Thursday, May 20, 2010

King Ubaldo once again proves his dominance

In Seattle, Mariners fans refer to young starting pitcher Felix Hernandez as King Felix.

News flash to Mariners fans. Your king has been deposed.

With all due respect to Hernandez, who won 19 games in 2009, Ubaldo Jimenez has become the best young pitcher in Major League Baseball. On Thursday Jimenez once again showed his domination, defeating the Astros and Roy Oswalt 4-0.

Through seven innings, Jimenez gave up just one hit, a broken bat roller that went 45 feet. Third baseman Ian Stewart made a huge mistake and tried to bare hand the ball. With slow footed catcher Humberto Quintero running, Stewart had plenty of time to field the ball with his glove and get the out at first. The play was ruled a hit, which at the time did not seem like a big deal, when Jimenez walked off after the 7th inning, many were wondering "what if."

The reason Jimenez is so good is because he cannot be put in the category of a power pitcher. The young Dominican baffles hitters because he mixes two different pitching styles.

Against the Astros Jimenez struck out only four hitters. Most of the time a when a pitcher who throws 100 miles per hour and strikes out just four hitters it is a bad thing. It means they weren't hitting their spots and left the ball up in the zone.

Not Jimenez. When the Rockies flamethrower only strikes out four hitters in seven innings it is looked at as a good thing. The reason why it is good is because Jimenez does not rely on his heater to blow guys away. He is the only power pitcher who has movement on his upper-90's fastball. That's right, Jimenez not only throws 100, but his 100 MPH fastball moves.

Jimenez pitches like a guy who needs to fool hitters. Instead of throwing fastball after fastball after fastball, Jimenez mixes in 92 MPH split-fingered fastballs that fall off the table, 91 MPH sliders that break bats, and knee-buckling curveballs.

It really is almost unfair to hitters.

A quarter of the way through the season, Jimenez possesses an ERA of 0.99, lowest in the league, to go along with an 8-1 record, best in the Majors. At some point the national media is going to have to start realizing what a great season Jimenez is having.

The fact is, hitters who play 81 games a year at Coors Field have their numbers dissected and discounted. Even with the humidor in full effect, people talk about Coors Field being the greatest place to hit in the world, and therefore hitters like Todd Helton see their numbers with an asterisks next to them.

So when a guy like Jimenez is putting up numbers on the mound like he has, while pitching half of his games at Coors Field, wouldn't it make sense that he should be seen in an even better light? When will analysts start talking about the fact that Jimenez has a 0.99 ERA at COORS FIELD?

Frankly, at this point it is time for people to see who Ubaldo Jimenez is. He is the best pitcher in baseball. The season may only be a quarter of the way done, but Jimenez is proving that he is the most dominant pitcher in his sport. Sorry Tim Lincecum, sorry Roy Halladay, but Jimenez is the best pitcher in the game right now.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

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2 comments:

  1. Maybe Stewart did Jimenez a favor. After the heat cramps Jim Tracy decided to be cautious and remove Ubaldo. That would have been a tougher decision had he had a no-hitter going. I don't know, I'm just looking for a silver lining.

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  2. Mike,
    That would have been a tough decision for Tracy, and the fact is, there is a different pressure when a no-hitter is in tact, so who knows, Jimenez could have easily made a bad pitch somewhere else down the line. I guess what I am really impressed with is that a no-hitter is so extremely rare, but Jimenez is routinely giving up only two or three hits a game it seems like. He could do it again! That is amazing.

    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it!

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