Braves 2024 season preview: Joe Jiménez looks to build on impressive Atlanta debut

Traded for talented prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy, it's safe to say Joe has earned his spot in the Atlanta bullpen.
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Joe Jiménez 2023 Recap

Acquired at the end of December 2022 for Justyn-Henry Malloy and Jake Higginbotham, Joe Jiménez had to really show out to win over this writer who was a fan of Malloy as an outfield prospect. That being said, Joe did that and more during an impressive 2023 campaign.

Blessed with a 70-grade fastball and wipeout slider, Joe came into his age 28 season and had the best season of his career. The righty put together a 3.04 ERA in 59 games (56.1 IP) with an 11.66 K/9 rate and 2.24 BB/9 rate - a strong season by all accounts.

The only mark on his 2023 resume was his 1.44 HR/9 rate which puts him 23rd worst among all qualified relief pitchers, a list that includes 162 pitchers. The Braves, impressed with his season, awarded Joe with a 3-year, $26 million contract in November establishing him as a core member of the Braves bullpen.

What's in store for 2024?

There's no reason to believe Joe won't be a major staple in the Braves bullpen. While roles have still yet to be established it looked like Snitker started leaning towards him being the set seventh inning reliever.

Joe's .239 BAA (batting average against) versus left-handed hitters and .229 BAA versus right-handed hitters show he's not somebody you manage on a situational basis. Being able to throw him out against whoever is at the plate in the seventh is a serious plus for manager Brian Snitker and a huge plus for Joe Jiménez himself.

So far this Spring, Joe has appeared in 3 games pitching 2.2 innings with 4 strikeouts but a troubling 3 walks. He last struggled with command all the way back in 2021 so it's not something that's really an issue, but something to keep an eye on at the beginning of the season.

Barring injury, he will be in the Atlanta bullpen the entire season with most projections having him appear in roughly 60 games with an 11 K/9 and 3.6ish ERA. Joe Jiménez proved last season why Atlanta took a chance on trading for him so here's to hoping for more of the same in 2024.

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