"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Colorado Rockies Organizational Depth Report

1. franklin morales, LHSP
2. ubaldo jimenez, RHSP
3. mannuel corpas, RHRP
4. brandon hynick, RHSP - september 2009
5. greg reynolds, RHP - august 2009
6. alan johnson, RHSP - august 2010 *SLEEPER*
7. josh sullivan, RHSP - september 2010
8. juan morillo, RHRP - may 2008
9. chaz roe, RHP - june 2010
10.aneury rodriguez, RHP - 2010

as much as i'd like to call the cupboards bare, this system has a lot of talent, and it has a lot skill. reyhnolds, johnson, and sullivan are GB machines, morillo, roe, jimenez, and morales all possess rocket arms. manny corpas has both. this system is in excellent shape.

Spotlight: Ubaldo Jimenez

jimenez has a tremendous fastball, which peaks in the high 90s. the velocity comes easy to him, although he does have an ugly hitch in his motion, as he brings the ball back, behind his ass until his elbow is locked at 180 degrees. from that point, jimenez restarts his windup, and it seems to me that this is a mechanical flaw which could lead to bigger problems down the line than just loss of control. jimenez has excellent arm action on his changeup, and he gets good drop on his curveball, though neither pitch is much better than solid.

jimenez's splits validate much of his scouting report. he has trouble getting out of the blocks in the first inning (.897 OPS in 1st), he wears down by about the 100th pitch (6 PA past 100 pitches, 3 H, 2B, HR, 3 BB, 1.000 OBP, 2.333 SLG), batters adjust to facing him by their third PA (.838 OPS in 3rd PA, and beyond). the good thing is that none of this is uncommon for a 23 year old pitcher. as he gets older, and fills out more, jimenez's stamina will likely increase, as will his effectiveness against familiar opponents. outside the battery, jimenez has another advantage: he is an excellent fielder. this isn't a kingmaker, so much as it is a cherry on top of a very solid package.

i say this without meaning it to sound as a prediction of attrition or a statement of fact, but a trip to the DL or an option to AAA should be expected in the season following one in which a rookie pitches 180 innings plus the postseason, as jimenez did in 2007. i get the feeling that jimenez will both struggle, and miss some time on the DL, but in my mind, that is to be expected in this situation, and it is not so much an indictment of his ability to be a dominating starter, or of his potential to be such as soon as this year, but rather it is just a statement of doctrine backed up by a gut feeling.

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