Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ubaldo Jimenez – Rocky Mountain Ace

The Colorado Rockies have had a slow start to the 2010 season. Hovering around .500, The team has actually done quite well considering they have no closer to speak of and hitting that hasn't been Rockie like. But one thing is certain --- Colorado has perhaps the best young starting pitcher in the game, who is still honing his craft.

I speak of 26 year old Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Dominican born and bred right-hander has had an unbelievable start to the current campaign. At 8 wins to 1 loss and a ridiculously minuscule 0.99 ERA, Jimenez already has a no-hitter to his credit versus Atlanta on April 17th. Thanks to a near 100-mph fastball, a 90-mph split finger pitch, and a knee buckling curve, Ubaldo has only allowed 36 hits and 23 walks in 63.1 innings. While his walk rate is a little high (3.4 per 9 innings), that has improved from his rookie season of 2008 (4.7 per 9 innings) and strikeout rate has remained at a tad over 8 over 9 innings. On top of that, hitters are hitting a measly .184 against him.

To put into perspective of how Jimenez has made himself a dominating big league pitcher, he has gone at least 6 innings per start in 37 of his last 38 games and since since August 1st of last season, sports a 16-4 record with an ERA of just over 2.00 --- truly remarkable in today's game.

With the season at the quarter pole, Jimenez has put himself in the company of Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay and San Francisco treat Tim Lincecum as an early favorite in the National League Cy Young race. With his current start to the year, Ubaldo has put himself in rare company as being one of only three pitchers in the modern era to have won eight of their first nine starts and post a sub-1.00 ERA.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, The others were Juan Marichal with the San Francisco Giants in 1966 (8-0, 0.69) and Fernando Valenzuela with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 (8-1, 0.91).

Barring injury, Ubaldo Jimenez should dominate hitters for many years to come.


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1 comment:

  1. The fact that he is doing it at Coors is the best part. If this were happening at Petco or CitiField, I would not be as impressed. He really is dominant. I'm curious to see if it will continue after the All Star Break, which is usually a turning point for most pitchers.