Predicting Joba’s innings


Tim Dierkes of RotoAuthority and MLBTR fame surveyed eleven of the most popular baseball writers around (including RAB’s own Joe P.) about how many innings they expect Joba Chamberlain to pitch in 2009. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus shot for the moon and said 175, while Jon Heyman brought up the rear at 109. Joe said 142 IP, the same as Jerry Crasnick and three fewer than Peter Gammons, and just about nailed the average total of 143 IP. Joba’s career high is the 118.2 IP he threw for Nebraska back in 2005 (100.1 IP last year), and I’m going to go a little high and say he’ll throw 160 innings this year. If the Yanks get 140 innings (roughly 22 starts) out of Joba this year, they’ll be in damn fine shape. What do you guys think?

Categories : Asides


  1. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    How is he going to get 160 innings pitching out of the bullpen?

    Did you mean 60 instead of 160?

    • Mike says:

      Hughes…yes that Phillip Hughes number one overall rated prospect in baseball two years ago…

      Hughes as the 5 and Joba as the 8th inning man is much more productive for both player’s development then just putting Joba in the rotation and Hughes in the minors…

      • Matt says:

        Yes it makes total sense for a guy who’s a future ace to be pitching in a role in which he can get about 80 innings. Great idea.

        • Mike says:

          And what about our other future ace?

          • Bill says:

            Who Brackman, Betances? Its a few years before we need to worry about them.

            I still like Hughes a lot, but the reality is his peak is likely more of a #2 starter. Nothing to scoff at, but he certainly isn’t in the same class as Joba anymore despite how highly ranked he was just a few years ago. Joba’s stuff is among the best in baseball whereas Hughes is stuff right now is just above ML average.

            Plus as the #6 guy going into this year he won’t be stuck in Scranton for long. Joba is on an innings limit, Burnett is injury prone, CC has pitched 500+ innings the past 2 years combined (including playoffs), Wang is coming off an injury, and Pettitte pitched most of the 2nd half of last year hurt. There will be plenty of starts to be had in the big leagues beyond our top 5 guys.

            • Mike says:

              Maybe you are right. I just reember Hughes as the kid who was about to no hit texas in one of his first games, then got hurt and never really seemed the same. Ijust look at him as a guy who will get healthy and actually be more dominate then Joba (just my belief). I know Joba is untouchable almost of the time, I do prefer Hughes though and have no real evidence to back it up. Kind of why I would choose Cone, Pettite, Key or Wells to Clemens, Moose or even Wang. Dont ask me why I just feel like the first group got big for big games and the other group’s buttholes tightened up like they were the first day they were born…

  2. Matt says:

    I’m gonna say 150 total.

  3. Kevin G. says:

    I’m going to say somewhere between 135 and 170. Most likely around 150.

  4. Rafi says:

    I’m gonna say 150 regular season innings. Anything beyond regular season is not even worth guessing. Do they make the playoffs? Is Pettitte still pitching well/Burnett healthy?

  5. Jamal G. says:

    I think Jon Heyman’s input has to be taken with a grain of salt because he wants Joba Chamberlain to be in the bullpen; so, maybe he’s factoring that into his estimate, thinking that he won’t be a starter for the entirety of the 2009 campaign.

  6. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    At 23 years old, I will be thrilled if he pitches 24 starts and logs 145 innings. I might even go lower, since I think he’ll get a few more post season starts.

  7. There’s really no need to push him, especially with guys like IPK, Phil, Aceves, Coke etc. more than capable of making the spot start and Andy’s re-sign.

    • Rafi says:

      I think that “pushing him” isn’t seen as a need for this year, but more so that if he gets to 150 this year, you wouldn’t be in the same position next year(next year could potentially have him throwing 180)

  8. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Here’s a question. Yanks win the AL East, what’s your playoff rotation?

    CC has to be in, AJ Burnett will be in, Wang will probably win 18-20 games so its impossible to keep him out. Depending on the schedule, 3 starters may well be all you need. If a team is susceptible to lefties, Andy may get a start as well.

    Joba’s at or near the innings limit he has for 2009, do you stick him . . . . you know where I’m going here . . . . . . for the playoffs?

    • Mike says:

      That would be sick. If our 4 man rotation is clicking and Joba has some juice left, why not put him there?

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        It could also be a load of fun. Joba coming in with the game on the line, reprising his 2007 role, making up for the gnats game, its just overloaded with goodies.

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      My answer-Absolutely YES without a second thought. Its the playoffs, all hands on deck and I can’t pitch a kid over a veteran starter, unless the match ups are heavily in his favor.

    • Reggie C. says:

      That’s how injuries happen. Having Joba gear up and throw 99 mph in high pressure playoff situations could ruin him. I hear what you say Steve, but i wouldn’t do it…

      • Mike says:

        Thats the exact thing i was thinking after i submitted it. He’d probably overdo it and get hurt

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        He has the whole off season to recover. Its the playoffs.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Yup. And nothing could be worse to the team than seeing Joba walk off the mound injured in a playoff game after trying to break off a slider after successive 99 mph FB.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            You can’t play that way, you’d never do anything to help you win a game.

            I guess Brett Gardner shouldn’t pinch run because he might break his ankle. I mean, please.

      • whozat says:

        “That’s how injuries happen. Having Joba gear up and throw 99 mph in high pressure playoff situations could ruin him. I hear what you say Steve, but i wouldn’t do it…”

        I mean…he did it in 2007, and it didn’t ruin him…

        • Reggie C. says:

          In ’07, Joba didn’t have +140 (or so) regular season innings. He’ll have at least that much (fingers crossed) after the ’09 regular season. Joba’s going to have a whole different mind set. He’s got to stay there…

          Not that i’m against the EMERGENCY relief appearance, ala Randy Johnson. But you gotta be careful ..

          • whozat says:

            Joba’s going to have a whole different mind set. He’s got to stay there…

            I really think you’re overblowing this. It’d be what…10, 15 innings of relief work? Over two or three weeks? He was up against his innings limit in 2007 too. Are you worried about his body or his mindset? I really don’t think that either is going to be significantly impacted by 10 innings in the bullpen. The alternative would be starting him on some funky schedule…if they go deep, he’d be throwing 20+ innings as a starter, and not on regular rest.

            • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

              10-15 would be for the entire month of October, he would likely be used 2 or 3 innings for each playoff series.

            • Reggie C. says:

              How many successive games would Joba be pitching? How many pitches would he be allowed to throw in that 2nd appearance? There are more factors to this. My concern is primarily his arm. The mindset as a starter goes towards how joba physically approaches the game. Joba won’t be accustomed to throwing 97 mph pitches from the get-go.

              • whozat says:

                Aaaaaand my point is that he already did this. Two years ago. When he was at his innings cap for the season.

                Also…he throws 97MPH as it is. That’s the great thing about Joba…he can sit at 94-95 all game, and still dial it up to 97-98 in the 7th inning of a start.

                I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to do that coming out of the pen if he wants. Given, you know, that we’ve already seen him do it.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Its a zillion times easier to go from the rotation to the bullpen than the other way around. It’s a piece of cake for a guy who’s used to throwing 100+ pitches a night.

                • I don’t want to mess with our young asset’s arm. The best thing for Joba, physically, is to stay on regular 4 days of rest and pitch his turn in the rotation. I don’t want to have him hit his innings cap and then start overextending himself pitching every other day at max effort.

                  He stays in the rotation. When he hits his cap, we shut him down. We have plenty of other power pitchers in the organization who can pitch in the 8th inning on a playoff roster.

                  The upgrade in effectiveness of Joba over Bruney/Melancon/Hughes/Marte/whomever is not worth the increased risk of injury.

                  I vote no.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            He’s not pitching otherwise, the rotation is set. He can’t give you an inning or two here or there? That would be a real waste.

    • Mike A. says:

      Let’s see them get there first. Then you go with the four best arms at that point, maybe three best depending on how the ALDS schedule shakes out.

      Maybe stick Burnett in the pen. He might throw 105 in that case.

    • christopher says:

      depends on who is pitching better

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        That’s a very good answer.

        Had Torre done that in 2007 he might still have his job. Hughes was throwing the ball great down the stretch, but he opted for Wang (who had an awful september) on short rest, which he never pitched on before. The rest is history.

  9. Kevin G. says:

    What is IPK’s innings limit this year?

  10. Reggie C. says:

    I think Joba stays healthy and logs 155 innings. Its all about abuse points. Joe G. should watch out for high inning pitch counts in later innings. I really believe that’s the key. Joba can’t be throwing 30 pitches in the 6th inning. Joe G. has got to pull him in those situations.

    Joba does not see the ‘pen afterwards. He’s got to stay in the mind frame of a starter from here on out.

  11. A.D. says:

    Hmm, I wonder if Joba does pitch out of the pen in the playoffs?

  12. christopher says:

    160 ia pretty optomistic. I see more toward 125 which is why I desperatly want them to get another pitcher and have a 6 man rotation. 1-3 on regular rest and then 3 pitchers taking the 4-5 apots. A big reason why I wanted Sheets, but apparently Pettite is back.

    we dont have the medical records, but I really wanted sheets on this team because of his possible dominance. I guess that those newly released medical records either didint impress the yankees or they really impressed pettite who pulled another sign 2 days before the offer may have been pulled alla last year.

    last year the mitchel report – this year (maybe) improved sheets medical records

    • steve (different one) says:

      you’d think putting together one of the best rotations in baseball with lots of depth in the minors would be enough.

  13. Mike says:

    Only Yankees fans talk about the potential playoff rotation in January lol

  14. Mike A. says:

    Perfect timing:


    80 IP of 2.28 FIP = +2.4 WAR (bullpen)
    150 IP of 4.10 FIP = +2.6 WAR (starter)

    Just eight relievers had a WAR that high this year, but 51 starters did.

    • Rafi says:

      Also, 25 pitchers recorded a higher number of value wins than the most valuable reliever(Mo). Of course, I’m sure that someone mentioned that fact in the last “Joba to teh 8th!!!” discussion.

  15. dkidd says:

    just curious, but what’s the absolute ceiling for him? is there a scenario where they have to start pulling him after 5 in september so he has enough left for a deep post-season run? if they make the world series and he’s at his limit, do they shut him down?

    • Mike R. says:

      It is my understanding that inning limits go out the window in the posts season, but we could very well see an inning cap or skipped starts towards the end of the season.

  16. Mike R. says:

    Joba will throw 158.2 innings. You read it here first.

  17. christopher says:

    mlb network is reporting pettite is close to signing with the yankees….uggghhhhh

    i reaaly wanted them to take a chance on sheets.

    any chance they take a shot a veteran starter as a back-up plan just in case petitte’s bad second half wasnt a fluke

  18. christopher says:

    obviously not sheets – that boat has sailed – gift wrapped for the mets

    • kane says:

      I really don’t care much about the Mets. I still don’t think they’ll make playoffs

      • Lanny says:

        The Mets are all about Perez. Younger, durable, proven NY. They already have the arm problem/risk guy taken care of in Garcia.

        What the Mets should be in on right now should be Abreu or Dunn or heck both since they’ll come cheap with all this collusion going on.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          with all this collusion going on.

          Who are you, Donald Fehr? Are you aware that baseball’s attendance was lower in 2008 than it was in 2007? Do you think ML clubs will, on average, make more or less money than last year?

          Microsoft, one of the few companies to show a profit last quarter, announced they were laying of 1,000 employees. So I tend to think all the unsigned FAs are more about the state of the economy than owners collusion. But hey, that’s just me.

  19. dlcb says:

    I think Joba begins pitching out of the pen in early to mid September unless he gets injured before and his innings are down. The Yankees aren’t going to keep starting Joba once he has reached a certain number of innings, but I don’t see them shutting him down either. I’ll say 130-140 innings as a starter and another 5-10 innings in the pen. 142 innings sounds about right.

  20. Jamal G. says:

    Eric Seidman of Fangraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....ment-60763

    All I’ll say is this… say he had the same LI as Mariano… Mariano in 2008 pitched 70.2 IP with a 2.03 ERA and a 12.83 K/BB… there is no way Joba matches that, and Rivera was still just slightly over +4 wins… the only reliever to reach that total.

    Joba as a starter is likely to be right around +3.8 wins. Joba would have to have practically the greatest season for a reliever to be more valuable in the pen.

  21. dkidd says:

    hypothetical situation: phil hughes dominates in spring training. the other 5 starters are healthy and ready to go. what happens to phil?

  22. Lanny says:

    Why the utter fascination with Joba as a reliever by some people? Did they try and make Clemens a closer when he was 23? Where are the calls to make Beckett a closer?

    Maybe the worst thing they did for this kid was putting him into t he pen in ’07

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      I’m not in that camp, the premise was Joba was already a starter all year. It was just a conversation starter.

  23. Hank Steinbrenner says:

    I have an idea….how about we put Joba back in the bullpen where he belongs and….OMG….use him for the WHOLE year rather than 3/4 of it!!!!!???????

    If Joba can only pitch 140-150 innings, how does anyone think he’s gonna “really help put us over the top” if he’s skipping starts the whole year and has to shut it down in September???

    While I agree that someday Joba would be sweet in the rotation as a top tier starter, how long is that exactly going to take??? Lets see: Year 1 = 140 innings (nope); Year 2 = 165 innings (nope); Year 3 = 190 innings (probablY).

    Do we really want to wait 3 years for Joba to finally be able to stretch out a full season without an innings cap? Look, I’m sorry the kid had some injury problems and has been falling behind in his innings, but lets not get silly here and stubbornly insist that he be a starter at all costs, when the bigger need in our staff right now is obviously the bullpen.

    - Hank Steinbrenner

    • Mike A. says:

      Joba needs to pitch more like Jamie Moyer.

    • steve (different one) says:

      the irony in this is that amidst all of Hank’s bluster, the one thing he was pretty firm on was that Joba should start.

      the rest of this post?

      EPIC FAIL.

    • christopher says:

      i am assuming this is sarcasim, but he was their best pitcher last year next tpo moose even if it was for only half a season. games in April-July still count the same as games in August

    • Brian Cashman is watching says:

      I recently got in a discussion about Joba’s role, and argued he was perfectly groomed to be a starter. But two friends said it was short sighted to make him a starter, and instead he should be groomed to replace Rivera, as Rivera will lose some fastball over the next two years. I asked which they would rather have: a 2.8 era starter or a 1.8 closer. They still pick closer. Even as I kept saying there were 1,856 prospects in the system that could throw 100 (and one just left: Kyle Farnsworth). Some people just think a closer is more important.

  24. christopher says:

    last week reports said that the yankees had about 10 million left to spend. i know there are incentives on his contract, but do the yanks use that 4.5 million to sign another player – juan cruz? a veteran bat off the bench – garciaparra or Alou?

    do they trade swisher or nady and make another play for cameron or do they stay put until the trade deadline?

    I like Nady a lot, but if they can get a top prospect to replace Tababta, do they do it?

    …and I am sorry for not being up to date on the pettite signing. i know that offended many of you

    • VO says:

      i think cruz would be a good pick-up, donjt think they would sign garciaparra or alou, and i doubt they would trade either of them before the start of the season, maybe a deadline deal. and they wouldnt get a top prospect for nady unless he puts up arod like numbers until the break.

    • jsbrendog says:

      hey man, i dont thinnk anyone was offended or that you did anything wrong by not knowing.

      people were just busting your balls. don’t take it seriously, it is all in good fun and humor and if anyone here did actually get offended that you didnt know well then that is dumb and you dont owe them anything. :-P

      plus i just hate you because you get to sleep all day while im at work. lucky bastard haha

  25. Jamal G. says:


    Check that out, they are posting one picture every day ’till the release of The Show.

  26. John says:

    im going to make a safe guess…215 innings

  27. ortforshort says:

    I vote for Chamberlain out of the pen. He is absolutely dynamite to watch when he can let it all hang out for an inning or so. He just can’t do that as a starter. Also, every pitch is an event for him as a reliever because its always a clutch situation. He’ll pitch less innings, but much more meaningful innings because the game’s always on the line. There’s also less wear and tear on his arm and less chance of hurting himself as a reliever. He’s also got that bulldog\tough guy demeanor out there which is not very common, but so important for a late inning guy – and fun to watch. A lot of reasons to like him out of the pen. I know all the stat-heads will trot out numbers that make starting look like a no-brainer and, strictly statistically speaking, without considering any of the factors I mention above, I’m sure they’re reasonably correct. I just find him so much more enjoyable to watch him out of the pen. Same for Mariano. It wouldn’t be the same to watch Mariano coolly disect the opposition if the game weren’t on the line while he was doing it.

    • A.D. says:

      Should they move CC & Burnett to the pen too?

    • Tom Zig says:

      Im waiting for a ***SARCASM ALERT***

    • inman says:

      i went to a game a long time ago when mariano started -and it started off pretty well against cleveland. he couldnt keep it up too long. therefore mo to the bullpen.
      however i’ve seen joba pitch exceptionally well late into ballgames- you dont mess with a potential ace until he proves he cant do it. and yes, i did play gm in a holiday inn last night

      • jsbrendog says:


        rivera and pettitte came up as starters around the same time. mo didnt do very well but had a lot of heat on his fb so it was like, ok put this guy in the pen, give him a cutter and maybe he can get some outs for us there.

        pettitte did well and stayed as a starter.

        see where that ended up? you dont take a pitcher who has proven he can start and send him to the pen. the bullpen is where failed starters go to die.

        • Moreover, Mo has two pitches. Pettitte has four. Mo failed as a starter but worked as a closer because he doesn’t have the diversity of stuff to go through a lineup 4 times, but he does have one super effective pitch that’s repeatable and that he commands. Pettitte, and Joba, both have starter’s arsenals.

          Mo and Joba are poor comps for each other, they’re very dissimilar pitchers. A much better comp is John Smoltz – sure, he can be super effective as a closer, because he’s got electric stuff. But he’s also super effective as a starter, and that’s clearly his position of maximum utility.

    • I know all the stat-heads will trot out numbers that make starting look like a no-brainer and, strictly statistically speaking, without considering any of the factors I mention above, I’m sure they’re reasonably correct. I just find him so much more enjoyable to watch him out of the pen.

      Endy Chavez makes great plays in the outfield, and I find him utterly enjoyable to watch. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart baseball decision to trade for Endy Chavez, make him our everyday leftfielder and bench Johnny Damon.

      I can’t argue with you if you say you’d rather see Joba in the pen because you enjoy him more in that role. Just know that it would be a stupid baseball decision that would cost us wins. If you’re willing to sacrifice team wins and team success for the chance to be personally entertained by the actions of one singular player, I don’t know what to tell you.

      I hope you enjoy your front-row tickets to the State Farm Insurance Home Run Derby.

    • pete says:

      luckily winning is more important to cashmoney than the entertainment factor. Also, wouldn’t you rather see him whiff youkilis 3 times instead of one? I mean what if he wants to bean youk that day? As a starter you can hit him and then strike him out twice, making it doubly painfull, whereas as a reliever you don’t get to face him again.

  28. christopher says:

    i will never understand these morons who want joba in the pen. did they watch any of his starts or even check out the boxscores last year. moose won more games, but the guy i had the most confidence in day in and day out was joba.

    people forget that Mo was moved to the pen because he had, when he came up, one pitch, eventually developing the cutter. what he did in 96 was amazing and something few pitchers can even dream of doing. yes he is the best closer in history, but who is to say joba will be as good or anywhere near as good in the late innings. Knats or no Knats, he has already blown a save in the postseason and he showed last year that he has the potential to dominate as a starter.

    the only argument i ever hear is that he is made for the bullpen – he is an adrenaline pumped bulldog – that is crap. Why dont these pro-joba-bullpen people come up with something better than ,”he just looks like a bullpen pitcher”

    besides, if his body cant handle starting you can always move him to the pen. a lot harder the other way around

  29. tim randle says:

    …if Mo could pitch 7 innings every six days, he’d be a 20+ win starter every year.


    he can, luckily, pitch 2 innings every three days (Joe…you listening…) with such power and placement that he makes the Yanks play 8 inning games.

    What’s more important–20 wins or 30 saves?

    of course, you can’t go the other way and be the Mets–whats more important, 12 wins or 30 blown saves? :)

  30. YankFanDave says:

    Joba in the bullpen bla, bla, bla…: For all those that keep the Joba in the bullpen argument going and repeatedly ask “how will we get to Mo?”, go over to FanGraphics (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.....38;month=0) and sift through the stats regarding team relief performance last year. The Yankees bullpen was one of the most effective, clutch bullpens in the majors last year, so when will folks see this as a strength rather than complaining about a non problem.

  31. KO says:

    If any of the other young Yankee pitchers can make it as starters, then the logical choice is to move Chamberlain to the pen. We heard the same this guy is only valuable as a starter crap when Gossage and Righetti were moved to the pen and the moves turned out to be the right ones. Only a moron would say that Chamberlain can only be a starter until he proves he can’t.

    • Joseph P. says:

      You just called 90% of people who post here morons. Good job, KO.

    • Joseph P. says:

      Also, regarding Gossage, your rewriting history. He spent ONE YEAR as a starter, was below league average, and was moved to the bullpen. Righetti’s conversion is a bit more of a mystery (as in, I don’t have time to go look up the rationale), but how can you say it “turned out to be the right” move when we don’t know how he would have continued as a starter?

    • Yankee1010 says:

      Incredibly unenlightened post. Well done.

  32. JJKK says:

    Joba as the 5th starter 20-25 starts 150 innings is is the best case scenario. If Joba develops arm\other problems he can be moved to the DL\Pen with Hughes, IPK or Aveces filling in. The signing of Pettitte is key for the development of Hughes, he can further refine his control in the minors and be the first option when one of the big 5 goes down.

    Hughes will hopefully only get 10-12 starts, 75 innings, in the majors as an injury replacement and\or can build his innings in the minors to be a permanent starter for next year without inning restriction.

    CC-17, Wang-17, Burnett-13, Andy-13, Joba-10, Hughes-5, Aveces-3, IPK\Giese-2 is 8o wins from starters (Let me know if I’m being realistic). The bullpen had 28 wins last year. On paper this staff is very capable of 100+ wins.

  33. Bill says:

    ~140-145 innings in the regular season. With up to 20 more in the playoffs. That should be the plan. 160 would be a lot though I think he only reaches that total if we’re in the world series.

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