Braves trade top prospect away for Tigers reliever

Spencer Schwellenbach Braves hat Ray Kerr

The Atlanta Braves announced Wednesday night they have struck a trade with the Detroit Tigers that will send Justyn-Henry Malloy and Jake Higginbotham in exchange for Joe Jiménez and cash considerations.

I am sad to see Malloy go because he was one of the fastest risers in the organization this past season. He displayed elite plate discipline and would’ve slotted in perfectly with Atlanta’s strikeout-heavy lineup. Though he was only’s 11th-ranked prospect, he was the highest position player on the Braves farm. Higginbotham is 26 years old and is running out of time.

Obviously, Jiménez is the prize of the Braves trade, and he’s coming off a breakout season. The 277-pound righty finished the 2022 campaign with a 3.49 ERA, 13 walks, and 77 strikeouts over 56.2 innings across 62 games while also posting career bests in walk rate (5.6%), strikeout rate (33.3%) and several other metrics. He’s a fastball, slider pitcher and slots in perfectly with Raisel Iglesias, AJ Minter, and Colin McHugh. Jiménez has some nasty swing-and-miss stuff, posting a 12.23 K/9 in 2022, which ranked fifth in the American League among pitchers with at least 50 innings.

The Puerto Rico native has been with Detroit since his debut in 2017 and was named an All-Star in the 2018 season, his first full major league year. The 6-foot-3, 277-pound Jiménez is coming off the best year of his career, and the Braves clearly felt there was more to come by parting ways with one of their top prospects.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire
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