Covering Up Ubaldo’s Velocity Loss

Paul Hoynes (beat writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer) said this about the game on April 8th:

Sounds reasonable.

Here’s what the linked article on cleveland.com said:

Turns out there was a problem with the PITCHf/x program at Progressive Field on Monday that affected the velocity readings that appeared on the ballpark signboards. The readings affected every pitcher who appeared in the game, not just Jimenez.

Reportedly, the ballpark scoreboard was 2.6 mph to 2.8 mph lower than what the velocity pitchers were actually throwing at according to radar guns behind the plate.

This has happened before in other parks, so it’s a totally plausible theory. The only problem is that Hoynes is absolutely wrong.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched against Ubaldo Jimenez. Here are his Brooks Baseball PITCHf/x average velocities:

April 8th (the slow gun day): 90-91 MPH (link)
April 3rd (vs. BOS): 90-91 MPH (link)

So you’re telling me Kuroda was throwing 92-93 instead? Let’s look at some other pitchers from that game.

Matt Albers, April 8th: 92 MPH
Matt Albers, April 6th: 93.5 MPH (+1.5 MPH)

Albers seems to have been throwing a bit harder, but he was also on one day’s rest in the April 8th game.

Joba Chamberlain, April 8th: 93.8 MPH
Joba Chamberlain, April 6th: 92.5 MPH (-1.3 MPH)

Joba threw harder in the “slow gun” day. So apparently Joba is throwing something like 96-97 MPH again? Definitely something to tell the Yankees’ brass, I’m sure they’d be very happy.

Let’s recap exactly what Ubaldo’s velocity loss was:

Ubaldo Jimenez, April 8th: 11 fastballs at 90.3 MPH, 51 “changeups” at 84.8 MPH.
Ubaldo Jimenez, April 3rd: 28 fastballs at 93.1 MPH, 23 changeups at 83.7 MPH.

So you’re telling me Ubaldo threw 51 changeups? Doesn’t seem likely. His h-break/v-break for his changeup on April 8th wasn’t even close to the same pitch on April 3rd. Compare for yourself using the links above – on April 8th it was -5.34/+8.06, on April 6th it was -6.36/+5.17.

You know what a pitch with -5.34/+8.06 break is most similar to in Ubaldo’s pitch selection? A four-seam fastball.

And you want to see the first pitch of the game? What does Carlos Santana clearly signal for? And what does his grip look like?

Ubaldo 84 MPH Fastball

Someone is covering up Ubaldo’s struggles. I don’t know if it’s Hoynes or the Indians or some other source, but the idea that the PITCHf/x system was responsible for problems is total bullshit. Covering up these kinds of problems doesn’t solve anything.

Ubaldo needs help. I’ve written about his mechanics at length in the following articles:

Lying about the situation isn’t going to help anyone. It’s time to face facts.

One thought on “Covering Up Ubaldo’s Velocity Loss”

  1. Would be interested in your thoughts on Jimenez’s recent performance. 5-0 in last 5 decisions with a 4-1 K/BB ratio, seems like he’s getting more swinging strikes. Mechanics looking better?

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