The Atlanta Braves' trade for Sean Murphy was the highlight of the offseason without question. The cost was quite steep to be sure as the package to acquire Murphy included William Contreras who played well for the Braves, but it is safe to say that the Braves are happy with their end of the deal. However, the Braves also made another significant trade when they acquired reliever Joe Jimenez from the Tigers.
At the time, the Jimenez got a lot of mixed reactions. Sure, Jimenez had some encouraging peripherals that, in theory, pointed to a lot of upside. However, the cost is where things were a bit sticky as Atlanta had to give up their best position player prospect at the time, Justyn-Henry Malloy, in addition to relief prospect Jake Higginbotham to pry one year of Jimenez away from the Tigers.
Good relief arms are always nice to have, but the price here for one year of Jimenez was a bit questionable to some. Now that we have a bit of a sample of games to look at, lets look at see how the Braves' trade for Jimenez has aged so far.
Jimenez has been a mixed bag with the Braves so far
The trade was already looking a little spooky when it was announced that Jimenez had to have minor spinal surgery in the offseason, but he was able to get back to pitching quickly this spring so seemingly no harm, no foul there. However, Jimenez's performance through his first 13 appearances with the Braves has left something to be desired. He has posted a 3.97 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 2 walks in 11.1 innings of work. Certainly not a disaster, but not awesome, either.
A deeper look at Jimenez's profile raises more questions than it answers. On the plus side, Jimenez's Statcast profile grades out favorably when one looks at his strikeout rate, walk rate, whiff rate, fastball spin, and extension. Normally, that would be cause for celebration and would point to good things (and that may still happen).
However, there is cause for concern. Jimenez also currently ranks poorly in average exit velocity against, hart hit %, expected batting average, and barrel % against him. He may be missing a good number of bats, but when contact is made, he is getting hit hard and that is a bit of a problem.