In case you have missed it, Ubaldo Jimenez has been absolutely filthy in 2015. I mean that in the best way possible, of course. Nasty, dirty, filthy. Whatever you want to call it, he has been real good. And for as much flak as he was given last year, it seemed like some kudos were in order now that we are a month into 2015.
Yet, no one is really talking about him. A quick Google search revealed mostly stories by local outfits like the Baltimore Sun, Press Box and the Bird Watcher. The only other platforms that even give him space on their webpage seems to be fantasy sites looking to find a sleeper option. What gives?
He doesn't qualify as a league leader
In order to be "qualified" for leading the league in a given stat, a pitcher has to have thrown at least one inning per game played by the team. At this moment, the Orioles have played 23 games and Jimenez has pitched 22.2 innings. Not even kidding, he is a third-of-an-inning short. Thanks, Jordan Baker.
Jimenez should be right back on those leader boards, provided he doesn't absolutely implode on Wednesday against the Mets. He needs to toss just 2.1 innings to stay there for the day and a nice 7.1-inning outing will keep him there through his next turn in the rotation.
Even still, Jimenez WAS a qualified starter before the Orioles series finale win over the Rays on Sunday. There was still little-to-no pub about his pitching.
Some of his stats are a bit out of whack
As I'm sure you know, FIP and xFIP are slowly eclipsing ERA in terms of determining a pitcher's performance. While Jimenez would rank sixth in baseball with a 1.59 ERA, his FIP and xFIP tell a slightly different story. Jimenez comes in with a 3.52 FIP, good for 47th in baseball. His xFIP of 2.97 has him at 12th in the MLB.
Meanwhile, his batting average against on balls in play is a measly .157. The league average is right around .300 and Jimenez's career average is .290. If you are a totally unbiased Orioles blogger, you just look at that as the batters being unable to square the ball up and make good contact. But it is likely a number that will grow, at least a little bit, as the season goes on.
Add to that, 67.3 percent of hitters are putting the ball on the ground, by far a career high for Jimenez, whose career average is 47.3 percent.
And he is walking the fewest people he ever has before. It's a rate that is nowhere near ridiculous (3.18 per nine innings pitched), but still something that is a notable change in his game.
The hitters aren't swinging at his pitches
It doesn't matter where the ball is thrown, Jimenez doesn't face a lot of swings from opponents. Only 34.8 percent of his pitches are swung at. Only 22 percent of pitches outside of the zone are swung at. And only 48.5 percent of pitches in the zone are swung at. All of those are career lows.
His swinging strikes are also at a career low; 6.1 percent. Obviously, a big chunk of that is from the fact that they aren't swinging in general, but it is also shows that his stuff is not un-hittable.
He is throwing slower than ever before
This is a line that is growing rather tired, but I will mention it anyway. It's something that happens with pitchers. As they age, they tend to lose their zip and they go from flame-throwing stud to crafty veteran. It's a transformation that Jimenez is in the midst of at the moment.
So far in 2015, his four-seam fastball is clocking it at an average of 90.0 mph with his two-seam a touch slower at 89.4. Both are career lows, as are all of his complementary pitches. No doubt, it does remove the "sexiness" factor from his pitching.
However, everything revolves around the fastball. While it may not be quite as speedy as it once was, if his off-speed stuff is still different enough, velocity is hardly as important as it is made-out to be.
I stopped short of getting into all of the good things that Jimenez is doing in 2015. Obviously, his two-seam has been his go-to pitch, and with good reason. Have you seen that thing? It moves like...like..like something that moves a lot. Not to mention he is throwing more strikes and, while there isn't a stat for this, he just looks more confident out there.
But anyway, some of the things mentioned above are why the national media may not be abuzz with Ubaldo fever like some of us drinking the orange and black Kool Aid. Personally, i say give it one or two more starts and then the blog world had better be ablaze with Jimenez hype.
That's all from me, folks. Why do YOU think Jimenez hasn't gotten more air time? Does he deserve it? Is it just about right? Let me know in the comments down below or on Twitter @_TyYoung.