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« Freddy Garcia Keeps Ball Down, Rises Up in Atlanta | Main | Breaking Bad »
Wednesday
Sep252013

The New Ubaldo May Be Better Than the Old Ubaldo

In 2010, pitching for the Colorado Rockies, Ubaldo Jimenez finished third in the Cy Young voting after a season in which he had an ERA of 2.88 and a WHIP of 1.155. On May 31 of that season, Ubaldo had an 11-1 record and a microscopic 0.78 ERA. Three starts later, he was 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA.

Then something happened.

From June 23, 2010 to June 29, 2013, Jimenez, now a Cleveland Indian, was not a Cy Young pitcher, he was not an All-Star pitcher, in fact, he was barely a major league pitcher.
The not so good Ubaldo
GIPERAWHIPAVGSLUGOBPHRHR/9K/9BB/9IP/G
Ubaldo 6/23/10-6/29/1398569.04.821.452.253.412.341610.968.454.325.81

Then something happened.

It took until July of this season.
The so much better Ubaldo
GIPERAWHIPAVGSLUGOBPHRHR/9K/9BB/9IP/G
Ubaldo 6/23/10-6/29/1398569.04.821.452.253.412.341610.968.454.325.81
Ubaldo 7/1 - 9/25/2013 1592.02.241.245.233.337.30240.399.363.416.16

Let's compare September to September

There is something magical going on with Terry Francona's Tribe and with Justin Masterson recovering from the dreaded oblique, the team has need someone to step up on the mound and since Jason Giambi can't pitch (but he sure can pinch-hit), the fulfilled responsibility fell on Ubaldo.

Last September, Jimenez was not a good pitcher. This September, he is.
A Tale of Two Septembers
GSIPIP/GERAWHIPAVGSLUGOBPHR/9K/9BB/9WL
9/2012 Jimenez422.15.673.971.456.244.411.3300.794.764.3703
9/2013 Jimenez534.16.931.041.038.236.276.2670.009.871.5630

It's not how hard you throw

After Terry Francona was hired as the new manager, Mickey Callaway, the Indians' minor-league pitching coordinator, was named pitching coach. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Paul Hoynes, Callaway was primarily hired because of his plan to salvage Jimenez's career.

Callaway could see that Jimenez was having difficulty making the transition from a thrower to a pitcher. He was trying to figure out how to pitch without a 98 mph fastball.

"I thought if we could just get Ubaldo in the strike zone and attacking hitters with the stuff he already had, that he would be good to go," Callaway told Hoynes. "Watching his video during the off-season, I was saying, 'Man, his stuff is so good, all he has to do is get it over the plate.' "

Look at the difference:
2012-13 September Pitch Selection
PFast%Chge%Curv%Slid%Splt%Strk%Swng%Miss%Chas%
Jimenez 9/201238052.7%26.6%4.3%13.8%2.7%58.7%44.2%16.7%23.8%
Jimenez 9/201349056.0%1.6%4.5%27.6%9.8%65.3%43.1%20.9%26.6%

The difference is palpable

There is something magical going on these days in Cleveland and if the Tribe makes the postseason and Masterson returns and is healthy, he and Ubaldo make a powerful 1-2 punch.

Now if I were the Indians, I put Mickey Callaway in charge of attendance and promotion.

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