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Entries in Ubaldo Jimenez (9)


Ubaldo Jimenez: What Went Wrong? (Part 3)

In the previous post on Ubaldo Jimenez, we noted that his slider was getting hit harder by RHB in the second half of the season.  Not unrelated, he was striking out fewer RHB on the pitch as well.

Before we focus on just his slider versus RHB, let's compare his expected numbers on the pitch for all batters, which factor in all sliders thrown:

Ubaldo Jimenez Sliders vs. All Batters, 2010
First Half251.
Second Half262.203.314.289.28812.9%31.8%

We don't see much difference between his expected numbers from the two halves of the season. His actual line on the pitch went from .130/.259/.174 to .262/.340/.333. The fact that his expected line remained stable while his actual line jumped a bit tells us that he was having trouble using his slider as an out pitch. When we isolate RHB, we see where he had the most trouble.

Ubaldo Jimenez Sliders vs. RHB, 2010
First Half180.
Second Half180.218.322.306.29811.9%29.6%

Again, we see that his slider was fairly effective throughout the season in setting up his other pitches to RHB. But compare this to his numbers on decisive pitches:

Ubaldo Jimenez Sliders vs. RHB, 2010
First Half180.
Second Half180.313.389.406.37511.1%19.4%

Jimenez was having trouble putting RHB away with his slider in the second half as his k-rate dropped while opponents batting average and slugging increased. What's perplexing his how his location of the pitch changed in the second half.

Ubaldo Jimenez Sliders vs. RHB, 2010 (click to enlarge)

In the first half of the season, Ubaldo's slider was over the plate frequently. He apparently got away with this. However, in the second half, he kept the ball away and it got hammered. The only explanation I can think of is that righty batters were fooled more often in the first half and began to adjust in the second. Jimenez tried to keep the slider away, however batters seemed to recognize it easier. There is some evidence to support this as RHB swung and missed at his slider 36.2% in the first half. However, in the second half, that number dropped to 28.6%. Right-handed batters simply recognized his slider better as the season progressed and Jimenez was unable to make the proper adjustments.


Ubaldo Jimenez: What Went Wrong? (Part 2)

We previously looked at the change in location of Ubaldo's fastball in the second half of the 2010 season. Judging from only a slight increase in opponents' offense, it seemed as though an increase in elevation was not a problem for him. However, it's important to look at his splits since a pitcher will locate pitches differently for left-handed and right-handed batters.

Ubaldo's fastball was nearly just as effective against LHB in the second half. In fact, he saw a .014 drop in opponents' wOBA. This may have been a result of keeping the pitch away more:

Ubaldo Jimenez Fastballs to LHB (click to enlarge)

Jimenez's biggest problems in the second half came against righties. Check out the change in his location of his fastball:

Ubaldo Jimenez Fastballs to RHB (click to enlarge)

He located his fastball down and over the middle of the plate early on, something he got away with given the movement and velocity he gets on the pitch. However, in the second half he left the ball up more to RHB. This resulted in no HRs, but more hits overall, as well as more walks. While Jimenez also throws a changeup, curveball and splitter, I'm focusing on his fastball and slider since he relies on these pitches far more. However, the totals line below includes all pitches thrown in 2010.

Ubaldo Jimenez vs. RHB, April 5 - July 12

Ubaldo Jimenez vs. RHB, July 19 - October 2

Both his fastball and slider were hit harder in the second half. As noted in the previous post, he was getting more strikeouts on his fastball. However, this came at the expense of a 4.7% increase in walks overall. His BABIP also saw a large jump on both his primary pitches. He may have been a little lucky in the first half, or unlucky in the second (or both - his BABIP on fastballs/sliders is .279 since 2008). His LD% increased about 2% on fastballs and sliders, but this isn't significant enough to draw any conclusions.

Only 71 plate appearances is a very thin sample size to judge his slider, however that only accounts for plate appearances decided on the pitch. To get a more accurate read, we'll have to take a look at his expected numbers for the pitch, which we'll do in the next post.


Ubaldo Jimenez: What Went Wrong?

Ubaldo Jimenez was by far the most dominant pitcher in the first half of the 2010 season.  But after the All Star break, his numbers started to decline.  For the first half of the season, Jimenez went 16-2 with a 2.20 ERA; batters hit .198/.280/.302 against him.  But in the second half, he managed only 6 wins in 15 starts, with a 3.80 ERA.

One noticeable change in Ubaldo's second half was his fastball location.  Take a look at the difference in how he spots the pitch in the second half:

Ubaldo Jimenez Fastballs (Click to enlarge)

Jimenez began to leave his fastball up more as the season progressed. However, this only accounted for a .033 point jump in batters' wOBA versus the pitch. In fact, Jimenez actually saw an increase in his strike out rate on fastballs. While his second half decline was fairly stark, the fastball doesn't seem to be at the root of his problems.

In a post to follow, we'll take a closer look at some of his other pitches down the stretch.

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