As the world continues to be hyper about “what have you done for me lately,” fantasy baseball owners rejoice. It’s nice when your opponents look at 2011’s stats and think they are gospel because then guys who had bad years last year fall through the cracks. Even better if the guys between the cracks are in the form of hard throwing 200-K capable pitchers with great names. On draft day, saying Ubaldo Jimenez should give you an immense amount of joy. It’s a fun name to say, it’s hard to mess up, you can throw a lot of accents in it and most people will look at his 2011 stats and think you’re crazy for drafting him.

Sure, his 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP were unpalatable. But, really, his year wasn’t that different (aside from teenager-level negative noise) from his previous seasons.

In 2009, he struck out 8.17 batters per nine innings, walked 3.51 batters per nine and had .280 BABIP and a 73.5% strand rate.

In 2010, Jimenez struck out 8.69 batters per nine innings, walked 3.74 batters per nine, and had a .271 BABIP and a 76.5% strand rate.

In 2011, he stuck out 8.60 batters per nine innings, walked 3.73 batters per nine, and had a .314 BABIP and a 65% strand rate.

From 2009-2011, Jimenez averaged a 3.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 K’s. During that time frame, his 44 wins are tied for seventh most and his 592 K’s are 13th most.

If you want someone to blame for 2011, pick a spike in his HR/FB rate, a criminal strand rate and increased BABIP. In addition, for whatever reason, Jimenez relied on his changeup more than ever. This resulted in a big decline in swinging strikes and an uptick in contact. Jimenez will get his mojo back and figure out he needs to bring his slider and curve more often in 2012.

Certainly, he wasn’t as good as he was in 2010, but is nowhere near as bad as he was in 2011. Expect a 3.50-3.75 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 190+ K’s in 2012.

It’s ludicrous that Jimenez is being drafted after the likes of Cory Luebke, Tim Hudson, Matt Moore, Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto, Yu Darvish, Jordan Zimmerman, Jeremy Hellickson and many others.

Jimenez could be the best value at starting pitcher in 2012.

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K76154
K76154
10 years ago

Scout says that Jimenez was only having 89~91mph and top at 92mph in his last spring training game. While ST stats mean nothing, this big velocity drop is definitely a huge warning sign. I am moving him from the sleeper list all the way to the exclude list now…

Albert Lang
Reply to  K76154
10 years ago

@K76154, I’m not overly concerned about ST velocity reports. For one thing, guns can vary widely. For another, Halladay topped out at 89 MPHs a few weeks ago.

I just dont think we know anywhere near enough about ST to ascertain which performance matters and which doesnt. Dont let ST velocity be your determination. If it is the tiny push that puts you over the top, fine, but dont give it more power than its worth.

I’m hoping the velocity is a result of Ubaldo spending more time working on his breaking ball as that will be imperative to him shining this year.

We shalls ee.

Matt
Matt
10 years ago

Nope. I live in Denver and I have watched Ubaldo have what, 3 good months in his career. I am glad he was traded and I wouldn’t pick him up off the waiver wire…unless I wanted to LOSE points.

Melvin Emanuel
Melvin Emanuel
10 years ago

Been doing some mocks and so far I think this is my favorite one. However I don’t want to be complacent so I would appreciate some criticism. I think I might be light on homers and Brandon League was my second choice for second closer (tried to get Motte). I’m also concerned with where Jennings is ranked for yahoo. Is 16 overall too high for Hanley?

C Avila 11
1B Votto 1
2B Kendrick 6
SS H. Ramirez 2
3B Lawrie 4
OF McCutchen 3
OF Jennings 5
OF Gardner 10
UTL Reynolds 15
UTL Joyce 18

B Rasmus 19
B Belt 21

SP Haren 7
SP Bumgardner 8
SP Moore 9
SP Beachy 12
SP Zimmerman 13
SP Luebke 14
SP Chacin 20
SP Minor 22

RP Betancourt
RP League
RP Thorton

Melvin Emanuel
Melvin Emanuel
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Thanks for the responce. BTW I live very close to Al Lang Field ha.

I had a choice between Sandoval and Lawrie and in a real draft I probably would have picked Pablo.

I always have a problem supplementing the gambles with safe picks. I tend to favor young upside over aging players trending down. Lawrie scares me after I took Chris Davis early a couple years ago.

I could see myself taking Hanley in a real draft hoping his down year was injury and babip related. Batting third, a 20-30 season would put him on par with Tulo, right?

Tony
Tony
Reply to  Melvin Emanuel
10 years ago

@Melvin Emanuel, mocks are crap, they’re basically there to get you a feel of the rankings and the system, yahoo, espn, etc…. dont even for 1 min think a mock is going to prepare you for your real draft.

I’m a pretty firm believer of going with a solid GIVEN than upside. I love upside, but pablo or lawrie? i’ll take pablo 9 of 10 times….. we’ve seen a million dudes hyped over small sample sizes, i’d much rather have a guy i KNOW can hit .315 and 20+hrs…. lawrie could/should etc hit 20/20 easy, but what if he heywards 2011?

nothings guaranteed with any player, but especially not with young “upside” players.

RandomItalicizedVoice
RandomItalicizedVoice
10 years ago

Ubaldo got pounded today. Again.

RandomItalicizedVoice
RandomItalicizedVoice
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Oh I agree…but when looking for faith in a bounceback candidate…these things don’t help, IMO.

Matt
Matt
10 years ago

I have a question. My keeper league is now only keeping 3 instead of 5. I was gonna keep:

M. Cabrera
Kinsler
Hamilton
Granderson
Elvis Andrus

Now I realize Elvis is the most expendable I think, but who should I keep between Granderson (one year wonder?) or Hamilton (Free Agent Season)? Who would your 3 be?

Thanks

Matt
Matt
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Yeah it carries over each year, though this is just the 2nd year of the league. I was set when we were keeping 5 but at 3 I’m lost. Cabrera and Kinsler are both clear and since it looks like Cabrera will get 3B eligibility, then my hope is someone has decided not to keep a good 1B and I can grab them with my 1st pick. I say this cause I thought that if I kept Grandy I had a better shot of grabbing back Josh and/or Elvis in the 2nd or later rounds but that if I kept Hamilton, Grandy might go in the 1st just based on last year. I’m just hoping last year was the Grandy I’m getting and not the one from the prior year. Josh is interesting as since he killed negotiations with his night out, the only way to bank for next year is to have a big year, and he could very well have one. All that said, Elvis in a keeper could be great longer.

Matt
Matt
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, So given the options in the OF vs the options at SS, who would you keep between Grandy and Elvis if it were your team?

Matt
Matt
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Thanks

TheNewGuy
TheNewGuy
10 years ago

Looking at a deal involving getting Beltre in my 10 team keeper league (OBP league) Al. For giving up Cain and a bat like R Roberts/Dunn/Butler, would you do it? Beltre’s signed up through 2013 too for $23 which is a decent price for big time offensive guys in my league. I do need more power and like Beltre this year and do think I enough pitching to be able to deal a good arm. Worth considering and if so any bat you’d rather give up?

TheNewGuy
TheNewGuy
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, He’s just come back saying he means he wants Cain, Butler and another bat (Dunn/Roberts)….knew it was too good to be true. His main reason being the cost of Beltre ($23) for this year and next. I do agree he is a good price, but at that steep price to acquire him, I can’t do that right? He said he needs pitching though so hopefully he’ll think again and come back to me with a more reasonable offer…Just so you know I have a backup 2B in Ackley, and backup CI guy in Encarnacion, but don’t think that makes this deal fair enough though.

Nonstoptalk
Nonstoptalk
10 years ago

Thanks. Another sort of follow up question… Due to some league settings Matt Moore was not kept last season and looking at Yahoo quickly he’d be the 48th ranked player left on the board after keepers using Yahoos ranking of him (#91). Question is I love him and know he has huge upside but does taking him in the 5th-6th-7th round give him any keeper value for years to come? We can keep players in same round next year and for 2 more years after for a total of 3 but players keeper round increases by 2 every year. My concern is that if he doesn’t have good keeper value in those rounds that their are safer picks I could make since The foundation of my staff is so young.

Thanks again.

Nonstoptalk
Nonstoptalk
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, I totally agree with your guys/tier to target. Problem is this is the first year of keepers and my league usually over values pitchers so a lot of top end pitchers went early and weren’t kept. At the top Kershaw, Lee, Lincecum, Felix, Cain, Greinke, Gallardo are all available but then Shields/Lester/Garza and pitchers like that were all kept. But a lot of the guys after them were. After the top 7 that I mentioned you’re looking at Darvish, Moore, Latos, Carpenter, Morrow Luebke. Most of which I’m not to thrilled about. Can I still hang in H2H by passing on everyone I’ve mentioned?

Nonstoptalk
Nonstoptalk
10 years ago

Thanks. Another sort of follow up question… Due to some league settings Matt Moore was not kept last season and looking at Yahoo quickly he’d be the 48th ranked player left on the board after keepers using Yahoos ranking of him (#91). Question is I love him and know he has huge upside but does taking him in the 5th-6th-7th round give him any keeper value for years to come? We can keep players in same round next year and for 2 more years after for a total of 3 but players keeper round increases by 2 every year. My concern is that if he s

Nonstoptalk
Nonstoptalk
10 years ago

I’m in a standard 5×5 12 team mixed keeper where the player is kept in the round they were drafted in.

My Keepers are as follows

Hanley – Round 1
Pedroia – Round 3
Konerko – Round 6
D. Hudson – Round 12
A. Sanchez – Round 17
Beachy – Round 20
J. Montero – Round 21

A lot of OF were kept so I’m plannning to try and use my first couple picks on OF if possible. My question is with Hudson/Beachy/Sanchez as the foundation to my rotation roughly when should I target a SP? Do I try and get a Cain/Gallardo with my 2nd pick (4th round) or wait til Garcia/Jiminez/Scherzer/Hellickson/Dempster or maybe somewhere in between?

Thanks in advance. Love the site.

mike
mike
10 years ago

i hate reading your crap.

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, And when can we expect the next article?

MH
MH
10 years ago

Hudson, Zimmermann, Cueto, and Hellickson yes. I’d rather have the others. I think your projection is slightly bullish, and even with it, I also think you’re not properly comparing those numbers to the current run environment. Even with those numbers, the only category he’d be an above average fantasy starter in is Ks. A 3.60ish ERA isn’t what it used to be, and a 1.30 WHIP hurts a bit. Sure, the spikes in BABIP and HR/FB hurt, but they were supposed to regress, and were pretty nominal in 2011, at least compared to the leage. His career rates are better, but if you follow SIERA theory, you would expect BABIP and HR/FB to decline from his career rates thanks to the loss of velocity. Even if he goes back to a 7.5% HR/FB and .280 BABIP, he’s still more like a #3 SP than a top guy, and a marginally strong value at his ADP. If they stay around 9% and .300, I wouldn’t expect much better than a 3.80ish ERA and 1.35 WHIP. I’d pretty easily prefer Moore, Luebke and probably Darvish, not to mention Matt Garza and Anibal Sanchez, and I don’t think he’s necessarily superior to Brandon Morrow and a handful of even deeper guys.

FWIW, here’s some steamer projections projections, which for the last few years has been perhaps the best at projecting pitchers.

Jimenez: 13-11, 3.82 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 183 Ks in 194 IP. Solid, but outside of the Ks, pretty meh.
Mike Minor: 10-9, 3.63, 1.29, 145 in 157
Brandon Morrow: 13-9, 3.63, 1.34, 203 in 179
Matt Moore: 11-9, 3.60, 1.36, 173 in 162
Cory Luebke: 11-9, 3.34, 1.25, 168 in 176

chata
chata
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang,

“How many IPs in the majors have Luebke, Darvish and Moore thrown together?”

maybe i should draft moyer .

honestly , i like liriano’s chances to bounce-back better than ubaldo’s .

MH
MH
Reply to  chata
10 years ago

@chata, I think they could be pretty similar.

@Albert Lang, I posted a follow up comment but it had a couple links so it got filtered (one to a razzball article, another to a fangraphs article by Matt Swarz about projection systems that discussed how well Steamer’s done with pitchers the last few years).

MH
MH
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, I understand, and I have certain trepidations about all of them, but there should be no kid gloves on Moore and he’s obviously got top notch stuff, Luebke may get exposed a bit if he’s starting but his numbers were off the charts (both as a reliever and starter) last year and he has Petco to abuse, and I go back and forth on Darvish. My point wasn’t that I don’t think Ubaldo is an okay value, but I’ve had this discussion with a few people and I think some are too willing to give him sleeper hype. His command is still a huge problem and I don’t think he has #1 fantasy starter upside even if he gets his command back, while there’s a decent amount of risk/bottom out potential still. He was better than his ERA indicated last year, but that alone isn’t enough to make me a buyer. His K rate was stable but his SwStrike% absolutely tanked and was below league average as well, so even with the Ks I think there’s some risk. The 14th round is right about where I think he belongs, and most of the guys going ahead of him I prefer.

MH
MH
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Even if he gets his velocity back*, not command

Son of a Beachy
Son of a Beachy
10 years ago

How worried are you about Wright’s injury? I’ve seen crazy reactions already to it… Enough that I’m worried and thinking about trading him away in a keep 14 each year keeper league…What kind of guys should I be targeting, value-wise in return for him? (Regardless of position)

chata
chata
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang,

the guy’s trying to play through the same injury that
zimmerman had .
eventually , zimerman decided that the pain was too much
and had the operation .
it cost him 60 games .

a cutch-type ??
no one is that dumb .

if you think that , at his age , there will be some value going forward
(think 2013-2014) , then sit on him ,
otherwise , take any able body with a full-time job .

Son of a Beachy
Son of a Beachy
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, I have no problem sitting on Wright if need be for future purposes…I’ve built my roster mainly around Pujols and CarGo after winning it all last year (14 teams) and carpet bombing my team via trade….I won last year even with Wright/Hamilton/Choo missing a collective 6 months or so. I might just hold onto him, but I floated a few offers out without letting people know he’s really on the block. Thanks for that idea!

J!m Future
J!m Future
10 years ago

Absolutely. Jiminez is by far my favorite SP to draft this year – at his ADP, you’re getting a guy people were drafting as a #1 starter last year as your #4. The potential profit far outweighs the risk.

JoeC
JoeC
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, I think there’s merit in that idea, but I have to diverge from you on this piece. I think Ubaldo is done-zo.

I’m not sure what it is exactly. Perhaps he never really knew where the ball was going but he had that elite speed that compensates for that. Now that the elite speed is dissipating, batters are starting to square him up.

If he throws up a 1.27 WHIP, I will eat a side of corned beef (and I *hate* corned beef!). :)

Albert Lang
Reply to  JoeC
10 years ago

@JoeC, I’ve meant to dig into the data on the strategy of targeting last year’s busts but just havent had the time (silly NCAA tournament + nice weather + day job).

I’ve never seen people so widely split on a player as Ubaldo. Some think this piece was a no-brainer and others find Ubaldo as dead-to-me. A lot depends on whether the velocity is gone (and reports from spring training suggest he’s sitting at 91 MPHs) and whether he can still be effective at that diminished velocity. I really think if he gets back to his breaking pitches he’ll be fine, but we shall see if that’s the culprit or if it’s velocity. Pitchers do regain velo, so it’s not out-of-the-question, but do understand your and others point of view.

I’d happily eat the corned beef for you (although I havent had the stuff in a really long time, i do like it).

JoeC
JoeC
Reply to  Albert
10 years ago

@Albert, I think it’s true that he’ll have to rely more on his secondary pitches if his fastball speed doesn’t return (ala Lincecum). The question is: can he consistently throw his secondary pitches for strikes? And, can he change himself from strictly a power pitcher to a more “crafty” type of pitcher? I have my doubts.

I don’t have much faith in the staff of the Indians to be able to coach him up. Who have they developed in recent years? I guess Masterson, but most of his development was with Boston. Besides that, the cupboards pretty bare.

As with everything, we will see who is right and who is wrong in their prognastication. What worries me is that his Spring results are right in line with his results last year: dude just gettin’ tagged. At least with Liriano, who is also a favorite bounceback candidate, we see *some* signs of recovery.

How in the world could *anyone* enjoy corned beef? :)

Albert Lang
Reply to  JoeC
10 years ago

@JoeC, Liriano always looks good when he’s healthy, it’s that pesky health thing i worry about. Ubaldo will get the innings, but he has to provide value for that to matter, obviously.

I love salt, the saltier the better….that must be why i love corned beef…god i love salt.

JoeC
JoeC
Reply to  Albert
10 years ago

@Albert,
Hey, Albert… what are your feelings on salt? I don’t think I’m clear there.

Albert Lang
Reply to  JoeC
10 years ago

@JoeC, Just give me a package of salt on a cool summer day and an Ubaldo start and I’m set! :-).

Also had way too much tea yesterday

chata
chata
10 years ago

have you been drinking , Albert ?

you must be outcho mind , if you’re picking ubaldo before yu .

Jay29
Jay29
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, so what other “known quantities” would you take over Yu Darvish? Derek Lowe? RA Dickey? I recognize that you can just fill your staff with other pitchers with a higher downside, but at some point down the SP rankings it’d be dumb not to take Yu.

Tony
Tony
Reply to  Jay29
10 years ago

@Jay29, you really have faith in YU? i mean i wouldn’t call someone out on a guy like UBALDO who’s done SOMETHING in mlb and shown SOME glimmer of eliteness, YU has done nothing and many many foreign pitchers/athletes have came over and done squat, their talents just dont translate in the “real” bigs….

I would not invest in YU, especially not in the 8-10th ish round where he goes..

Jay29
Jay29
Reply to  Tony
10 years ago

@Tony, If you look back at my comment you’ll notice I never said I liked YU more than UBALDO. I just took issue with the “known quantities” phrase, as it was very inexact. Just wanted Albert to clarify with some context (i.e. other established pitchers).

Regardless, I happen to like Yu a little bit more than Ubaldo, but only a couple spots higher or $1-$2 more. I think Ubaldo can be great but I’m guessing he’ll have a high WHIP and a mediocre W total for Cleveland. Yu could end up anywhere on the spectrum but I like his upside more than Ubaldo’s and even average pitchers can get 15 Ws with that Texas offense supporting them.

Boston Fans Are Stoopid
Boston Fans Are Stoopid
10 years ago

Are you concerned that Jimenez’ declined ratios correlate with a nearly 4 mile per hour drop in velocity on his fastball? His velocity has been even lower in spring games, routinely around 90 MPH. I worry that he may have a lingering injury and will be shut down at some point.

Boston Fans Are Stoopid
Boston Fans Are Stoopid
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, You’re right, not quite 4 MPH but his velocity has declined some. Jimenez is certainly worth a shot as a sleeper considering where he is being drafted. There was once a time not too long ago I would make it a point to watch games he pitched in because he was that good. However, for full disclosure I have an unhealthy infatuation with Cory Luebke and would probably go that route given the choice between the two.

Luke
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Oh, the dreaded death nail. Is that anything like a death knell?

Former Skeptic
Former Skeptic
Reply to  Albert Lang
10 years ago

@Albert Lang, Ubaldo is toast FYI