With the All-Star rosters unveiled, Charlie Manuel showed that you can be a championship-winning manager and have no more intelligence than your average fan when it comes to putting together an All-Star team. Picking Jason Marquis over Ubaldo Jimenez vividly illustrates that point that Manuel is still living in the dark ages.
Ubaldo Jimenez is what the All-Star game should be about — showcasing the brightest and the best talent in the major leagues. For starters, he throws consistently harder than any major league starting pitcher, averaging 95.6 MPH on his fastball. Obviously, putting together an All-Star pitching staff should not based upon finding the pitchers who throw the hardest, but it doesn’t hurt that Jimenez is also really, really good. His fielding-independent ERA (FIP) is 3.33, 7th among NL starting pitchers, and his wins above replacement total is 2.9, good for 5th best. To to sum up: Jimenez is young, he has electric stuff and is pretty stinkin’ good at pitching.
Jason Marquis on the other hand is leading the NL in the preeminent Wins category, with 10 to his credit. What Manuel seems to have forgotten is that Jason Marquis is the definition of a back-end starting pitcher (with a career FIP of 4.88). He forgot that Marquis has an average repertoire and is striking out just 4.2 batters per nine innings. He overlooked the fact Marquis is getting lots of run support, at 7 per game. Marquis does have a near-identical ERA as Jimenez (3.87), but he is exactly the type of pitcher you expect burn up as he hurtles quickly back to earth. His rest-of-season ZiPS projection calls for a 4.73 FIP. All Manuel saw was 10 Wins.
I don’t expect an old school manager to care about rest of season ZiPS, FIP or WAR, but I would think they would know the difference between an ace and a back-end starter having a fluky first-half of a season. And who wouldn’t want Ubaldo Jimenez coming out of their bullpen, pumping in 100 MPH fastballs? Few fans get the privilege of seeing Jimenez pitch with him tucked away in Colorado, and unfortunately they’re not going to get the chance to see him shine on one of baseball’s biggest stages.
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