Dany Jiménez Shows Improvement

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Dany Jiménez has shown improvement in his role as fill-in closer for the Oakland Athletics. Closer Lou Trivino was placed on COVID-19 injured list back on April 18th and Manager Mark Kotsay went to Jiménez to be the closer.

Back with Oakland

Oakland signed Jiménez this past November, the second time he has joined the organization. In the Rule 5 draft of December 2020, the A’s selected him with a pick that they got from the Toronto Blue Jays. He was having an excellent spring training in 2021, but the A’s bullpen had already been solidified so they chose to return him to the Blue Jays. In doing so, they avoided having to keep him on their big league roster all year.

Excellent Triple-A Season

Back with the Blue Jays, he was assigned for the first time to Triple-A. Jiménez finished the season with a 2.22 ERA in 44 2/3 innings. He was not called up to the MLB roster for the last month of the season. In a surprise move, he elected to become a free agent in October of 2021 and was released.

Twice a Rule 5 Return

This was not the first time Jiménez was returned to his original team as a Rule 5 pick. The San Francisco Giants took him in December of 2019. He was there for spring training 2020 on a minor league contract. Then, the pandemic changed the 2020 season.

When the actual season came around, Jiménez had had only two opportunities to showcase his talent. In just 1 1/3 innings pitched, he gave up three walks and looked erratic. When the shortened season ended, he was returned to the Blue Jays.

Never a Top Prospect

Dany Jiménez may be showing his improvement this year, but was never considered a top prospect while with Toronto. Most of his pitching came in relief in the minors. He had 27 saves in 241 innings over six years. He has a fastball that hits 96-98 mph and a slider that generates a high number of swings and misses. His slider and an occasional curveball get him the necessary ground ball outs.

Making the A’s Roster

Jiménez was invited to Spring Training for 2022. After tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in five games, he made the A’s roster. He was going to be the one of their go-to pitchers out of the bullpen. That included both long and short relief, and even as a set up pitcher.

On April 14th, having used their regular closer the previous two nights, the A’s needed another reliever to earn the save. Jiménez, in only the fifth MLB game of his career, pitched a scoreless ninth inning. He showed confidence with his fastball and slider to earn that save, the first in his MLB career.

Better than Expected

Dany Jiménez has shown his improvement and then some when Trevino was placed on COVID-19 injured list. On April 18th he was called upon to close out the game. He certainly responded better than expected. He has saved three more games since then. Currently, he has a 0.00 ERA, while attaining ten strikeouts in ten innings.

What Future Holds

Dany Jiménez has shown promise. We will see what his future brings, but he certainly seems to have found a home with the A’s. Trevino was activated and will most likely go back to closing games.

However, Jiménez has shown that he is just as talented as anyone else in the bullpen. He is just one of a number of pitchers that had a long journey through the minor leagues and is finally showing what he can provide.

If Jiménez continues to throw strikes and get the ground ball outs, he will continue being an asset to the Athletics’ bullpen. They have confidence in putting him in again to close out games and get saves. This is a good thing for the team, especially if Trivino struggles or needs a day off. Having two competent closers gives the team options. Jiménez provides that option.

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Dany Jiménez, Lou Trivino, Mark Kotsay