What Joba said

An excerpt from The Greatest Game
Trying to predict the AL East

That Joba Chamberlain kid, he sure can pitch.

One day after getting his official bullpen assignment for the start of the season, Joba entered the game as a reliever and blew away a few Blue Jays kids. Eleven pitches later, Joba found himself with three strike outs. It was a vintage Joba performance, if a pitcher with 24 MLB innings under his belt can be considered vintage.

In the post-game interviews, he shared some comments with Peter Abraham:

“It felt great. Just getting going, it’s like riding a bike. … I was more aggressive; just attack the zone. You let your competitive edge and your abilities take over. I think I did a better job of throwing my slider. It was back to the slider that I’m used to throwing and not trying to baby it.”

A couple of points worry me in this quote. Let’s unpack it.

First, Joba notes that he was more aggressive in attacking the zone as a reliever because he let his “competitive edge and…abilities take over.” This indicates to me that Joba the Starter spends more time — perhaps too much time? — thinking through his role as a starting pitcher.

Sports psychology tends to get a short shrift in a world in which athletes are supposed to represent some sort of ideal man, but starting pitchers have four days to prepare. The mind takes over. In one-inning stints that arise when the situation of the game dictates it, a pitcher can leave his thoughts at the door. If Joba is overanalyzing his starts, I’m concerned. He has the stuff to be a starter; he needs to overcome that tendency to suppress his competitive edge.

Next, I am no fan of hearing Joba discuss his approach to his slider right here. Supposedly, he was trying to baby his slider, and I think anyone that saw him pitch earlier in the spring would believe that. During his longer appearances, it seemed as though he was trying to be too fine with his breaking pitchers. Instead of attacking the zone, he was trying to nibble at the corners. He wanted the called strike instead of the swing-and-miss strike. With a 90 mile-per-hour slider, just attack the zone.

Again, this is an issue of mentality. Joba has to translate that reliever mentality into a starter’s mentality. He had accomplished this in the Minors, and I have to wonder if moving him into a high-octane role as a late-inning reliever pushed back some of that mental development.

Right now, I’m not complaining. Joba turns Yankee games into seven-inning affairs. But I’d hate to see this become an issue down the road.

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An excerpt from The Greatest Game
Trying to predict the AL East
  • brockdc

    These are great points that you bring up, Ben. Even though my hope is that Joba transitions to become a permanent starter by July, he may not have the mentality to be AS dominant a starter as he is a reliever. Some pitchers just prefer that “empty the tank” mentality (Ohlendorf seems to be heading in that direction).

    I hate to concede this point, since it gives the Mike and the Mad Dogs of this world even more fodder for their inane banter. I cringed when the ESPN “analysts” compared Joba to Papelbon today.

    By the way, I’m even more concerned about him not developing his secondary pitches – you know, the pitches that are supposed to help him become a top-shelf starter. Today, all I saw from him was the 4-seamer and the slider. No change, no curve.

  • AndrewYF

    Well, of course you didn’t see his secondary secondary pitches. Why would you throw anything less than your best in short bursts? But that’s why you’re concerned, and it’s legitimate.

  • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    Nice post Ben. Maybe this is just something he’ll learn to deal with as he goes along in his development. Although he said he was fine, I have a feeling that not knowing his role, facing major leaguers as a starter as opposed to a reliever for the first time (earlier in the spring), all of this caused him to think a bit too much when he was out there instead of, as he stated, “just attacking the zone.” I think with a full year under his belt as a reliever, Joba will have so much confidence in his stuff that he’ll just let it rip in 2009.

    • Guiseppe Franco

      I don’t want him in the bullpen all year because it will retard his growth if they want him to eventually become a starter.

      And we’ll be in the very same predicament next year because he’ll only be able to throw 130 IP next season if he throws 100 IP in the pen in 2008.

      Joba needs to throw 140-150 IP this season so he could be a full-time starter next season.

  • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

    Rather than try to deconstruct his mentality, why not realize that maybe he’s a reliever, a closer, and that’s what he’s always going to be. If he’s a square peg in a round starter’s hole, then why force it? Maybe the Yankees (and fans) need to stop salivating over what this kid could be as a starter and just accept that we now have our replacement for Mo Rivera all lined up and ready to roll. What’s wrong with 12 more years of not having to worry about who our closer is going to be?

    • Guiseppe Franco

      That doesn’t fly. The only reason he got the opportunity to relieve for the big club in the first place was because of his dominance as a starter by mowing down the competition.

      The bottom line is this. The Yanks’ lack of starting pitching is the primary reason this team hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004.

      It hardly matters how great the bullpen and closer is if the starters are consistently getting tattooed and are incapable of handing over a lead to the pen. Shit, they are having a hard time just keeping their team in the game.

      During their last 13 postseason games, Yankee starters have averaged just a paltry 4.2 IP per start and compiled a 6.31 ERA. And they’ve made just 3 quality starts during that span.

      This is why Joba ending up in the rotation makes the most sense long term. Build the rotation as a strength and use the young arms to fill the setup roles.

  • Bo

    I think you’re over analyzing a couple of quotes from a 22 yr old kid.

    He’s a starter. He could have a 0.38 ERA for 130 innings this yr and he’ll be starting.

    #1 starters are what the game is all about.

  • sabernar

    I was going to say what Bo said. He’s only 22. Give the kid a little time as a starter to figure it out. He has the talent and the coaching around him to help him out. He’ll do it, just don’t expect him to do it overnight.

  • Freud…

    This is clear cut case of OVER ANALYZING a situation and making way to much meaning out of his words. He’s 22 years old and still growing and learning. With his God given talent, and the strong head on his shoulders, he’ll be good and ready to go when the time comes for him to don his starters cap…

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I’m beginning to warm to the idea that he is a reliever by mentality and by physical aptitude. He could take over for Mo and have a stellar career as an HoF closer.

    I want him to be a starter but you cannot discount, at this point, what he brings to the bullpen and how rare it is (Mo rare).

  • bill73083

    This is a very interesting idea, Ben. But I am going to have to agree with the people who said that we are over analyzing a 22 year old’s words. First of all, he said nothing about being able to attack the strike zone because he is now a reliever. Maybe he’s just a 22 year old who’s starting to feel comfortable pitching after a long off season. He’s had relief appearances before this spring training in which he was trying to be too fine. IPK also had a very strong outing that wasn’t accompanied by some announcement of his role on the team. Phil Hughes started out strong and now had 2 bad outings in a row. Is that some sort of sign that he’s not psychologically capable of being a starter?

    Joba has the best stuff of any pitching prospect in baseball. With that kind of natural talent a team has to try him in a starter’s role. Because if he can give us 21-24 outs per game that’s a whole lot better than 3 outs per game. He’ll attack the strike zone as a starter, just as he did in college and in the minors. He was successful as a starter and will continue to be successful as a starter in the future.

    And for those of you who doubt his ability to maintain his performance as a starter, check out this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEeW2QNVnhE

  • steve (different one)

    he was a starter his whole career until 24 innings last year and now he throws 6 sub-par innings in ST and everyone is convinced he is more mentally suited to relieving?

    come on.

    when he was blowing through the minors last year as a starter, he obviously wasn’t “babying” his slider. he was kicking ass and taking names.

    he’ll adjust.

  • CaptainCargo

    Starting mentality and relieving mentality are by nature two entirely different beasts. The kid obviously knows the difference between the two. Nothing wrong with him stating the obvious. And FTR I don’t think very many starting pitchers could physically survive for very long having a releiver mentality.

    Where would I ultimately want him? Which is unquestionably the hot topic when discussing Joba. Weeeelllll, I’ve(as lots of us probably have) flip-flopped over this thought in my mind, fantasy league style, about a couple of dozen times in my head. Frankly its a tough decision. One not to be taken lightly just because you have a strong first opinion on the matter.

    He’d make a great closer, I don’t think there would be much argument from anyone here in regards to that statement. He’d make a great starter, and again no real doubt here.

    Maybe we could Eck the guy. Make him a starter for ten years and then make him a closer. And I’m only half kidding about that.

    But right now I ultimately lean towards where we would get the most bang for our buck, and that would be starting. If only because of the innings the team would get out of him as a starter.

    Still, I can understand the reasoning of putting him in the pen early to keep his pitch count down, this year, though. I just don’t like the guy having to play two roles in the same year. Now “that” is something that could affect his mental makeup as far as pitching goes.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Not worried one bit. Of course a starter has to think more than a reliever, he has to worry about going through a lineup three or four times as opposed to one.

  • Curramba

    I think Joba will be fine in either role. Once he knows he’s gonna be a starter for sure he’ll have the same approach of attacking the zone. Remember if the Yankees put him back in the rotation later in the season they will have to stretch him out by sending him down to the minors for about a month and I am sure they’ll have Nardi work with him on staying aggressive.

  • Todd

    Ben. I completely agree as I had the exact same thoughts when I read the quotes. Is it over analyzing? Perhaps. But for the first time I am now starting to believe that maybe this guy is a reliever. The quote says a lot to me. Time will tell…

  • Steve S

    i think he had a lot people in his ear saying dont try and be a stud in spring training, even if you are lights out, if everyone stays healthy, youll be in the bullpen. So he took an approach of trying to throw his secondary stuff. And now he is being allowed to let it all go. Its all about development, eventually there will come a day when the Yankees will tell him go out there and let it go for seven innings. The problem is exactly what you said Ben, he may be developing the personality/mental approach of a reliever, which it seems he is predisposed to be anyway. The Yankees have to make sure he doesnt get too comfortable in this role. Instead of the eighth inning guy make him the three inning guy every three or four games. Especially when you have hughes, kennedy and mussina pitching. Almost make it a rule that he cant be used on days when Pettitte is pitching.

  • http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com/ Bruno

    I agree that this smells like Papelbon, and I too am VERY concerned. This is exactly why I don’t want him locked in as Mr. 8th. Yanks should let Olhendorf get comfortable in that role, and use Joba as the long-man/spot-starter for when Mooe and the other kids need to skip a start.

    http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

      Wasn’t Papelbon a closer at Miss. State? He only has two pitches, really. Splitter and a fastball. Joba’s got 3 great pitches that he can work. I don’t really see the comparison between the two as much as other people do.

  • marc

    Wow… people keep saying that we have lost in the post season because of our starters and that may be somewhat true.. but the difference ebtween the yankees winning 4 ws titles in 5 years and the braves not during a similar stretch was no one othr than Mariano Rivera and if you have someone who can for the next 10 years duplicate his success then i think you gotta run with it because its a rare commodity.

  • marc

    not to mention it was that same rivera who cost the team a fifth ring and a world series trip in 04… but hes not at all important… and during 96 and 98 we didnt have an “ace” anyway.. but we had some pitchers who could grind out wins and thats ultimately whats most important…. think duque and cone, key and pettitte… find me an ace in that bunch… oh and boomer… the difference between the yankees and other great 90’s teams was always rivera and he once was thought impossible to replace…. but maybe joba can. the indians lost in 97 because of their closer also.. as did the giants in 02… thats important to note isnt it?

  • marc

    **** the fith ring being obviously 01 in arizona…

  • marc

    basically stop equating ACE to WS RIng… because last time i checked… santana didnt get the twins one, peavy hasnt gotten the padres one, halladay cant even pitch his team to the PS, sabathia couldnt help the tribe… and maddux, smoltz and glavine = one ring combined… Randy Johnson is another one with only 1 ring… and thats only because Mo couldnt hold down a save in 01… my point being that Mo for a long time was the difference just like hoffman and Lidge have cost their respective teams..

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Mo has cost the Yankees one less ring than he’s won. Blew the save in 1997; blew the save in 2001; blew the ALCS in 2004.

      I’m just sayin’. You give a closer enough tries in the playoffs, and he won’t win everything. There’s little doubt that the Yankees would be better off with Joba starting. Your argument seems more emotional than anything else.

      • marc

        Seriously Ben? Mo cost us a ring in 1997? because he blew an eighth inning save in game 4? mendoza gave up the go ahead run and pettitte sucked in game 5 if i remember correctly… actually come to think of it… in 01 game 6 pettitte sucked it up again… and in 04.. well we lost 4 straight games… gordon blowing game 5 where we had a 1 run lead in 8th… but to sday Mo cost us a ring in 97 is ludicrous

    • steve (different one)

      i’m not sure your argument makes a whole lot of sense. you are kindof disproving your own point.

      if even the greatest closer in history can fail in a close game sometimes, aren’t you better off trying to go into the 9th inning with the biggest lead you can? doesn’t that lead to the conclusion that your starter is much more important to the outcome of the game?

      does anyone really think the difference in the 1998 or 1999 World Series was Rivera? the Yankees would have won those series with an average closer.

      • Whitey14

        Joe Borowski could have closed in the World Series for the 98 and 99 yanks.

  • Curramba

    I doubt Joba will be in the pen past this year. There are too many guys coming up that will be in the pen. One that I see as MO’s successor is Mark Melancon, who also have great stuff. Plus we have Sanchez.

  • marc

    you can’t count on melancon or sanchez… nither have pitched at even higher minor league levels.. none have proven to be able to stay healthy and Joba has done it. he dominated ina way that comes around once every 4 or 5 years… how do you pass that up? before we even knew of JOba we all thought Phil would be what everyone thinks Joba could be now.. does this eman we dont think Mr. Hughes has Ace written all over him anymore…?

  • marc

    maybe they would have… but part of the reason the braves and padres didnt was because of their late inning relievers.. rocker and hoffman… they sucked it up when Mo did not… just liek benitez did in 00… i feel liek as fans we are all hoping Joba can be what Beckett has become and thats penis envy… we didnt win because we had a dominating ace.. so why is it so neccesary now? stanton, nelson, mendoza and rivera were equally responsible for our success as any of our starters… what about mark wohlers in 96? leyritz 3 run bomb changed that series… not having rivera in 95 when mcdowel blew up against the mariners in game 5…

  • marc

    how often has an “ace” changed the outcome of a world series in the past 15 years…? maybe an ace like performance from someone other than an ace… but outside of beckett… since when has a hard throwing ace racking up ks changed a series?

    • Guiseppe Franco

      It’s not about having an “ace.” It’s about building depth in the rotation that few teams can match. The Yanks exploited that mismatch to perfection back then by stacking the rotation with quality arms throughout.

      Hence, the late 90s dynasty.

    • steve (different one)

      this is a flawed argument.

      you are saying that Mo was the difference in the 2001 World Series. that it all came down to the closer.

      except you are ignoring that Schilling and Johnson started 5 of the 7 games and basically dominated all of them.

      the only reason the series was tied 3 games to 3 was because Schilling and Johnson dominated games 1, 2, and 6.

      you are completely ignoring everything that happened before the 9th inning of game 7.

      • marc

        schilling and johnson may have dominated but schillings 2nd start is a moot point because BK Kim gave up the gopher ball… so the series essentially came down to the 9th again… its the same reason RJ pitched in relief because of how precious those outs were in game 7…

        • steve (different one)

          again, you are ignoring everything that happened up to that point.

          if the Yankees hadn’t had their own excellent start from Mussina, the HR in the 9th is a moot point.

          the game didn’t “come down” to the 9th, the game is a function of everything that has happened up to that point.

          Mike Mussina was an ace level pitcher in 2001. he gave an ace level performance in game 5: 8 innings, 2 runs.

          that performance had just as big of an impact on the game as Kim’s pitch to Brosius. and your argument completely ignores that.

          we don’t REMEMBER Moose’s impact as well as we remember Kim’s impact, but it was just as important. if the score is 4-0 when Brosius comes to the plate, the HR is meaningless.

          everything is interconnected. that’s my point.

          • marc

            im not ignoring your point… my point is that the game was widdled down to the last inning… its equally negligent and ignorant to believe that because of joba’s abilities that he would become that kind of a starter and maintain his health… there have been plenty of guys who have had that great ability and failed… he has a role that he strives in.. why remove him from it.

            • steve (different one)

              why is everyone forgetting that up until July of last year, Joba WAS a starter?

              he was thriving as a starter all of last year until he went into the bullpen.

              why is everyone so afraid of seeing what he can do as a starter?

              • Whitey14

                I think they have a very creative plan and time will tell which way it will work out best. He’ll either be an excellent starter when his time comes, or he’ll eventually replace Rivera as Rivera did Wetteland and anchor the pen for years to come. He’s an original talent and he’ll piss us Sox fans off for years no matter his role.

  • CB

    All of the papers today are filled with this same idea – that Joba returned “home” yesterday to the pen.

    While I don’t think you can read too much into this at this point you can see this becoming a problem as the first half progresses.

    Joba will be utterly dominant on a one inning basis out of the pen and this meme will just keep gathering momentum – Joba is a reliever, he’s a different pitcher out of the pen, he’s a natural reliever, etc, etc.

    Again, people will keep saying this despite the fact that he’s been utterly dominant as a starter and projects to be a #1 front line starter.

    People talked about his age before – will a 22 year old start believing, in some way, all of these headlines about him belonging in the pen? Will his teammates?

    I know there isn’t a good way to use him this year with the innings cap without him going to the pen but I think is playing with fire here, especially with the New York media.

    He’ll have one bad start when he transition back to the rotation and that’ll be it – the cries of the yankeess making an awful mistake will be deafening.

    And Joba will hear them.

  • Rich

    It’s the reason that Joba should not be used exclusively in the 8th inning role, but instead should pitch multiple innings, similar to, as has been pointed, out, the way the Twins used Santana in ’03.

    • ceciguante

      i’m not a fan of this “joba as long reliever” compromise. long reliever innings frequently seem to be lopsided games. i.e., somebody gets knocked out after 4, and you try to hang on while your team takes a shot at coming back. using joba in this role might find him more innings and set him up for a transition to starter more easily, but i think it would waste his innings in games that are largely decided when he comes in. besides, long reliever opportunities are inconsistent — they don’t show up too often.

      • steve (different one)

        there ARE ways to do this more intelligently though.

        7th inning of a close game? let Joba pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th.

        i know that would go against the code of having to use Mo every time there is a lead in the 9th inning, but if you pitch Joba for 3 innings, you have to let him rest for the next 2 games. maybe you use Mo for 2 innings if needed on those days.

        just because Torre wouldn’t have been capable enough to make this work doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

        • ceciguante

          if you let joba throw 7, 8, 9 when you have rivera sitting there, then look to lean on rivera for 2 innings at a time over the next two games, now you’re giving them both a more erratic workload. fair point that long relief doesn’t just have to be 5th inning mop-up duty. but if the idea is to get joba more innings/longer appearances than just a 7th-8th inning role, then he’ll have to take those innings when they come. 3-4 innings appearances most often come in lopsided games. i think using joba for 7 & 8 is the best way to do it for now, and then maybe get into longer appearances as he prepares to stretch out (which the team has indicated will require a stint in the minors).

          with his stuff and past as a starter, i don’t think making the transition should be a shock to him. he’s already dominated MLB hitters — i don’t buy that he’ll forget how to get outs the second or third time through the lineup.

          • steve (different one)

            there is nothing unreasonable about what you said, but isn’t Mariano’s workload ALREADY “erratic”?

            Mariano came into games more than 30 times last year with a 3 run lead or greater. 21 times with a 4 run lead or greater.

            maybe if they use him less for 1 inning and a 4 run lead and more for 2 innings with a 2 run lead, they could make it work with Joba. also, they’d probably win more games.

            instead of having a closer and an “8th inning guy”, you have 2 high leverage relievers that you use to close out all of your close games 2 innings at a time.

            that would reduce the number of innings you give to somone like Farnsworth in a close game.

            just a thought.

  • Yankee1010

    It amazes me that people continually champion Joba as a reliever when the Yanks have been killed by their starting pitching in the last few playoff series. People act like the Yanks are running Koufax, Gibson and Walter Johnson out there. “We don’t need an ace”, they shout. Yeah, instead, let’s forget about innings 1-7.

    13 starts, 3 quality starts. Yeah, the Yanks need a dominant 8th inning guy. Let’s forget about innings 1-7. Who cares about those? What? They matter? Oh. That sucks.

    Joba has two 70-80 pitches (fastball and slider), conservatively a 60ish pitch (curveball) and a developing, 50ish pitch, a changeup. You want to waste that on approximately 80 innings in the bullpen? Don’t you think that might be better served over 200 innings (I know not this year, but in the near future)?

    Yes, Rivera’s a great closer, but he has basically lived off of the cutter. He’s also a smaller guy who arguably would not have been able to withstand the rigors of starting pitching. Yes, Joba has had some injury problems (no serious arm problems), but his build suggests that he could be a horse in the rotation.

    Some people point to Papelbon. Papelbon basically has a splitter and a fastball. He doesn’t have the deep arsenal of Chamberlain. Plus, Papelbon has to be babied because of his subluxed shoulder.

    Keeping Chamberlain in the bullpen over the long-term is organizational negligence.

    • ceciguante

      what is a subluxed shoulder? sounds terrible.

      your point is well taken about the need for SP excellence, but to be fair, the yanks have suffered from both a lack of SP and RP in recent years. we can all point to significant failures from both SPs and RPs in the postseason over the past 7 seasons. cashman’s pitching acquisitions have simply been poor.

      • dan

        His shoulder came out of its socket because of a dangerously weakened labrum. It’s a fancy word for partially dislocated.

        • Whitey14

          …and with the weakened rotation, this subluxation continues to scare the hell out of us Sox fans….

  • Curramba

    marc,
    actually, rivera was on the team that year but Buck used McDowell instead. We could have said the same thing about Joba last year and look what he showed us with his stuff. There were questions about Joba’s, Melancon’s and Sanchez’s health when they were drafted/traded for. Unfortunately, the last two had TJ surgery which has a great success rate and I still think they will be a great addition to the pen. I also think that Melancon will be Mo’s successor because he does have great stuff.

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  • marc

    the success rate for tommy john is different from a pitcher coming back to his earlier ability level… two… neither of them have proven anything and “great stuff” doesnt lend itself to the big leagues as immediate success… third… to think anyone will come in and do what Joba did last year is asinine… it doesnt happen very often at all. and I know that rivera was on the 95 alds roster but the point was that mcdowell pitched and couldnt do what mo has done…

  • CB

    The argument that Joba should stay in the pen because not one else could “do what he does” completely misses the point of Joba’s talent.

    To think anyone in the current yankee starting rotation can do what Joba could as a starter is also incorrect.

    Joba has by far the best stuff in the entire organization. Doesnt’ matter what role you put him in (other than closer) – he will just be better than anyone else. His fastball and slider are basically 80 pitches and many scouts put his curve ball as a 70.

    How many pitchers in the yankee starting staff even have one pitch above a 70? Wang’s two seamer, hughes curve, and perhaps pettite’s cutter?

    The argument that Joba has to stay in the pen because no other pitcher could come in and do what he did is a logical fallacy. That happens with inductive reasoning very frequently.

    No pitcher on the yankees can do what Joba does because Joba simply has better stuff than anyone in the organizaton. For that matter, there aren’t 5 starters in all of baseball who have better stuff than joba.

    The yankees have a deep pipeline of arms that will fill in the pen – Melancon, Sanchez, Ohlendorf, Cox, McCutcheon, Roberston, etc. For that matter Brackman may wind up in the pen or perhaps Betances.

    The yankees have guys who are talented but are appropriate for the pen because they only throw 2 pitches or don’t have the staminia to throw 7-8 innings.

    They only have 1 guy who has three pitches above 70 and a fourth pitch that is already at least major league average.

    That guy must be in the starting rotation as soon as possible.

    In a 5 game playoff series I’ll take my chance every time with Joba throwing 2 of those 5 games. In that 5 games series I’d much, much rather have 14 innings of joba than 2-3.

    • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G.

      Excuse me sir, Christian Garcia has the best stuff in the organization. Maybe in a couple years that will become Dellin Bentances but as of now it’s Garcia. And where does your idea of Brackman/Bentances possibly becoming relievers? We should be against that idea just as much or even moreso than we are against the idea of Joba staying as a reliever.

      As to the rest of your post, I agree with you.

      • CB

        You think Christian Garcia has better stuff than Joba? Garcia has a great arm but can’t stay healthy – at all and is coming back from TJ surgery. Not much of a prospect if you can never stay on the field.

        You’re saying a guy who’s never pitched above A ball and is now coming off a major arm injury has better stuff than Joba? Or has better stuff than Phil Hughes?

        I said Joba had the best stuff in the entire organization – orgnaization means the big league club all the way down to the lowest level in the minor leagues. And yes Joba has the best pure stuff of any pitcher the yankees have either in the majors or the minors.

  • Chris

    I think this explains to some extent why he’s struggled this spring. Does it mean he can’t refocus and become an ace starter? No. It just means that there is work for him to do to become a dominant starter. All young pitchers struggle at times, and maybe it’s a benefit that it’s so easy to identify the cause of his problems this spring.

    As far as looking at his future, this type of comment suggests that he may not make an easy transition to the rotation in mid-season, but it doesn’t mean that he won’t be a great starter next year or for the rest of his career.

  • Curramba

    I didn’t say Melancon would have the same success as Joba but he does have great stuff and profiles better as the future closer than Joba with 4 plus pitches. Joba would be better as a starter because of both the quality and quantity of pitches he has. I guess from what you’re saying that you wouldn’t give any one a chance to prove that their great stuff can translate to the Majors. Well I am glad Cash is the manager and not you because you probably wouldn’t have given Joba a chance to show that his great stuff would help the team a ton.

  • E-ROC

    This is a scary article. Not one that I’m willing to think about. Hopefully, he’ll mature mentally and all will be forgotten.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    anyone interested in going back and looking at all the Yanks playoff games over the last (let’s say…) 4 years, and how many of them the Yanks had a lead going into the 7th or later? and how many were won?

    1. i DO think we’re overanalyzing Joba’s statements.
    2. he was a starter his entire career spanning hundreds of innings. he relieved for 27 last year and all of a sudden he can’t start?

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      if it’s unclear, my point is that the biggest problem has been getting to the late innings with a lead, not necessarily holding that lead.

      BA ranked Joba as having the best fastball, curve AND slider in the whole Yankee minor leagues. too good to waste on a reliever.

      this is what i was afraid of: Joba will dominate again as a RP -> the fans & media will be unable to fathom him as anything else. here’s hoping Girardi has a pair to move him back.

  • dan

    It comes down to this: If you had a 22 year old Pedro, or a 22 year old Beckett or Schilling or Clemens… would you put ANY of them in your bullpen? If someone thinks that a young Beckett/Schill/Roger/Pedro belongs in the bullpen then they shouldn’t be allowed to watch baseball.

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  • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

    A lot of great points here on both sides. I’m squarely in the reliever camp right now, but would love it if Joba one day became an ace. There’s no question a top starter who can get 16-20 wins a year is more valuable than just about anything else on any baseball team. Maybe I was too seduced by last season’s performance, but right now, with this shaky bullpen we have, I think Joba in the pen is the right move. He’s proven he can thrive there. Does anyone else trust this cast of characters we have out there, waiting in relief? I don’t. Ultimately, what’s best for the team is what matters, not what Joba might do in a year’s or three year’s time. Right now, I’m more comfortable with a proven, lights out, late-inning tandem of Joba-Mo. Or how about Mo-Joba? I’ll mo’ Joba anytime….

  • pete

    he has the stuff and the control to be a dominant #1, and if his mentality is off, then it may take a year of being simply good before he fully makes the adjustment. Still, i’d rather he “empty the tank” for 4 or 5 innings than try to be too smart for 7. I still like the hughes 5, joba 4 every fifth day idea. Then you hit the innings limits for each of them perfectly with no minor league stretch out time, and you have a day off for the bullpen every 5 days.

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