Average Draft Position: 36
5×5 Rank: 996
Ownership levels: 97%
29.2 IPs, 30 Ks, 6.67 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
Certainly I’ve not let my love of Ubaldo Jimenez be hidden over the last several years (here, here, here, here). He was, perhaps, one of my greatest sleeper calls ever. But I had him as a top 5 SP this year and he has been anything but.
A bit of that has to do with him being roughly 20-30 innings off the pace because of an unforeseen injury. But a lot has to do with poor poor performance.
For starters, the bullpen has done him no favors (60.8% strand rate) and that should change with more innings/quantity.
He is also giving up way more homeruns than normal: 1.21 per 9 innings, he hasn’t been over 0.50 in any full year; and 11.8% HR/FB rate which hasn’t been over 7.8% since he became a full timer.
Now that could change or it could not. Over the last two seasons, Ubaldo averaged 96.1 MPHs on his fastball. This year it is down to 92.7. His slider and change have also lost velocity. He is throwing his fastball a bit less and change-up a bit more. Of course some of that could be due to the cuticle problems he had…or still has.
With the difference in velocity, we are seeing more line drives and fly balls and far less ground balls…not good signs.
However, his swinging strike percentage is 9.1%…the very same as last year. His contact rate is 76.4%…a tad lower than normal. In all, Ubaldo has the highest K-rate (9.10) of his career. So its not that batters are making more contact, just better contact.
The last nasty little problem Ubaldo has is his walk rate: 6.67 batters per nine innings –that’s what they term “not good.”
It’s near impossible to say whether Ubaldo is fighting further injury or simply shaking of rust.
Because of the K-rate, swinging strike percentage and contact rate, I’m going to buy an Ubaldo improvement. He is fooling batters, he’s just not locating his pitches like he normally does – that can and should improve.
At the end of the year, I think Ubaldo has a 4.00 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 190 Ks. There is upside to almost all of those numbers as well. Would I sell if I got 100% of draft day value? Absolutely. There is risk here, and if you’re getting full value go for it. But I wouldn’t sell for less than 90%– so a top 45 player would be my line.