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Saturday Rockpile: Who would you rather have - Ubaldo Jimenez or Johan Santana?

That isn't a hometown comparison.  No, Ubaldo has really started capturing national attention.  The article of the same name is from Fake Teams, the fantasy sports SBNation site.  Ubaldo is even getting love from the readers.  He is leading in the poll by nearly double, though given the site, votes are probably cast with knowledge of draft slot.  But just for fun, let's look at our stud's stats against the former Cy Young winner.

2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 10-9 24 24 1 0 0 0 158.1 133 63 61 8 63 140 3.47 1.24

2009 - Johan Santana 13-8 23 23 0 0 0 0 153.0 138 60 51 18 45 138 3.00 1.20

Ubaldo has allowed less hits, far less home runs and has a comparable WHIP.  He's just walked too many.  Sabermetrically, Jimenez has the edge, achieving a tRA of 3.18 vs Johan's 3.59. Our ace also has a lower FIP, 3.31 to 3.71.

Then of course, there's that thing that the Mets are paying $20million for Santana's services and have $117.5million left on his contract through 2013.  Jimenez is making just $750k and is owed $9.25million through 2012, with options through 2014.  Jimenez wins from Fangraphs value as well, giving the Rockies $19.7million in value (4th in NL) while Santana is at $12.6million.

I'll admit readily that we're not comparing apples to apples here.  Johan is a 30-year old 9-year veteran while Ubaldo is 25 and barely has two years of continual play on the MLB roster.  Still, who would have thought three years ago that the Rockies would have a pitcher in the same conversation as the Mets lefty?


Rockies News and Links

Speaking of dominant starters, Josh Johnson was good last night.  The kid set a career high in strikeouts and lost his no-hitter in the seventh inning.  It should be no surprise though.  The kid is 31-13 in his career, including a ridiculous 19-3 since coming off Tommy John surgery.  His career ERA is 3.28, he's been the 5th most valuable starter in the NL, has as many strikeouts as Ubaldo Jimenez, and has the second fastest fastball, ranked 8th in NL in value.  So it was a good pitcher that beat us last night.  It sure would be nice if we could beat a good pitcher before we have to in a playoff series.

Mike Timlin was released yesterday.  The Rockies told him there was no spot in the MLB bullpen, so he walked away to be with his family in Castle Rock.  Ryan Speier was activated from the DL to take his place and promptly blew a save last night.

Baseball America came out with their best tools issue, ranking players all the way to Class A.  Most notable is Todd Helton's ranking as MLB's 3rd best hitter, behind Pujols and Hanley Ramirez.  Huston Street earned honors as the third best reliever (not a bad trade) and Troy Tulowitzki checks in as being the 2nd best fielder with the 2nd best arm.  Also appearing are Brad Hawpe, Eric Young Jr, Jhoulys Chacin, Esmil Rogers, Mike McKenry, Craig Baker, Jordan Pacheco, and Hector Gomez.

Rox riding a hot Fowler in August heat | News
When asked why he has started hitting well again, the Rox CF said "I have no clue."  Jim Tracy knows though:  six of the eight starts in his hitting streak have come against LHP, meaning he's making hay mostly from the right side still.

Eaton gets early call to pitch - The Denver Post
After seeing him allow two runs in three innings last night, Bob Apodaca called Adam Eaton "impressive."

Troy Tulowitzki has started every game Jim Tracy has managed.  Trainers are suggesting Tulo is fatigued (this is a tired Tulo?) and needs a day off.  Tracy suggests next Friday against the Giants.  Why?  Rest him in Washington...Tulo also "impressed" while visiting the Dolphins' training camp before the game, and Troy Renck echoed yesterday's murmurs on Purple Row by saying the Rockies seem to have a ceiling offer of $2million for Tyler Matzek and that it appears no deal is imminent.

If you've read this far, you're probably very bored or very interested.  There's more links under the fold - Buster Olney sounding off on beanballs, and several sabermetric topics.


Buster Olney looks into hit batters in a couple ESPN Insider Articles.  In one, he notes the teams that hit the most batters win more.  Only ten teams have hit fewer batters than the Rockies, so Colorado bucks the trend a bit.  The other article:

The players have a code, and it's about time the league wises up to it, writes Buster Olney.  Olney claims that MLB "whiffed" on the Rick Porcello-Kevin Youkilis fued  and that the league needs to wisen up to the "Code of Proper Retaliation."


Sabermetric Thoughts

BtB's latest Poor Man's Predicted Standings.  The Rockies have made up two games on the Giants and three on the Dodgers since the last installment.

tRA has been added to Fangraphs and is currently listed under the batted ball section of a pitcher profile.  The tRA numbers will be slightly different than those at StatCorner because they use a different source for batted ball data as well as implementing park factors.  

Graham MacAree explains:  What is tRA? For a more detailed explanation, check out RockiesMagicNumber's Counting Rocks article on tRA.

Delving more into the world of pitcher sabermetrics, Colin Wyers at The Hardball Times attacks the practice of subtracting ERA and FIP, saying it distorts the difference between the good and bad pitchers, especially at extremes.  Fangraphs has a ranking of ERA-FIP numbers, of which Jason Hammel ranks 3rd in MLB.

Ever wonder how to project the statistics of a player?  Wyers uses Joe Mauer as an example to explain.

That's it for today...have a wonderful Saturday, Rowbots.