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What’s wrong with Ubaldo Jimenez? Speed, or the lack thereof

May 31, 2011, 12:32 PM EST

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

Ubaldo Jimenez is having a hell of a bad year. He’s winless while posting a 5.86 ERA in nine starts.  The problem, as Dave Krieger notes in the Denver Post, is velocity:

In separate conversations with Jimenez and Apodaca over the weekend, they agreed on one thing: Ubaldo’s velocity is not what it was a year ago. Then, he was routinely in the upper 90s, occasionally touching triple digits. Now, he vacillates between the high 80s and low 90s.

Specifically speaking he’s averaging 93 m.p.h. with his fastball this year, down from 96.1 in 2010.  Neither Apodaca nor Jimenez have a good explanation for it. Nagging ailments, suggests Jimenez. Being too fine with his control suggests Apodaca. Neither is willing to go all-in with the explanation. Of course the specter of a major, as opposed to a nagging injury is always there, but no one really wants to go there.

Either way, if Jimenez doesn’t find the speed soon, he and the Rockies are going to continue to have trouble.

  1. Charles Gates - May 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    He can’t find the right license plate. Weighing on his mind.

    • jimbo1949 - May 31, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      ZANDER!

  2. halladaysbicepts - May 31, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    If the guy is averaging 93 mph on his fastball, velocity is not the issue. OK. So he’s not averaging 96 mph like he use to. What does that tell me? He now needs to learn how to pitch instead of trying to blow away everyone.

    • deathmonkey41 - May 31, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      Maybe he should put a call into Jamie Moyer.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 31, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        Jamie Moyer, who was as smart of a pitcher as anyone to take the mound, would probably have a hard time working with this kid. I have heard reports that Jimenez can be difficult to work with and he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

      • tomemos - May 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        “Heard reports”? What, from your scouting director? From your confidential sources, your minions? What?

    • bigxrob - May 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      I find it hard to believe that an MLB team hasn’t scooped you up to be a coach/manager/GM. Your baseball knowledge defies explanation.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        I know. Alot of people tell me the same thing. Actually, I know more about baseball than most managers or coaches and my guess is that they would be intimidated to work with someone with a pedigree such as mine.

      • heyblueyoustink - May 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        Now now bicepts, you made a normal, big boy point up near the top, don’t ruin the moment by going all sentient crotch rash on us…..

    • sayheykidwschamp - May 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      Well I think they mentioned a cut on his finger that was the issue with his loss in velocity. But he did not come back strong after the sitting or DL, can’t remember which. Maybe it’s training…Lincecum had issues with leg strength…once he worked on that, his velocity and accuracy came right back.

      Every rumor was evaluated to having his dad instruct him, to his form breaking down, etc. But it was as simple as Lincecum not sticking to his between starts training. Now that he religiously trains, we see his velocity back to 90-96 and his accuracy is even better than before. So hopefully, it is something simple like that for Ubaldo.

      • The Rabbit - May 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        Well I think they mentioned a cut on his finger that was the issue with his loss in velocity.
        Cardinals’ broadcaster, Al Hrabosky, mentioned this last week. He explained that the condition of the cuticle was essential for the delivery.
        And Hrabosky’s moustache is still awesome.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 31, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      The lower velocity tells me that he has less of an average variance between his fastball and his off-speed stuff, making it easier for batters to sit on his pitches. Location may not matter at all if all the pitches come at you around the same speed. Major League pitchers tend to “blow away” Major League batters because of their off-speed pitches varying so widely with their fastballs. A Major League batter will not be blown away by a 100mph pitch unless they think there’s the chance the pitcher is going to throw him a 82mph pitch instead, for instance. Thus, there are pitchers that can’t blow away hitters even though they throw routinely in the triple-digits and others blow away batters, but “only” pitch in the low-to-mid nineties.

  3. sayheykidwschamp - May 31, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Ubaldo will be just fine. He is a young skilled player who will find his form. After watching him dismantle the Giants last year, it is obvious he has the talent.

    Everyone freaked out last year when Lincecum had his struggles with velocity and accuracy. Well, he fixed that right away. It took a month of getting back to his training regimen between starts. Aces like Ubaldo and Timmy always find a way. Hopefully it is not some nagging injury because they need him in the rotation.

    I don’t know what is wrong with Ubaldo, but he will return to his dominance eventually. And when he does, watch out. But for now, this is still a very competitive division. Aside from the Padres, the Dbacks are on a hot streak, and the Dodgers and Rockies will find a way to make it a competetive division race.

  4. jwbiii - May 31, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Maybe the papayas aren’t so good this year.

  5. buckybadger - May 31, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I know what is wrong with him. He was on my fantasy team. Don’t worry Ubaldo, I have dropped you and now you can go off for 3 shutout games and make me look stupid. Liriano threw a no hitter the game after I dropped him so I expect big things from Ubaldo now.

  6. royalsfaninfargo - May 31, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    If you think about it, he hasnt been right since the all-star break last year.

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