Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/4/13
Jimenez’s 2nd-half dominance in 2013 will lead to a big contract and an inflated ADP. Heading into the 2013 season, nobody really expected much out of Ubaldo Jimenez. He’d just finished the worst season of his career, where he posted an awful 5.40 ERA and 1.61 WHIP to go along with a league leading 17 losses, and as 2013 unfolded it didn’t seem like much had changed. Jimenez allowed 15 runs in his first three starts, and by the All Star break his ERA was sitting at an ugly 4.56. But in the second half of the season, something clicked. Jimenez started pitching like it was 2010 again — the year he won 15 games before the break and finished third in Cy Young voting. Check out his first- and second-half splits. I promise I’m not lying to you. These came from the same pitcher. IP W-L QS ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP 1st Half 98.2 7-4 6 4.56 1.49 8.57 4.83 4.50 2nd Half 84.0 6-5 10 1.82 1.14 10.71 2.89 2.17 Nobody in baseball this year had a bigger first/second-half difference in ERA than Jimenez. He actually allowed more earned runs in April then he did in the entire second half. So, what’s the reason for his drastic improvement? Was it all skill? And should you trust Jimenez going into 2014? Read on to find out! Was is the fastball…or something else? Surprisingly, not much has changed with Jimenez’s velocity. I half-expected to find that Jimenez rediscovered the velocity he had back in Colorado and was hitting 97 mph once again. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. He was still sitting right around 93 mph, and while he did see a slight uptick in velocity in the second half (about 0.5 mph), it wasn’t enough to make too much of a difference The biggest change Jimenez made this year was adding a cutter to his pitching repertoire. While he only used the pitch 44 times all year (1.37%), batters fouled it back often and Jimenez was able to throw it as an unexpected set-up pitch. Coincidentally, 66% of those cutters came in the final 40% of his starts (i.e., the second half). That’s a rate increase of over 250%. However, a pitch that’s used just 1.37% of the time (or approximately once every 73 pitches) really isn’t going to make a huge difference. Sure, it helped Jimenez post a career-high 9.56 K/9 in 2013, but did it affect his numbers to the extent that we saw this year? No, unfortunately the biggest influence on his second half performance came down to two luck factors. More than just skill — schedule The first of those two luck factor is his home run total. By July 22nd, Jimenez had allowed a total of 13 home runs on the season, but in 68.1 innings after that point, he allowed a grand total of one home run. That’s right, one home run. It takes some serious luck to maintain a home run rate that low, and it will be next to impossible for Jimenez to carry that into next season. The other luck factor Jimenez saw in the second half was his stretch-run matchups. His September stat line was pretty incredible (4-0, 1.09 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 11.10 K/9, 1.52 BB/9), however it seems a lot less impressive when you consider the opponents he faced. Hey, don’t believe me. You be the judge: Sep. 3: vs. BAL (26th-fewest R, 5th-highest K%) Sep. 9: vs. KC (13th-fewest R, 29th-highes K%) Sep. 14: @CHW (2nd-fewest R, 14th-highest K%) Sep. 19: vs. HOU (5th-fewest R, Highest K%) Sep. 24: vs. CHW (2nd-fewest R, 14th-highest K%) Sep. 29: @ MIN (6th-fewest R, 2nd-highest K%) Those five teams averaged a winning percentage of .433 last year and were probably more focused on giving their September call-ups a chance to play rather than starting their best lineup and trying to win. One month of a solid walk rate against some pretty free-swinging teams isn’t going to convince me that Jimenez has improved his control, and two months with some obvious home run luck isn’t going to convince me that he has improved that either. Once the walk rate comes back up, so will his WHIP, and once he stops getting lucky with the home runs his ERA will rise. When his ERA and WHIP rise, the wins go down. You get the point. Some of it’s for real While I think the improved strikeouts are for real (and they could possibility get better if he signs with an NL team this offseason), that’s really the only thing that’s changed with Jimenez. What if I told you that Freddie Garcia pitched to a 1.65 ERA to go along with a solid 1.65 BB/9 in September this year? I don’t predict anyone jumping on the Garcia bandwagon anytime soon this offseason, and that shouldn’t be any different with Jimenez. Despite the small sample size, people are still going draft Jimenez way too high this year based on the fact that he’s pitched successfully in the past, but unless we see him starting hitting 97 on the radar gun once again, he’s not going to come anywhere near his Colorado numbers. Don’t kid yourself. The one who drafts Jimenez next year may think they are getting a steal, expecting a continuation of his second-half dominance, but you know better now. When you see Jimenez’s name come up way too early in your draft next year, just pass right along. Let someone else have fun with his career 4.98 April ERA, and be glad that you didn’t learn the hard way why it’s not a good idea to go all-in on small sample sizes.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Spurs, Kawhi Leonard Agree to Framework on a Max Five-Year Deal

Ex-Cowboy indicted on sexual assault charges

Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers

Carli Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Auburn, Oregon to open 2019 season at AT&T Stadium


Butler can’t sign one-year contract unless it’s with Bulls

DeAndre Jordan wants 4-year deal, bigger offensive role

Kings reportedly looking into viability of firing Karl

Jim Brown: I ‘encourage and support’ Johnny Manziel

Vincent criticizes NFLPA over spending millions on lawsuits

MLB urges Supreme Court to deny San Jose's A's appeal

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

Landon Donovan takes shot at Jurgen Klinsmann

Hope Solo admits to using stalling tactics on penalty kick

Scottie Pippen: ‘I was LeBron James before LeBron James’

Feud between Scioscia and Dipoto makes Angels fascinating case study

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh throws out first pitch at Tigers game

MLB’s All-Star roster will now announced be over two days

Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets

Blatter won’t attend World Cup final due to ‘personal reasons’

Sharks have found their starting goalie by acquiring Jones

Fan who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th says he’s received threats

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.