2017 Orioles preview: Ubaldo Jimenez

March 22, 2017 | Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy

SP Ubaldo Jimenez

Opening Day age: 33

Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season

2016 stats: 8-12, 5.44 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 16 HR, 142 1/3 innings

Why to be impressed: Rebounding from a miserable first half that saw him temporarily lose his spot in the rotation, Jimenez rebounded dramatically down the stretch with a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts covering 47 2/3 innings to help Baltimore secure a wild card. The right-hander was also able to harness his two-seam fastball, finishing with a 49.0 percent ground-ball rate to lead all Baltimore starters.

Why to be concerned: A 7.06 ERA through late July led to Jimenez being sent to the bullpen for the second time in three seasons, which sums up how disappointing the return has been on a four-year, $50 million deal. The right-hander’s average fastball velocity was the lowest of his career and his strikeout rate was his worst since 2012, concerning signs for a pitcher who already struggles with command.

2017 outlook: Expecting a consistent season from Jimenez is begging for disappointment, but you hope he can put together a nice stretch or two of quality starts while minimizing the lows as he did in 2015. If he can command his two-seamer, Jimenez has a chance to be a league-average starter, but diminishing velocity and inconsistent command make for a lower ceiling than he enjoyed earlier in his career.

2017 not-so-scientific projections: 11-11, 4.79 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 18 HR, 162 innings