The Atlanta Braves have been put on blast by many for the late-season struggles of their starting rotation and bullpen. Of course, like every human being he made a few mistakes in his appearances but Joe Jimenez was one bright spot for Atlanta relievers in 2023.
Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves front office decided to extend Jimenez’s time in a Braves uniform through 2026 on a contract worth $26 million. Re-signing Jimenez was questioned by some but if you take a deep dive into his 2023 season numbers, it makes sense.
Jimenez was an all-star for the Detroit Tigers back in 2018 and he showed flashes of potential to pitch in the mid-summer classic again. Over 56.1 innings, Joe Jimenez posted a 3.04 ERA while averaging 11.7 strikeouts per 9 innings. His WHIP was 1.154 and only walked a little over 2 batters per 9 innings.
The opponent's batting average against Jimenez in 2023 was only .233. He also posted the third-highest strikeout rate (30.7%) of his seven-year career and his 2nd best walk percentage (5.9%). Obviously, there were some flaws as well, such as having a 45% hard hit but you cannot argue with the positives Jimenez provided.
Having Joe Jimenez was comforting for Brian Snitker in 2023 and will continue to be in the next couple of years. Given Jimenez’s performance this past season, he very well could be an arm the Atlanta Braves turn to in high-leverage situations.
Obviously, Raisel Iglesias will hold down the closer role for the Braves moving forward but Jimenez could be a security blanket if something unfortunate was to take Iglesias away from the team. Having internal options for scenarios like this allows the team to spend more money elsewhere for improvement.