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December 27, 2013

Hot Stove Scouting Report

Ubaldo Jimenez

by Steffan Segui

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See our introduction to the Hot Stove Scouting Report series here.

Player Name: Ubaldo Jimenez

Date Filed: 12/19/13

Throws

Role

Arm Angle

Wind Up

Rubber

R

Starter

Overhead

Slow; Herky jerky

3rd

Delivery/Mechanics

Jimenez is notable for his arm stab. He brings his hands well behind his head and pauses briefly with his hands together in front of his back shoulder, with elbows relaxed and his front shoulder and knee slightly closed. He then separates his hands quickly with his stab behind his leg. He drops his back shoulder and then with good angle delivers the ball from an almost overhead arm slot, staying linear throughout and finishing out front. From the stretch he is more fluid.

Breakdown of Pitches

Fastball

Velocity

Description

92-95

Doesn’t have the electric velocity he once had. Throws both a two- (mostly arm side) and four-seamer (mostly glove side or up). The two-seam is in the low 90s with good run away from LHH. The four-seam is straighter but reaches the mid-90s. Gets in trouble by getting behind FB and leaving it up.

Curveball

Velocity

Description

77-80

Same break as the slider but with less velocity and more of a hump in the shape of the pitch. Uses more down below the zone.

Slider

Velocity

Description

83-87

Main secondary pitch. More of a hard curve with more up-down break than the usual two-plane, east-west movements of many sliders.

Change-up/Split

Velocity

Description

83-87

Throws both. Uses a two-seam changeup for strikes earlier in counts and the harder split in an attempt to get chase swings later in counts. The two-seam has some good comeback to it glove side. The split is straight but falls off the table.

Cutter

Velocity

Description

89-91

Thrown very occasionally, more of a show or change of pace. Bores in on LHH.

Pitch Usage

Date Range: 2013 Season

Splits

vs. LHH

vs. RHH

Total Usage

Total Usage

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

48%

3%

23%

24%

2%

58%

5%

27%

10%

1%

Percentage of Strikes

Percentage of Strikes

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

62%

56%

68%

64%

65%

63%

55%

58%

61%

70%

Swing/Miss Percentage

Swing/Miss Percentage

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

FB

CB

SL

CH

CU

19%

12.5%

32.2%

29.7%

18.2%

11%

19.4%

30%

29%

40%

Approach

Jimenez has had to become more of a pitcher, adding the split and cutter due to decreasing stuff as he’s aged due but also losing some definition on his pitches, especially his slider and curveball, which have gone from eight MPH of separation in average velocity to five. He now throws many more first-pitch sliders and splits than earlier in his career and has much less predictability within at-bats as he throws fewer fastballs overall.

VS LHH: Sliders early in counts and Splits later.

VS RHH: Two out of five first-pitch sliders, hard FBs with 2K’s.

Uses two-seamer to get back into counts.

Makeup

Jimenez’s second-half resurrection in 2013 may reflect his maturation from a thrower to a pitcher after an awful 2012 and first half of 2013. There haven’t been any personal or clubhouse issues of note thus far in his career, and he has taken the ball every fifth day since debuting in pro ball as an 18-year-old in 2002, except for his only injury blip in 2004.

Grades and Projections

Role

Present

Future

No. 4 starter in practice, no. 1-2 in talent level.

Sept. 2013 AL Pitcher of the Month

While he no longer throws 100, he does still throw up to 95 with control that improved significantly in the second half of 2013. 2012-early 2013 was an adjustment period for Jimenez as age started catching up. I believe he’ll level off as a solid no. 2-3 starter for the next half-decade.

Years expected to perform at current level: 6

Strengths

Velocity: Still averages over 93 MPH on his FB, well above MLB average.

Deception in Delivery: Height mixed with herky-jerky delivery, hides ball well.

Slider: Main secondary pitch, has held hitters to a career .200 BAA and .160 BAA vs. LHH.

Durability: Has started at least 31 games every season since 2008, no injury history.

Weaknesses

Velocity: Used to average over 96 MPH on his FB. Has decreased every season since 2010.

Control: Always has been effectively wild but in last three seasons, his pitch count has started to affect him, preventing him from reaching even 190 IP. Showed improvements in second half of ’13.

Inconsistency in Delivery: Many moving parts and checkpoints that can trigger a severe loss in control in a delivery like his, where timing and rhythm is so important

Means of Exploitation

Jimenez is more prone to damage early in games, before he gets in a groove and finds his location and stuff. He has an uncanny ability to get out LHH as a RHP due to the success of his slider. He will always allow runners via the walk, and right-handed-heavy lineups that can A) hit his misses early and B) not chase the Split/SL down can have success.

Conclusion

Jimenez is a candidate for a big payday stemming from a huge September this past season, in which he gave up five ER in 41 IP over six starts down the stretch with a 50:7 K:BB ratio. It was really the first time since 2010 that he had shown the kind of dominance he is capable of, due to control issues that have plagued him throughout his career. He was rushing his delivery and trying to overthrow with poor mechanics and sloppiness at release and finish in 2012-early 2013, likely in an attempt to adjust to lost velocity. New Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway slowed everything down. He tightened everything up (except that right arm), adding checkpoints to the delivery that now allow Jimenez to be on time getting over his high front side. He is much more consistent with his release point and follow-through. He also added velocity throughout the season.

I don’t believe that Jimenez will sustain the success he had in September, but he’s capable of being the pitcher he was from June-August, when he allowed some walks but was much more effective than wild. While he has lost velocity since his rookie season, he still throws hard relative to the MLB average and has a very good slider and split. If he can’t maintain some semblance of control, he will be a solid, albeit overpaid no. 4-5 starter who will continue to walk a lot of guys and fail to reach 200 IP, as he has in the past three seasons. But I believe he will be more of the no. 2-3 type starter that he will be paid like. He has truly improved and adjusted to the weapons he has now, and doesn’t try to pitch like he still has his stuff of 2008-2010. I expect him to get back to the groundball ways of his early career and be a threat to throw 200-plus IP per season for the next five to seven years. He has an athletic build and no injury history, which suggests that he should age gracefully into his mid to upper 30s. Even if he loses more of his stuff, he’ll have value as a 6’5 starter with an average arsenal and the mind of a veteran.

Steffan Segui is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steffan's other articles. You can contact Steffan by clicking here

Related Content:  Scouting,  Ubaldo Jimenez

4 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Dave Scott

After watching him many times the last couple of seasons, I concluded the source of his inconsistency was the varied ways he lands on his left foot. Sometimes he almost looks like he anticipates running to first, he steps so much in that direction. I think that varies his rhythm and release point.

Dec 28, 2013 12:46 PM
rating: 0
 
MonkeyEpoxy

From where are you getting the tidbit that he's averaging 93 mph on the fastball? Last year his 4-seamer averaged 92.1 and his 2-seamer averaged 91.6 per Fangraphs' pitchf/x data.

Dec 29, 2013 03:03 AM
rating: 0
 
Mike Schieve

Brooks Basball has him at 93.

Dec 29, 2013 17:25 PM
rating: 0
 
MonkeyEpoxy

Oh, I see. Well that's strange.

Dec 29, 2013 23:53 PM
rating: 0
 
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