Ubaldo Jimenez: A quick mechanics review

In my earlier analysis of Ubaldo Jimenez’s mechanics, I noted that his initial separation from the glove was extremely early, terminating momentum and reducing athleticism out of the glove with his pitching arm. However, people said that his velocity was up in his start on Sunday against the Texas Ranges and Yu Darvish, and a few readers asked me to take a look into his mechanics. I quickly cut the video and put it up against the 2010 and older 2012 clips to take a look:

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The newest clip is on the left, the Rockies (2010) clip is in the middle, and the earlier 2012 clip is on the right. Here’s the important part slowed down:

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(You can use a free browser plug-in like GIF Scrubber for Chrome to step through these images frame-by-frame or slow it down even further.)

If you can’t tell, there’s a pretty big difference in his pitching arm action between Sunday’s game and the one prior to that, and the results showed it on that pitch, registering at 95 mph on the stadium gun.

Ryan from Let’s Go Tribe said that Ubaldo’s average four-seam fastball velocity was 94.7 mph, but the Brooks Baseball PITCHf/x tool disagrees, saying Ubaldo came in at 92.37 mph, not much different than his start on May 1, where he was averaging 92.07 mph with the same pitch. (Texas Leaguers agrees with these velocity readings for Ubaldo’s May 1 and his May 6 starts.)

Since his average fastball velocity was similar but the arm actions were so different on the 91 and 95 mph fastballs, it’s clear that the real problem is consistency in his delivery. Ubaldo’s main problem is still the early hand break (with secondary thought to how he uses the front shoulder and glove arm), and while it’s encouraging to see fastballs touch 95 mph, his arm action isn’t yet as efficient or athletic as it was when he was in Colorado. The closer he gets to optimizing his arm action and remaining consistent with it, the better results you’ll see with not only his fastball velocity, but his overall command and control.

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