week but I’ve been pitching well so that’s changed my mind some. My travel ball coach said he sees me in the outfield wherever I go, but now coach (Tom) Held has me thinking about working on my velocity and offspeed.”

The Defiance head coach has high expectations for versatile lead-off hitter.

“DJ has had a fantastic year,” Held said of the 12th-rated junior outfielder in Ohio, who was just named Player of the Year in the Western Buckeye League. “He grew up a position guy, shortstop and center field, so his pitching has been a surprise to most. We knew he’d be a good pitcher, but interest wasn’t there until Jayden (Jerger) was shut down.”

With Jerger, the ace of the Defiance staff, out with a broken finger to start the season, Held turned to Jimenez to lead the way on the mound for the top-rated Division II team in Ohio.

“He doesn’t overthrow, which can be a detriment at the next level,” Held explained. “He can definitely be a 90-guy if he trains to do it. I think DJ is a guy who is going to blossom in college. He’s been a three-sport guy who shows up and competes. His best days are down the road.”

Finding the right fit is ahead for Jimenez, who turned 17 on March 7.

“I haven’t been talking to anyone recently,” the sixth-ranked uncommitted 2023 outfielder in the state said. “I’ve had a good amount of exposure at PBR events, showcases and the Top Prospect Games, and been to college camps around the area,

“I plan to stay around Ohio, not too far from home. I want a good college experience. I’ve been to Miami and BG and plan to check out Akron and Kent. I like the idea of the MAC.”

But, admittedly, nothing is a certainty.

“It would be great to go to a Division I college, that would be cool to get to that level,” related Jimenez, who has touched 89 with his fastball this season. “But there’s a lot of competition to get there.”

The 29th-rated uncommitted junior in the state is enjoying his spring season as he gears up for more exposure come summer time.

“When Jayden got hurt that gave me an opportunity to take pitching more seriously, become the ace and step up my intensity,” explained Jimenez, who has thrown two no-hitters this season. “I’m just trying to throw strikes, locate pitches and keep the hitter off balance and let my defense help me.”

The 6-0 160-pounder points to his mental game as an area that stands out.

“It’s difficult for coaches to understand how good I can be rather than just numbers-based things,” Jimenez explained. “I think my IQ for the game is really high and that helps me stand out. I know how to play the game the right way.”

A 3.9 student considering a major in engineering, Jimenez believes he can be a huge asset to a college program.

“I’m about team, we over me,” Jimenez said. “I’ve had plenty of tough games in my life, I just accept my role as a player and try to do what I can to get my team a championship.”

The hope is to make a college decision by the end of the year.

“I want to go into next year knowing what I need to do to prepare for my future,” Jimenz said. “Once high school season is over I plan to reach out to a lot more colleges. I’ve let the process come to me and haven't had visits to see who’s interested in me. As the end of high school gets closer I have to dial in and figure out what I want to do.

“The skills are there, I just need to work on being more consistent, especially at the plate. With travel ball exposure in big tournaments, I want to make sure my A game is going if colleges are there. I also need to keep my energy up and be positive every game. It’s not just how you play the game, it’s also about how you carry yourself.”

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