We're on record as considering Pedro Martinez's 2000 season as perhaps the finest pitching performance of all time. Consider: In the midst of the steroid era, in the AL East, in a hitter's park, Martinez put up a 1.74 earned run average. That's good for a 285 ERA+, meaning he was almost three times as good as the league-average ERA. Pretty crazy, right?
It's early yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez might have a chance to better that mark. Jimenez gave up two runs Sunday, which means his ERA soared to a magisterial 0.93. That's good for an ERA+ of 484, which means he's almost five times better than the league average. All this in Coors Field in a division that has a number of good hitters. (Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can put a pretty quick dent in a pitcher's ERA, don't you think?) Ubaldo (we think we can refer to him by his first name, considering the last Ubaldo in the majors was Ubaldo Heredia in 1987) throws a 100 mph fastball that seems to move about three feet, which would make him a rather good pitcher if that were the only pitch he had. Unfortunately for National League hitters, he has about five more.
Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA, achieved during the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" (1968, when only six players hit better than .300), is the modern record low for a starter. Could Ubaldo challenge that mark? He certainly has a head start.
Marty (Stratford, CT)
Did analysts see Ubaldo Jimenez's mad skills as he came through the minor league system, or has this year come as a surprise to you guys?
There's been a buzz about Jimenez for years. What's propelled him to this level this year is that he's finally commanding his whole repertoire, and especially his fastball. Lots of fun Ubaldo talk in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings, by the way. Full transcript
Halladay vs. Jimenez? Halladay has a much lower xFIP.
I still believe Halladay is the best pitcher in the National League. But there's certainly an argument here. Full transcript