I always wondered why the computer would select Ubaldo Jimenez in the first round of a dynasty draft in my Xbox 360 MLB2k8 game. Now I know, he is the chosen one. Ubaldo may very well be the first Colorado pitcher to be coveted in fantasy drafts since the 2005 Jeff Francis Fan Club Fantasy Baseball League. Coors Field, meet your match:
Age 26: Ubaldo is entering his 3rd full season in Colorado's rotation
1.88 GB/FB: all these groundballs and sinking action on pitches helps limit HR
8.17 K/9: the K rate is rising and there's room for improvement
Ubaldo's fastball, slider and changeup showed significant improvement in 2009. As his slider is getting better, he is using it more often. Usage jumped from 12.1% to 17.8% and it wouldnt surprise me to see it make a similar jump to 20-22% this season. That would increase his O-Swing% to a more K friendly rate.
Ubaldo's command is improving. He dropped his ugly 4.67 BB/9 to a workable 3.51 BB/9. Through 15 starts in 2007 Ubaldo sported a 4.06 BB/9 and that is what CHONE projects for him this season. Bill James is less hopeful: 4.37 BB/9. While these guys may be using Screech Powers' robot Kevin for their projections, I have Virgil doing dirty work. Tell me you dont expect Ubaldo's BB/9 to improve in 2010 after looking at his monthly splits. With improved control comes a better F-Strike%, so if he could get his 55.8% F-Strike% closer to league average (59%) it would would help his K rate.
8.05 BB/9 March/April
1.99 BB/9 May
2.89 BB/9 June
3.90 BB/9 July
2.96 BB/9 August
3.93 BB/9 September/October
Ubaldo has me buzzed up and I am pushing him up my SP ranks... how far is the mystery, which I choose not to reveal. Let's just say that I'm accepting prop bets, I'll take Ubaldo over Tommy Hanson. If you would like to see Kevin the robot in action, click here.