'I’m predicting it right now': Antonio Jimenez's intangibles garner deep respect from his teammates and coaches


As Gatemen manager Ryan Smyth was finishing a postgame interview following an 8-2 win over the Chatham Anglers late Tuesday night, he noticed one of the last players to leave the dugout at Spillane Field was his shortstop, Antonio Jimenez (UCF).

Jimenez was being embraced by a well-known Gatemen veteran and throwing partner Bobby Boser (transfer portal) after seeking out his advice and curiosity to learn.

Jimenez wasn’t satisfied with hitting a ball over the left field wall, bouncing off the top roof of the concession stand 40 feet behind the fence. He was hitless in the three at-bats prior and wanted to know how to be better tomorrow.

Boser, a draft-eligible prospect in the transfer portal is the Gatemen’s best hitter to lean on for advice, hitting .349 on the season, putting him fourth in the entire league. He noted going over what each other saw at the plate and hunting the fastball to be effective.

“As this game gets better, as these pitchers get better, we have to be a little bit more disciplined up there and a little bit more smart,” Boser said. “We talked about staying on the fastball and recognizing spin. If we can just work on our adjustability that’s where we start flowing.”

However, the nuts and bolts of the game aren’t what stuck out to Boser and coach Smyth when thinking about the team’s leader in home runs on this winning ballclub, it's the human being Jimenez is and the energy he brings to this group.

Boser described him as “one of the most baseball guys I’ve ever been around,” with his passion for the game and willingness to learn from anybody.

“That's why we've grown so close to each other over the summer,” he said. “It's been amazing working with him up the middle because I’m able to share my experiences with him so he doesn’t go through the same things I do.”

Jimenez and Boser have been the glue for the Gatemen defense in the middle infield, combining for a .946 fielding percentage through 20 games this summer.

Boser has just one error to Jimenez's five. That’s simply just the difference in experience as Boser approaches his senior year and Jimenez entered the summer with just three collegiate games under his belt at the University of Miami, notching three hits including a homer and a trio of walks in eight at-bats (.375).

As Smyth peered over his shoulder and cracked a smile watching the two players connect in the dugout, he reverberated the same reason, saying, “he’s a young pup out here and there aren’t many of them. He’s learning something and that’s the greatest thing that’s going to make him special.”

Though he carries a .195 average midway through a long, hot summer, he still reps one of the most dangerous bats in a league-leading Wareham lineup.

“Every freshman does that at some point, but he’s in everybody’s ear and also has the mature tools,” Smyth said. “He's taking advice and he's gonna be one hell of a ballplayer when it's all said and done.”

A change of scenery is coming at the end of summer for the Davie, Florida, native following his commitment via social media on June 29 to join head coach Rich Wallace and the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. In 2024, the Knights completed their inaugural season as a member of the Big 12 Conference, giving Jimenez plenty of new faces and competition to be excited about.

While he’s still in Wareham figuring himself out in the CCBL, Jimenez has a band of brothers behind him to help him grow.

“I'm trying to work with him every day,” Boser said with a surefire look in his eyes. “He's got a very good head on his shoulders and I'm really excited to see where he ends up because he's going to be one hell of a ballplayer, I'm predicting right now.”

*Antonio Jimenez points to the sky before clapping after a solo home run in Wareham's 8-2 win over the Chatham Anglers at Spillane Field on July 9, 2024. Photo by Keegan Maloney*

Top photo caption: Shortstop Antonio Jimenez and second baseman Bobby Boser stroll down the left field line before warmups prior their 7-3 win over the Brewster Whitecaps at Spillane Field on July 8, 2024. Photo by Kyler Armstrong