Ubaldo Jimenez is the best pitcher in Colorado Rockies history.

This isn’t a particularly controversial claim. Those who prefer longevity might make a case for Aaron Cook or Jorge de la Rosa while both German Marquez and Kyle Freeland are on the precipice of joining this conversation.

But none of them came close to matching how dominant Jimenez was at his peak.

He had only made 17 starts at the major league level before toeing the rubber on a bitterly cold October night at Coors Field for a postseason start against the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies. 

He was twirling a gem and then… the lights went out. It was symbolic for how he would pitch in that game, sending the Rockies deep into the postseason for the first time in their history, and how he would pitch throughout his time in Denver. Lights out.

The blackout game in 2007 and a 2010 no-hitter thrown in Atlanta highlight a career that is far too often overlooked as a flash in the pan, especially when you consider the difficulty of pitching half your games at 20th and Blake.

Jimenez is the franchise leader in most rate stats, including the big important ones of ERA and ERA+. His lead in that metric, the best measure we have for comparing pitchers across different leagues and ballparks, is monstrous. At 128, he is way ahead of Kyle Freeland’s 115 meaning that in his career he was roughly 13 percent better at preventing runs than the second-best starter in franchise history.

Of course, he is most famous for a 2010 campaign that was absolutely bananas, especially in the first half. After 11 starts, he was 9-1 with a 0.73 ERA. He started the All-Star game for the National League, the only Rockie to receive that honor, and came in third in Cy Young voting, the highest any Colorado player has ever placed for that award.

It will always be a bit sad and unfortunate that his tenure in Denver ended on a sour note with a trade that didn’t work out for either team and that his career sputtered out after he left. 

He may not have cemented himself in MLB lore as one of the greats of his generation but if you take into account the degree of difficulty and the historical context, what Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished was truly impressive.