The 100 MPH Man

Well, that was quite a show, eh? Seven innings of just unbelievable, dominating stuff. Even the four hits felt like flukes as the opposing hitters just played self defense and hoped to slap the ball the other way. Pitch F/x doesn’t give out many legit 100 MPH readings, but it did it on multiple occasions, and the fastball averaged over 97 MPH for the night. Contrast that with a nasty change-up around 90 MPH and a knee buckling 82 MPH curveball, and you have major league hitters looking foolish with regularity.

Yes, that May 3rd start by Ubaldo Jimenez, where he just shut down the San Diego Padres, was a thing of beauty. Wait, were you thinking of something more recent?

Hey, look, I was as impressed by Stephen Strasburg as anyone else last night. But, in the rush to hyperbole, I noticed that it’s become common to talk about how Strasburg’s stuff is just so much better than anyone we’ve ever seen. That would be true if Ubaldo wasn’t walking around the planet right now.

Here’s his velocity graph from Brooks Baseball from that game against the Padres.

There’s 120 pitches in there. He hit 99.8 on the 117th pitch of the night. He struck out 13 hitters on the evening, by the way. While he issued three walks, he was also not facing the Pirates Triple-A line-up, so we’ll call that even. All in all, it was a very similar start to the one that went down in D.C. last night.

This isn’t to diminish Strasburg’s debut in any way, shape, or form. He was remarkably good, and will continue to be, I’m sure. But I think that it’s important that we recognize that the stuff isn’t once in a lifetime. It’s not even once in 2010. Strasburg has a great arm, but so does the Rockies ace, even if he comes with just a wee bit less hype.

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newest oldest most voted
Mike G.
Guest

Strasberg’s start reminded me of the first time I saw U-Ball very early on. Great stuff but still learning how to use it. Strasberg, though, is ahead of where U-Ball was at this point in Jimenez’s development curve and will be better if his arm holds up.

DonCoburleone
Guest
DonCoburleone

Watching that game last night instantly took me back to Kerry Wood’s 20K game back in 1998. The ridiculous fastball but more than anything was that hammer curve. I remember thinking how whenever he threw a curveball the baseball looked like a wiffle ball. I’d never seen anything like it before or since, until last night…

Jake
Guest
Jake

Settle down there champ. THIS is a whiffle ball pitch. http://www.purplerow.com/2010/6/2/1497511/ubaldo-jimenez-is-better-than-you

BlackOps
Guest
BlackOps

U-Ball is an awful nickname. Isn’t Ubaldo enough?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

I totally second that sentiment. It’s the easy, uncreative route to nicknames these days, although U-Ball is singularly awful (along with I-Rod, who already had a perfectly good nickname in “Pudge”).

Cidron
Member
Cidron

could call him Baldy! U-Ball sounds to much like U-Haul.. and I am sure the fans in colorado dont want that connection.

Bill
Guest
Bill

I kind of like U-Ball, although Ubaldo is a great name.

jack
Guest
jack

how bout the big Unit 2 or dos en espanol.

Rex Manning Day
Guest
Rex Manning Day

Yeah, I feel like the rush to hyperbole is justified when you’re comparing a 21yo’s first major league start to a 3-year veteran pitcher having a Cy Young season.

I get the urge to counter all the hype, and it certainly is getting out of hand, but so far Strasburg has done nothing to prove it wrong. But the simple fact that you can compare these two pitchers and not seem crazy is pretty impressive for Strasburg.

He’s not Jesus, but let’s not get carried away making him out to be just ok, either.