The early returns on this Braves trade aren’t great

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The Braves generally get the best of other clubs in trades. There are countless examples of Alex Anthopoulos fleecing GMs.

Sean Murphy cost considerable capital, but Atlanta is certainly happy with the best catcher in baseball. Shea Langeliers and Cristian Pache netted Matt Olson, which keeps nobody in Braves Country awake at night. And who could forget the 2021 trade deadline — Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Joc Pederson — that propelled the club to its first World Series championship since 1995.

There are countless other less notable moves that are just as impactful, like the Jesse Chavez whirlwind, but AA isn’t perfect. It’s impossible for a GM to bat 1.000, and the early returns of the Justyn Henry-Malloy and Joe Jiménez trade aren’t great.

The former Tigers reliever has struggled to begin his Braves career, owning a 4.50 ERA over 14.0 innings, and his 5.30 FIP suggests that number should be even worse. His 1.429 WHIP isn’t encouraging either. The lumbering righty dealt with a back injury over the offseason, and the Braves knew about it before pulling the trigger on the trade, so they were comfortable with the medicals before signing off.

His peripherals are a bag of mixed results; courtesy of Baseball Savant:

  • Avg. Exit Velo.: 7th percentile
  • HardHit%: 5th percentile
  • xERA/xwOBA: 18th percentile
  • xBA: 24th percentile
  • xSLG: 8th percentile
  • Barrel%: 4th percentile
  • K%: 78th percentile
  • BB%: 87th percentile
  • Whiff%: 87th percentile
  • Chase Rate: 66th percentile
  • Fastball Velo.: 68th percentile
  • Fastball Spin: 88th percentile
  • Extension: 90th perecentile

Back injuries can be tricky, and it’s only been 15 appearances for Jiménez, so this isn’t some sweeping judgment that Atlanta lost the trade. His peripherals suggest positive regression could be on the horizon. I am merely pointing out that the early returns haven’t been great because Herny-Malloy has continued excelling in Detroit’s farm system.

The former Braves prospect is hitting .321 with seven long balls across 170 plate appearances. He’s growing into his power and is elite at getting on base. He’s drawn 30 walks this season, good for a .453 on-base percentage. It’s never easy to project what a prospect will become, but that skill set certainly translates to the big leagues.

Joe Jiménez deserves a full campaign before being judged, so we will continue to monitor the pair throughout the 2023 season.

Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire


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