Thursday, January 15, 2009
Ubaldo Jimenez 2009
I'm not quite sure what to make of Ubaldo Jimenez. His strikeout rate (7.7 K/9 in 2008) and ability to induce groundballs (54.4%) ensure that he'll be effective even if he's unable to improve on his high walk rate (4.6 BB/9). The question is, how much of a chance does he have to improve and become a really top starting pitcher? He's got a few things going for him. Firstly, he's young. Jimenez will turn 25 in a few days, so there's time for improvement. He also throws very hard (94.0 MPH average fastball), which suggests that he may actually be able to improve on his already good strikeout rate. On the negative side, Jimenez has never had good control, even in the lower minor leagues. This isn't a case of a young guy trying to nibble at the corners of the plate when faced with tougher competition. Something in his mechanics or approach is causing the bad control, and it may be tough to 'cure'.