- Full name Ubaldo Jiménez
- Born 01/22/1984 in Nagua, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 221 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/26/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Rockies overhauled Jimenez' mechanics last spring, and he adapted quickly. He toned down a hitch in his arm action, which tipped off his pitches and created concerns about stress on his arm. He dominated Double-A and pitched well in the thin air of Colorado Springs. Jimenez has a four-pitch repertoire built around a 96-97 mph fastball that has reached triple digits. He has a plus changeup that has become more deceptive thanks to his new arm action, and he also throws a slider and an overhand curveball. He improved his command and his ability to set up hitters. Jimenez went down with the beginnings of a stress fracture in his shoulder in 2004, and scouts still worry that his mechanics will hurt his durability. But he hasn't missed a start in the last two years. His curveball has good spin but can be inconsistent. Jimenez figures to return to Triple- A to open 2007, and he could move into the big league rotation as soon as midseason. His profile also would fit in the closer's role, which could save some wear and tear on his arm.
Jimenez was on a roll in high Class A in 2004 when the Rockies discovered the beginnings of a stress fracture in his right shoulder. He started slowly in 2005 but earned a promotion to Double-A and adapted well by season's end. Jimenez is a pure power pitcher capable of reaching 96-98 mph, and he worked consistently around 92-94 in 2005. His 12-to-6 curveball is a swing-and-miss pitch, and he has the confidence to throw it when he's behind in the count. He flashes a plus changeup at times. His confidence has grown with his mastery of English. Jimenez' mechanics had to be overhauled to get him back into a compact motion directed at the plate. He still needs to improve his command and his changeup. Though his shoulder woes appear behind him, questions about his health and his delivery prompt some to project him as a future closer. He'll return to Double-A to begin 2006, but could finish the season in Colorado. He has shown too much potential as a starter to consider moving him to the bullpen at this time.
Jimenez dominated the high Class A California League at age 20, striking out 12 in his first outing and never allowing more than three earned runs in a start. Then the Rockies discovered the beginnings of a stress fracture, and his season ended in mid-May. He returned to the mound last fall in instructional league. Jimenez has a raw power fastball regularly clocked from 94-97 mph. He also has a big league curveball and the confidence to throw his changeup in any situation. Once he got comfortable with his English in mid-2003, he became much more confident and has been on a roll ever since. Jimenez still is learning how to mix his pitches. He wraps his wrist a little bit in the back of his delivery, and Colorado plans on ironing out that flaw to avoid more arm problems. Though he figures to open at high Class A, Jimenez should force a quick promotion to Double-A Tulsa if he's healthy. He could be pitching in the majors as early as 2006.
In his first year in the United States, Jimenez posted a 6.53 ERA in the Pioneer League. In his second, he put together such a strong second half at Asheville that he was promoted to high Class A Visalia at age 19 for the California League playoffs. Jimenez has legitimate power-pitcher potential. He has a four-seam fastball that reaches 96-97 mph, and a two-seamer with excellent running action. He also throws a big, sharp-breaking curveball that buckles righthanders, and he uses it against lefties as well. Jimenez needs to develop a third pitch. He shows a big league changeup in side sessions but hasn't taken it to the mound yet. Like most young pitchers, he'll have to improve his command. He should be able to make these adjustments with experience. Jimenez figures to start the 2004 season at Visalia but could reach Double-A by the middle of the year. Once he develops his changeup he'll have the stuff to pitch at the top of a big league rotation.
Though Jimenez posted a 6.53 ERA in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, the more important numbers were his age (18), velocity (90-95 mph) and strikeouts (65 in 62 innings). His down-breaking curveball--the best in the system and similar to Shawn Chacon's--passed the altitude test at Casper, which bodes well for his future at Coors. His overall command took a big step forward in 2002, another positive sign. At this point, Jimenez needs to get innings under his belt and become a more consistent pitcher. He's a competitor but must develop a stronger mound presence. He shows sign of a changeup, though it's still a work in progress. Now that he has a year in the United States under his belt, he should be ready for low Class A. He has the stuff to be a frontline starter in the majors.
Minor League Top Prospects
Jimenez returned to Tulsa after ranking 18th on this list a year ago. He proved he had adapted to Double-A hitters, dominating for 13 starts before moving up to Triple-A. Jimenez has quality stuff, with a fastball that touches 96-97 mph to go with a curveball and changeup. He improved not only his command but also his understanding of how to attack hitters. He also has learned how to repeat his delivery better, though scouts still worry about a hitch in his mechanics that they say could affect his durability. After shoulder problems in 2004, however, Jimenez has pitched 135 and 152 innings in the last two seasons without any problems.
Jimenez was limited to just nine starts in the Cal League last year before going down with a stress fracture in his shoulder blade. Until he got hurt, he was just as impressive as Inland Empire's Felix Hernandez and San Jose's Matt Cain. While Hernandez and Cain both reached the majors and pitched well there in 2005, Jimenez started over at Modesto Jimenez showed flashes of brilliance while suffering at times from inconsistency and control troubles. His fastball lost a little from last year but still was a plus pitch, sitting at 92-94 mph and touching 96. His hard-breaking curveball gives him a second out pitch, and his changeup has made progress. Because his delivery borders on violent, some observers believe Jimenez' future lies in the bullpen, where his two-pitch combination would be closer-worthy. Others see a Rockies system loaded with relief prospects and a pitcher who has shown the ability to maintain his velocity late into games and think he should stay in the rotation.
After missing most of 2004 with a stress fracture in his arm, Jimenez returned this year and earned a promotion to Double-A at midseason. Though he struggled against more advanced hitters, he threw consistently in the mid-90s and touched 97 mph with regularity. His curveball and changeup are dominant in flashes but remain inconsistent. At this point, Jimenez is just a thrower and doesn't show refined command of any of his pitches. His arm action also scares some scouts, prompting worries about more injuries in the future and the potential of his breaking ball. For all of those reasons, his future could lie in the bullpen.
While Jimenez' 6.53 ERA might indicate otherwise, the Rockies believe the 19-year-old Dominican's future is bright. He throws 94-96 mph and projects to add even more velocity if he can bulk up his at 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame. "This guy's a big league pitcher," Idaho Falls manager Don Werner said. "He throws bullets knee-high all day. I really liked him." Despite his heat, Jimenez uses his slurvy curveball that breaks 2-to-7 as his out pitch. He shows solid mechanics but needs to stay behind the ball more, which should add even more velocity to his fastball and improve his command.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the National League in 2010
- Rated Best Changeup in the Colorado Rockies in 2007
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the Texas League in 2006
- Rated Best Curveball in the Colorado Rockies in 2006
- Rated Best Curveball in the Colorado Rockies in 2005