Fantasy Baseball Today

Is Ubaldo Jimenez reverting to the bad old days?

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

It only takes two degrees of separation to connect former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone with the early-season Fantasy nightmare performances of Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

The guy figuratively standing between them is former Atlanta pitcher Jaret Wright. Just as Mazzone extracted one out-of-nowhere renaissance year out of Wright in 2004, Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway did the same with Jimenez in 2013.

Jimenez is all arms and legs. His windup and delivery are complex and must be precisely executed for success. Following a brilliant start to his career, he was a mess before and after the 2011 trade from Colorado to Cleveland. Following a painstaking overhaul and simplifying of that windup and delivery by Callaway, Jimenez emerged as one of the finest pitchers in the game in the second half of the season.

Good timing, at least financially. When Jimenez used that brief prosperity to cash in on a lucrative free agent contract with Baltimore, it brought to mind Wright, who left Mazzone and the Braves for the bright lights of New York and promptly flopped with the Yankees. His ERA skyrockted from 3.28 to 6.08.

This is not to say leaving Callaway and the Indians will prove disastrous to Jimenez, but the numbers he has compiled in two starts are eerily similar to those he racked up as one of the statistically worst starting pitchers in the sport during most of his time in Cleveland. He is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. He has walked eight and allowed 21 batters to reach base in just 10 2/3 innings. His stat line Monday night against the Yankees was brutal - 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, four earned runs, five walks.

The Orioles apparently judged Jimenez based on a brilliant half-season in 2013. So did many Fantasy owners. It's too early to determine if they will regret their decisions, but the right-hander who will now be pitching nearly half his games against the American League East, against which he has traditionally struggled, has so far reverted to the discombobulated form that made him one of the biggest disappointments in baseball.

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