On Joba and his innings totals

CWS kicks off today
Game 69: hehe

With last night’s six-inning effort from Joba, we can, in essence, start the innings pitched clock. He’s at full strength as a starter now, and each outing he makes will deduct from the overall goal of 150-160 innings he’s slated to pitch this season. Based on my math, Joba is primed to make about 19-20 starts through the end of the year as long as the Yanks don’t skip him. (They probably will get creative when Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy return.) If he averages six innings a start, he’ll land at that 155-inning mark on the final day of the season which would put him out of commission prior to the playoffs. We’ll have to cross that October bridge as we get closer, but for now, the focus is on ensuring that Joba is on pace to reach his innings limit before the postseason. We just can’t assume a playoff berth this year.

CWS kicks off today
Game 69: hehe
  • r.w.g.

    If he’s like 140-160 at the end of the year and the Yanks are in playoff contention, or have even made the playoffs.. depending on how well other guys are pitching, you could just move Joba right back to the pen. If he throws another 15-20 it would not be the end of the world.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Agreed, as long as Wang and Pettitte are doing their thing.

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

    That whole pitch count and innings limit theory is counterproductive and just a bunch of bunk.

    Joba was a success in the pen and they screwed with it. Now he seems to be on his way to be a success as a starter and they are thinking of ways to screw with that too.

    I refer to my blog post of Jan 14, 2008.


    There are some numbers on that post that are amazing.

    Maybe this is why there was such a gap of good prospect starting pitching between Pettitte and Hughes, Kennedy & Joba.

    If I were a pitching prospect, I’m not sure Yankeeland is where I’d want to be.

    Wangs last game made no sense. He let the lead-off man on base innings 1 through 7. Then in the 8th he gets the lead-off man out and he is pulled after 83 pitches.


    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      The problem is that for every Seaver or Clemens or Smoltz that threw 200+ innings at an early age and went on to a long and HOF career, there’s tons and tons of guys that have gone on to blow out their arms.

    • steve (different one)

      uhh, Gooden and Willis are HORRIBLE examples to prove your argument.

      just because you have a blog doesn’t make you an expert.

      i’ll trust Nardi Contreras.

      you don’t know any more than anyone else here.


      • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

        I’m not saying I’m an expert.

        It’s an opinion.

        Explain why Gooden and Willis are not good examples, please.

        • keith

          uh, because they both flamed out very early in their careers?

          • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

            Goodens problem was his ‘nose’, Willis is trying to get his act together after a knee injury.

            • Geno

              They also both threw a crazy # of innings at a young age, only to burn out soon thereafter. Yeah, Gooden did coke, but it was the innings totals at a young age that really did him in. Willis seems to be in that same boat.

              • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

                When were these guys DL’d due to arm trouble?

                Gooden had a 16 year career and in 1996 still threw 170.

                Also, Gooden pitched 2800 innings in 16 seasons for an avg of…175.

                • Geno

                  Hmm… well, Gooden was held to just 17 starts in 1989 due to shoulder troubles. As a matter of fact, he only topped 200 innings three times after ’89. He’d topped the 200 inning mark four times in his first five years in the league, prior to the shoulder troubles.

                  In ’05, Willis pitched a still career-high 236 innings, followed by 223 the following year. Willis was never the same pitcher after ’05.

                  Why take chances with your ace? Especially when history says it’s a bad idea? To just throw caution to the wind is short sighted at best, treasonous at worst.

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

    I respect that, and I’m not talking about the Oakland Billy Ball days of the 80’s.

    I’m just saying that these kids should be able to go 175-200 innings in their early 20’s.

    If you blow out, you blow out, but you can’t take a successful pitcher out of the rotation in September simply because of an innings limit. I’ll take the chance of winning a championship over risking blowing out an arm.

    This 140 thing is out of the Showalter book and you see all of the rings he has, right?

    But I still want to know….How old must you be to pitch 200 innings in Yankeeland?

  • tonyb

    For those that are worried about whether Joba’s role is being screwed with, please don’t. I think the kid is just >. His stuff and makeup are so good that he will succeed in any role he is thrust into and maintaining his health is a priority. You think he is going to forget how to throw 98mph fastballs and sliders by people for one inning in the playoffs (midges notwithstanding)?

  • tonyb

    Mike, I believe the current theory does not imply that you cannot throw 200 innings in your early 20’s. It is that they don’t want you throwing > 30 innings over your last year’s total innings. Joba will be able to throw around 190 innings next year assuming he makes it to 160 this year. The year after that, 220+. I totally agree with the rest of your stance regarding pulling pitchers at 100 pitches – it’s a load of BS to do that in order to get to a borderline ML pitcher in the bullpen.

    While the HOF pitchers you mention in your blog threw a crapload of innings at a young age, I would like to see how many innings they threw in the 3 years prior (minors and college included). Perhaps their arms were more robust from a heavier workload in their development.

    • steve (different one)

      citing a HOFer as an example is just bad logic.

      HOFers are HOFers b/c they are freaks of nature and insanely talented.

      it’s called selection bias.

    • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

      Between age 23 and 29 Pettitte threw 190+ innings each year.

      Successful pitcher, not a HOFer, won championships and was screwed out of a Cy.

      • Jon

        He also built up his arm for over 4 years before that streak.

        • http://nyyu.blogspot.com/ Mike @ NYYU

          He never pitched less than 165 in ANY of his minor league seasons.

          in 1994 with Columbus he pitched 170, 1995 with the Yankees 175 + 12 with Columbus, at age 22/23.

          Current Yank philosophy would never allow a 22 year old to pitch 187 innings.

  • http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com Bruno

    The pitch count is much more impportant than the innings. Look at JOBA’s first start as an example: he only added 2 1/3 to his total, but threw 4 innings worth of pitches.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Okay Joba pitched good but lets not get carried away.2 strikeouts isn’t great considering he is a front line starter.And He’s walks/K ratio isn’t good.

    I admit he getting better but lets not go crazy.WE still need a starter this year and next year.Hughes isn’t even gonna go 100 innings this year and Kennedy might end up in AAA and should be traded.

    I still haven’t seen Joba pitch better as a starter then a reliever.They should trade Kennedy for a reliever before MO blows he’s arm off at 38 if he’s pitching 4 days in a row.And MUssina by August isn’t going pass the 6th inning.

    Joba is a future starter but I still need to see if he gonna be the Strikeout Pedro class ACE.

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

      1. he didn’t get many Ks last night bc the Stros were swinging early and often. they didn’t want to get to 2 strikes against him.
      2. you’re ready to dump kennedy after 2 months? this is why the Yanks cant rebuild. did you happen to see what he did last year?

  • http://sport.newsvine.com Adam

    Well remember that the whole 30 extra inning thing is only a guideline, and technically it’s only supposed to count towards major league innings, because minor league innings are less intense and I guess take less out of a pitcher. So when Joba reaches that 160 inning mark, that may already be too late, since most of his innings last year were minor league innings. Or it may not. Each pitcher is different.

    I’m also wondering if it makes a difference in going over the extra 30 innings from last year if the extra are all in the 6th month span that is the regular season, or if some of them occurring in the 7th month that is the postseason helps. Is say 180 innings in 6th months the same on an arm as 180 innings in 7 months?

    Either way, I think the best bet would be to get creative when Hughes is healthy or IPK ever shows major league command. Just keep a close eye on Joba, and if in the end of August his velocity is down, or his mechanics are off, then rest him an extra start or two. Hell, the Red Sox shut down Clay Buchholz for the entire post season and they were still able to win the World Series, and back in ’03 Florida put Dontrell Willis in the pen for their playoff run.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Hughes is gonna be hard.Because he might not fit the the relieving type.He doesn’t throw hard like Joba who not only has as good of pitches as Hughes but throws those 98-100mph fast ball.

    I think they should keep Hughes the rest of this year in AAA.Because he might not show until August.But he needs to go to winter to increase he’s innings total.

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

      yeah, Hughes only throws 92-93 (as a starter), which is what Mo (a reliever) throws. it aint just velocity.

      and if Hughes does go just one, i’m sure he could crank it up to 95+.

  • Mike P

    All this is much more inexact than people realise/imply. What really is the difference between 165 and 171 innings in a year? Hardly anything and amongst those innings some are much harder than others.
    I can see the point of innings limits and on the whole agree with them. But if Joba has reached his supposed limit and that stops him throwing 15 innings in October when he has lots of rest between starts, that’s just nuts. What difference would it quantifiably make?