The Braves were not active in free agency this offseason. Their two significant moves came via trade, acquiring Sean Murphy from the Athletics and Joe Jiménez from the Tigers. Murphy will be the team’s primary catcher. He’s one of the top catchers in the game, and Braves fans have seen glimpses of what makes him so special early on in Spring Training. Joe Jiménez, however, hasn’t looked like himself through his first few appearances in the preseason.
After a scoreless frame in his Spring Training debut, Jiménez has struggled to get anybody out. He appeared in the Braves game against the Dominican National Team and recorded just one out while giving up a pair of home runs. Jiménez than came in again on Saturday versus the Tigers and only recorded two outs while allowing two to cross the plate on a couple of hits and a walk.
On the Spring, Jiménez has completed two full innings and given up four earned runs. That’s not what the Braves were hoping to see from their newest acquisition, who is expected to be one of the team’s set-up men this season. However, box scores are not something fans should be too concerned with during Spring Training. What’s been even more discouraging when it comes to Jiménez is his velocity. Mark Bowman tweeted out on Saturday that his fastball and slider were both a couple of miles below where he sat last season.
Jiménez didn't fool anybody again today. Gave up a couple hits, including a double, and recorded a couple loud outs. Fastball is 93-94 and slider 82-83. We still haven't seen the swing-and-miss stuff he showed last year (FB 95.7, SL 84.8). Still has a few weeks to get right.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 11, 2023
It’s still early in the Spring, and Jiménez is coming off back surgery, so I’m not quite hitting the panic button just yet. However, it’s apparent that he’s not where he needs to be right now. I’m hopeful that we’ll see some increased velocity as he continues to get stretched out, but it is something I’ll be monitoring closely over his next few outings. The Braves traded away one of their top prospects for his services. They are expecting Jiménez to be a critical piece to their bullpen in 2023 and beyond.
Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
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