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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scouting Report Ubaldo Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez, 27 years old, was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, and has always possessed a rocket arm and filthy stuff, he just needed to harness it. Well for those who remember his stats through May 26th of last year, (0.88 ERA and 0.95 WHIP), he may have finally harnessed it. He is signed through 2012 (4 yr/10 million) and has 2 options for 2013 and 2014. He is making only 2.8 million this year. He's in his 6th major league season and is 50-38, with a 3.60 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Last year he made the huge step forward, 19-8, 2.88 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, with a 214 Ks in 221 innings.

Jimenez has a big, powerful arm and a pitcher's body (6'4" 210). He challenges hitters with a fastball that flirts with 100 mph (averaged 96 mph last year, but down to 92.7 this year) and a powerful sinker. He also features a late-breaking slider (15% of the time, 86 mph) and a 12-6 curve-ball (79 mph), along with a solid change-up (88 mph).  His fastball was one of the best pitches in baseball lastyear, and his change was outstanding as well. He throws 1st pitch fastball 67% of the time, and has shown he can throw any of his four pitches with two strikes, so good luck if you get behind in the count.

This year he's struggling to find his rhythm, and is 0-2 in 5 starts (26 innings). He had to go on the DL with a finger (cuticle) injury. His K/9 rate is at a career high (9.3 K/9), but he's walking way too many (5.5 BB/9). He also has been having trouble stranding base-runners (62% vs career of 72%), and his ERA shows those two factors, sitting at 5.88, and 1.46 WHIP. He had his best start last outing, going 6 innings and allowed only 1 run while striking out 7, but he walked 5 (the 3rd consecutive game of 4+ walks).

He's made 5 career starts (36 innings) versus the Mets, and is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Last year he threw a great game, 7 innings, 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks (2 IBB), while striking out 8, but took the loss 1-0 (Pelfrey threw 7 shutout innings).

He's a front of the rotation starter who is struggling right now. Watch his velocity to see if he has regained his top velocity, or if his mechanics are still off and with it his control and velocity suffers.

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