Colorado Rockies fans have known about Ubaldo Jimenez for a few years now. The young, soft-spoken Dominican exudes a gentle nature and quiet presence in the clubhouse, but when he’s on the mound, he speaks louder than almost any other major league pitcher with some of the nastiest pitches in the game.
He used his whole arsenal—curveballs, fastballs, and sinkers—in his league-leading sixth win last night, giving the Rockies a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres. The Denver Post notes Clint Barmes’ second-inning double, which scored the Rockies’ first two runs, Jimenez’s seventh-inning single, which drove in another run, and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez’s two-run, eighth-inning single. But, the real focus for the Post and the national media is Jimenez—the latest “it” pitcher in baseball.
MLB.com quotes Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez as saying Jimenez reminds him of San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, the winner of the last two National League Cy Young Awards for being the league’s best pitcher. The Orange County Register’s Los Angeles Angels blog writes that on merit, Jimenez deserves to be the National League’s All Star Game starter, listing him among baseball’s best pitchers. While clear before yesterday’s dominating performance, that fact was reinforced by Jimenez being named the National League’s Pitcher of the Month for April (via the Denver Post).
For all his accolades, though, Jimenez costs the Rockies relative peanuts. The Post recalls that Jimenez signed a four-year, $10 million contract last year, which is just a fraction of what he could be making with his dominant ability.
Still, Jimenez is happy with his contract and says it’s probably the reason he’s pitching so well. “I know some people say I should have waited to sign,” Jimenez tells the Post. “But I wanted peace of mind. All of this might not have been possible without it.”