LGT Community Projections: Ubaldo Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez. - Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

Next up is Ubaldo Jimenez, who could be anything from a dominant pitcher to a complete disaster in 2013.

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Background

When the Indians traded for Ubaldo Jimenez in July of 2011, he was one year removed from a 161 ERA+ campaign; in 2010, he struck out 214 batters in 221.2 innings, and allowed just 10 home runs while pitching roughly half his games at Coors field. He allowed just 6.7 hits per 9 innings, and averaged 6.2 innings per start. And 2010 wasn't much of a fluke, to that point in his career, his ERA+ was 133, he averaged 7.5 hits per 9 innings, and only 9 home runs per season.

Ubaldo_2006-2010_medium

If you take 2011-2012 together, here's what Ubaldo did:

Ubaldo_2011-2012_medium

So what happened to Ubaldo in 2011? And can he regain his pre-2011 excellence?

My guess is that Ubaldo's mechanics, which were always a bit complex, got away from him to the point where fixing them couldn't happen during the season. In what has been a recurring theme among pitchers on this staff, his stuff hadn't fallen off, but because he couldn't throw strikes, he struggled to get through each innings. So not only did he have one of the worst ERAs in the majors, he also averaged less than 6 innings per start, meaning that the Indians were often forced to bring in the seventh man in the bullpen to relieve him.


If this season is to have a happy ending, then Ubaldo Jimenez needs to be the pre-2011 Ubaldo. The potential is there, and a simplified windup is hopefully the key to fulfilling that potential.

Historical Stats

Year Age Tm Lg ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2006 22 COL NL 3.52 1 7.2 5 3 1 3 3 145 5.9 1.2 3.5 3.5
2007 23 COL NL 4.28 15 82.0 70 39 10 37 68 112 7.7 1.1 4.1 7.5
2008 24 COL NL 3.99 34 198.2 182 88 11 103 172 118 8.2 0.5 4.7 7.8
2009 25 COL NL 3.47 33 218.0 183 84 13 85 198 136 7.6 0.5 3.5 8.2
2010 26 COL NL 2.88 33 221.2 164 71 10 92 214 161 6.7 0.4 3.7 8.7
2011 27 TOT MLB 4.68 32 188.1 186 98 17 78 180 93 8.9 0.8 3.7 8.6
2011 27 COL NL 4.46 21 123.0 118 61 10 51 118 102 8.6 0.7 3.7 8.6
2011 27 CLE AL 5.10 11 65.1 68 37 7 27 62 77 9.4 1.0 3.7 8.5
2012 28 CLE AL 5.40 31 176.2 190 106 25 95 143 72 9.7 1.3 4.8 7.3
7 Yrs 4.03 179 1093.0 980 489 87 493 978 112 8.1 0.7 4.1 8.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/2/2013.

Projections

ZiPS:

ZiPS Projection
Innings
181.1
Starts
30
ERA
4.37
H/9
9.4
SO/9 8.1
BB/9 4.2

    ZiPS is still using his fantastic 2010 season, so it is predicted that his ERA remains solidly in the 4.00 range. But the hit rates are still high, and given the walk rates and low innings/start, it's not going to be a pretty 4.37 ERA.

    Cairo:

    Cairo Projection
    Innings
    185
    Starts
    31
    ERA
    4.33
    H/9
    9.0
    SO/9 7.4
    BB/9 4.1

    A better strikeout rate, but everything else looks the same. Jimenez becomes a viable pitcher, but nothing near his former self.

    My projection:

    Ryan's Projection
    Innings
    82.1
    Starts
    15
    ERA
    5.25
    H/9
    9.5
    SO/9 6.2
    BB/9 4.5

    Yes, I am predicting that Ubaldo is out of the rotation by the end of June. With him being a free agent at the end of the season and also with viable replacements in AAA, the Indians aren't going to keep him if he does a repeat of 2012; either he's much better and makes all his starts, or he's horrible again and is gone by the All-Star Break. I'm predicting the latter.

    What do you think Ubaldo will do in 2013?

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