Joba Chamberlain

They’re my notes and I can talk about whatever I want to. This one should be far less controversial, unless i blame Joba’s failures on him being partially Native American.

ESPN analysts and baseball experts across the country are split as to whether the Yankees should get (eventually) 200+ innings from the great Joba Chamberlain or around 75 innings from him.

Sure, he’s valuable as a set-up man, but that’s not what he’s done his whole life. The Yankees have plenty of hot young arms in their system that can do what he’s done. JB Cox and Mark Melancon (that’s Muh-lan-son) for starters.

Joba was a starter in high school college and in the minor leagues. And he was a great one. An ace. But, out of immediate major league need, the Yankees shifted him to the bullpen late last year. The move was also partly based on the fact that he had an innings cap so as if to avoid a Mark Prior like career.

Let’s look at the closest case that I can come up with, because this is rather unprecedented. Adam Wainwright was a stud starting pitcher prospect in the Braves organization. He was traded to St. Louis (I believe in the JD Drew deal) and remained a starter. However, the Cardinals closer was hurt, so, out of need, they shifted Wainwright to the bullpen and won a World Series. However, after that need passed, Wainwright was returned to the rotation and has been St. Louis’ best pitcher since.

So there’s no doubt that Joba Chamberlain belongs in New York’s starting rotation. He’s 22 has three plus pitches and a much-improving changeup. That’s the kind of arsenal that makes a pitcher ace material.

Is he going to be a Cy Young contender right away? Of course not. There are aspects of his game that he needs to improve, being more economical with his pitches being up there.

Steve Phillips commented how he made it only through two and a third innings in his first major league start. Steve, he was on a pitch count. No, he wasn’t economical but he did what he needed to do. Also, after reviewing the PitchFX graph, I’m even more impressed with what Chamberlain did.

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A PitchFX graph shows where every pitch a pitcher threw was in relation to the strike zone. There were three pitches called strikes that should have been balls, and there were ten pitches called balls that should have been strikes. That’s a seven pitch swing. Chamberlain allowed only one earned run despite being sufficiently squeezed all night by the home plate umpire.

The Yankees tried Joba in the bullpen and it worked. Now they’re trying him in the role he’s known all his life and a role that is more valuable to the team. This has been the plan all along and you don’t alter your plans simply because Kyle Farnsworth gave up a home run. He’s gone after this year anyways.

And oh yeah. My boy Johnny Damon’s sporting a .310/.378/.498 line this year. Not too shabby for a guy that everyone wrote off as dunzo.

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Posted on June 5, 2008, in Sports and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. He hasn’t been too bad lately, has he?

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