We love to see underdogs rise to the top. We love seeing athletes who didn’t get enough respect or attention use that motivation to become the best they could ever be. We love seeing athletes improve their game and be a difference maker in a team. Guardians shortstop Andres Gimenez defines all of the above. Gimenez is having the best season of his career and has been a catalyst for the Guardians to put them over in the American League Central division potentially.
The 23-year-old is part of one of the best groups of prospects ever in baseball history. The 2015 international signing class features Andres Gimenez, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. What a magnificent class of many talented players we see in today’s game. Gimenez was only 16 years old when he signed with the New York Mets as an international free agent out of Venezuela.
On January 7, 2021, the Mets traded Gimenez and more players for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. The trade turned out to be a blessing for the Guardians. Gimenez emerged this season as an excellent hitter and defender. There were some trials and tribulations before entering this season for him. He struggled at the plate last season. He wasn’t too comfortable. But something changed about his plate appearance, and you could see the difference from last season to this season. Gimenez closed the open stance and eliminated the high leg kick. We don’t know if the Guardians’ hitting coach or Jose Ramirez, or someone in that organization approached him about it, but whoever is responsible for helping him make those adjustments on getting comfortable on the late did a great job because so far, it’s working for Gimenez.
2020-21 Numbers (through 117 games)
.235 avg, eight homers, .302 OBS, .369 SLG
2022 Numbers (through 108 games)
.309 avg, 14 homers, 58 RBI, .868 OBS, .494 SLG
Gimenez has been a clutch player for the Guardians. Two games demonstrate his capability with men on base after the 7th inning.
On August 16, Gimenez hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 7th inning to give the Guardians a 4-1 lead and win over the Detroit Tigers.
On June 19, with the game tied 3-3 in the top of the 9th inning, the Guardians had the bases loaded and Gimenez was at the plate. He hit a single to center field against one of the best relievers in the game, Craig Kimbrel. Guardians would go on to beat the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers.
As you can see, Gimenez has been one of the most significant and surprising ball players in the kind of season he is having for 2022. He’s my most improved player for the American League.