SportsNation Blog Archives Ubaldo Jimenez
People get hit all the time in baseball, but in the case of Ubaldo Jimenez hitting Troy Tulowitzki, it seemed like it was personal. Do you think Jimenez hit Tulowitzki on purpose? Did Major League Baseball get it right by handing him a five-game suspension?
Information travels fast these days. At least, it does most of the time. When it comes to Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, on the other hand, it feels a little like the information is still traveling out of the "Gateway to the West" via covered wagon.
Wainwright improved to 17-6 by giving the Cardinals sole possession of first place in the NL Central in Wednesday's win against the Reds. He also lowered his ERA for the season to 1.99, a number more familiar to the Taco Bell menu than MLB pitching statistics at this point on the calendar. And yet when the ballots, so to speak, went out to SportsNation this morning, Wainwright wasn't even in the same area code as first-half star Ubaldo Jimenez.
Then again, while Jimenez has fallen off the ERA pace recently (and here is where we mention perpetually overlooked Josh Johnson and his MLB-best 1.97 ERA), the Rockies ace does still spend half his time in Coors Field. Is that enough to offset Wainwright's surge?
Rob, is Mat Latos in the running for the Cy Young? Take away his first 4 starts of the season and he has a 1.72 ERA, .170/.239/.247 slash line and .90 WHIP, all tops in the MLB. Not to mention he already leads the NL in OBA/OOBP/OSLG with all starts considered.
We're not allowed to take away those first four starts, are we? (If so, I'll take back my brilliant decision to release Latos from my fantasy team.) He's a dark horse Cy Young candidate, if only because of all the other viable candidates. Full transcript
Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn led the National League with 73 complete games in 1884 and finished 489 of the 503 games he started over 11 pitching seasons with Providence, Boston and Cincinnati. Helpfully, though he left us in 1897, he's also mastered the art of tweeting from beyond the grave, including this as a heat wave took its toll on pitchers over the holiday weekend.
That was before Phillies ace Roy Halladay went the distance against the Braves, allowing just five hits en route to win No. 10 on the season. The win total leaves him four behind Ubaldo Jimenez, but no pitcher in baseball is in Halladay's class with seven complete games. In fact, only one team has more complete games than Halladay -- the Mariners.
So when sizing up the Cy Young race, are Halladay's complete games more impressive than Jimenez's wins?
excluding Jimenez, do you see Josh Johnson as the next best for the NL cy young?
It's a star-studded field in the NL. So by the end of the season, we might have eight pitchers in this argument. But as of this particular moment, yes. What a year he's had. Full transcript
We're on record as considering Pedro Martinez's 2000 season as perhaps the finest pitching performance of all time. Consider: In the midst of the steroid era, in the AL East, in a hitter's park, Martinez put up a 1.74 earned run average. That's good for a 285 ERA+, meaning he was almost three times as good as the league-average ERA. Pretty crazy, right?
It's early yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez might have a chance to better that mark. Jimenez gave up two runs Sunday, which means his ERA soared to a magisterial 0.93. That's good for an ERA+ of 484, which means he's almost five times better than the league average. All this in Coors Field in a division that has a number of good hitters. (Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can put a pretty quick dent in a pitcher's ERA, don't you think?) Ubaldo (we think we can refer to him by his first name, considering the last Ubaldo in the majors was Ubaldo Heredia in 1987) throws a 100 mph fastball that seems to move about three feet, which would make him a rather good pitcher if that were the only pitch he had. Unfortunately for National League hitters, he has about five more.
Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA, achieved during the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" (1968, when only six players hit better than .300), is the modern record low for a starter. Could Ubaldo challenge that mark? He certainly has a head start.
Marty (Stratford, CT)
Did analysts see Ubaldo Jimenez's mad skills as he came through the minor league system, or has this year come as a surprise to you guys?
There's been a buzz about Jimenez for years. What's propelled him to this level this year is that he's finally commanding his whole repertoire, and especially his fastball. Lots of fun Ubaldo talk in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings, by the way. Full transcript
Halladay vs. Jimenez? Halladay has a much lower xFIP.
I still believe Halladay is the best pitcher in the National League. But there's certainly an argument here. Full transcript
It's right there in the projected stats for Ubaldo Jimenez: 32-3. These days, 30 wins spread over two seasons will earn a pitcher a good chunk of change (we're looking your way, Mr. Suppan). And with pitch counts, five-man rotations and other factors, the idea of a pitcher winning 30 games in a season is almost unthinkable. Almost. Baseball has seen a 30-game winner (Denny McLain in 1968) much more recently than a .400 hitter (Ted Williams in 1941), but which would be more impressive to see again?
Meanwhile, two SportsNation commenters squared off as to whether Jimenez is doing it with smoke and mirrors or some of the best heat ever.
So this is what everybody expected out of the Rockies. Are they going to stay like this for the rest of the year?
I still like the Rockies to win that division. They've barely had their team together all year. And if you count their bullpen health issues, they've actually never had their team together all year. That is one seriously talented group. And Ubaldo Jimenez is Bob Gibson! Full transcript