A Stroll down Joba Lane: Starts 11 through 15

Medchill homers in his fourth straight game
Dunn promoted, McAllister disabled

Part three of our look at some trends from Joba Chamberlain‘s 17 starts. First installment is here, an the second one is here.

June 7 Tampa Bay

Synopsis: Joba turns in a quality start, allowing three runs through six. Had one run headed into the sixth, but the Rays went single-happy, hitting three in the inning to go with a walk and give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. Yanks recover in eighth, taking ball four off Grant Balfour to retake the lead. Joba gets a no decision.

Pitches – Strikes: 100 – 56 (56%)

Breakdown: 54 fastballs, 29 curveballs, 12 sliders, 5 changes

Average and Max FB: 92, 95.4

Notes: Not a great strike percentage with the fastball (52%), and the curve was only 55%. Velocity is okay, not great. Still, the bigger issue remains throwing strikes. Not that we need any fancy breakdowns to know that. He also seems to favor one breaking pitch each outing. This one was curve heavy. We’ve seen plenty of slider heavy games.

June 12 Mets

Synopsis: Joba’s inability to throw strikes leads him to build up 100 pitches through four innings. Short outing forces Brett Tomko into the game, who allows four runs while recording only two outs. Yanks come back, but Coke blows it. Mo allows go-ahead run, but Luis Castillo drops the ball. All is forgiven. Except Joba’s performance.

Pitches – Strikes: 100-52 (52%)

Breakdown: 69 fastballs, 20 sliders, 5 curves, 5 changes, 1 two-seamer

Average and Max FB: 91.87, 94.8

Notes: Joba clearly didn’t have his best stuff, as his average fastball was under 92. It was another slider game, but again he just didn’t throw the fastball for strikes.

B stuff + two pitches + horrible control = horrible start. Joba allowed only two runs, but he exposed Tomko, which is bad.

June 18 Washington

Synopsis: Another quality start, though again Joba puts up the bare minimum. Commits the cardinal sin by walking in a run. Offense can’t muster a run off Cy Stammen and the shutdown Nationals bullpen and lose the game 3-0. Fanbase embarrassed.

Pitches – Strikes: 100 – 60 (60%) — three in a row at exactly 100

Breakdown: 64 fastballs, 17 sliders, 12 curves, 7 changes

Average and Max FB: 92, 95.6

Notes: We’ve seen Joba around 92 for a while, and the results seem to be predictable. If he more or less throws over 55 percent strikes, he’ll be OK. If he loses his command, he’ll be less than okay. His best starts Feature his fastball at 93, 94, a decent number of strikes, and usually a better mix of his pitches. Minus the walking in a run, this one wasn’t too bad.

June 24 @ Atlanta

Synopsis: Joba pitches into the seventh, but a single, error, and RBI single chase him from the game after recording just one out. Was he tiring? Considering how rarely he’s seen the seventh this year, it’s a possibility. Coke allowed an inherited runner to score, but Yanks hold on and finish off the Braves. Oh, and Joba also hit a line drive right into the opposing pitcher’s neck and took him out of the game. He was perfect through three. The next guy came in and gave up three runs.

Pitches – Strikes: 99 – 68 (68%)

Breakdown: 66 fastballs, 18 sliders, 11 curves, 3 changes

Average and Max FB: 92, 95.6

Notes: See what happens when you throw strikes? You go deeper into the game, and eventually if you can pitch into the seventh you’ll have the stamina to get through it. All in all a good start for Joba, though again we’re just not seeing anything close to the fastball we saw last year. A few mph decrease is fine if he’s trying to get some movement on the pitch and save his shoulder. This dropoff, though, is a bit more than that.

June 30 Mariners

Synopsis: Joba throws way too many pitches in the fifth and only gets two batters into the sixth. Other than that inning he was fine, but other than that one part, I’m sure Lincoln had a good time at the play. Yanks come back off Chris Jakubauskas and Sean White and take the series opener.

Pitches – Strikes: 96 – 55 (57%)

Breakdown: 67 fastballs, 20 sliders, 8 curves, 1 change

Average and Max FB: 92, 95

Notes: He threw only 55 percent strikes with his slider, which would indicate that he wasn’t getting many swings and misses, or at least as many as he usually does. Throws almost 60 percent strikes with his fastball, which is good for him. All in all, a pretty unremarkable start.

This was a pretty ho-hum set of starts for Joba. Maybe it’s because they’re all starting to look the same. Sometimes he has some better control and is a little better. Sometimes he can’t find the zone and is bad. For the most part he’s at 92 with his fastball, picks a primary breaking pitch and sticks with it. Unfortunately, being patient means waiting more than a couple of months for a young pitcher to develop. Still, his steep drop off in velocity is certainly a concern.

Tomorrow we’ll go over the last two. I can’t wait to see the comments section on that one.

Medchill homers in his fourth straight game
Dunn promoted, McAllister disabled
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Since it’s actually on-topic,

    a deceptively simple cause for Joba’s problems

    Cheerio.

    • chriskeo

      I think that idea has been discussed here before, Joba was rushed to the majors and sending him to the pen were the worst things they could have done long term.
      They lost the 2007 ALDS and torre was gone, would it have made a huge difference if he stayed in AAA?

      • JMK

        That’s not exactly what she’s saying.

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          He’s got the right idea…just kinda veers off track at the end there.

          • chriskeo

            yeah the last part was me venting

    • JMK

      Excellent post. Never thought of it but it makes sense (at least in baseball logic). Thanks!

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Thanks! And, uh, You’re welcome!

    • Salty Buggah

      shameless plug…

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Like you’ve never seen me do it before? Honestly? *knowing glance*

        • Salty Buggah

          Oh I see you do it frequently ;)

        • http://freres.d.arme.free.fr/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=46254 Un Rettig

          Lovely ideas, props to you for making the effort to put it up

    • Bob Stone

      Excellent post. I appreciate the insight. Seems like it is a distinct possibility that Joba’s problems stem from lack of college/minor league innings and lack of conditioning.

    • Ed

      Nice piece, I agree with you on it. The minors are about two things – developing your skills and conditioning your body to hold up to an MLB season. The Yankees seem to be forgetting the second part of that lately.

      One slight nitpick though – I’ve always gotten the impression that the Yankees were going by 2007’s 116 IP (minors + majors + playoffs) as his baseline rather than last year’s 100 IP. It’s not a huge difference in innings totals, and you’re only going back two seasons to get it, so it seems reasonable.

  • Charlie

    BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I wanted the last two starts in this one

  • Drew

    What I’ve gotten out of your first three Joba lane posts is a confirmation of mine, and many others’ belief that this is growing pains. His fastball is generally there. He’s got secondary stuff. He’s trying to throw the change and some days he’s more comfortable with it than others. Just think, next ST he can try to perfect that or the cutter or the curve. ST after that he can work on another pitch. IMO, this is all part of the deal. We want to groom young starters, we have to let them work out their issues.

    If he tells you he’s working his ass off and that the sun will come up tomorrow, don’t crucify him. Joba has a shot to be special. The fact that he’s from our system puts him in somewhat hallowed ground considering our results in that department lately. Be patient people, I know we need to win now but, like Phil, almost like IPK, they really don’t need to work in the minors, they’ve perfected it. It’s time to face the big boys and that’s exactly what Joba, Phil and soon to be IPK (hopefully) will be doing.

    • JMK

      I think a lot of Yankees fans are short-sighted. Ideally, we’d all love to see Joba (and IPK, Hughes) to succeed immediately and display full signs of their true potential. Is it realistic, though? Certainly not. I’d much rather see the young pitchers work through things and NOT win the WS this year and have a much better shot of them developing properly and having more success down the line. We must see the forest from the trees.

      • YankeeScribe

        Cashman should put the best team on the field to get us to #27. If we don’t win #27 this year it won’t be because JOba, Phil, and IPK weren’t ready. it will be because Cashman put too much pressure on those guys’ development instead of relying on veteran rentals who could help us win now.

        Jeter, Posada, Pettite, and Rivera aren’t getting any younger. There’s no guarantee that they will be as good next year and the following year so we need to exploit our opportunity to go all the way while these guys are still healthy and productive.

    • Charlie

      i agree generally, though the velocity worries me a bit. and I wouldn’t expect much from IPK at this point. I’ve accepted that he’ll probably never be a great ML starter.

      • Salty Buggah

        I wouldn’t go there just yet. I still think he can make a cost-controlled 5th starter, like a better, cheaper, younger Andy Pettitte (not the young Andy but the Andy we’ve seen lately but with better stats). If all things come together, I hope he can become a 3-4 starter.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Depends on how his performance is after his surgery which I cannot find anywhere if he did.

          Anyways if he pitches effectively again he’ll likely be used as trade bait.

      • Drew

        The overwhelming majority of pitchers in MiLB will not be great starters. There are probably, tops 20 “great” (true number one starters) in all of baseball.

        • Charlie

          yea, i shoulda written good there instead.

          • Drew

            Fair enough, I do believe however that IPK will find his niche. Whether it is with us or not I think he’ll be a solid starter (#3-5) somewhere. He can get outs in AAA at a ridiculous rate and eventually I think it will translate to the bigs.

            • Bo

              Can Kennedy survive his life threatening illness before you make him a mid rotation starter?

              The guy may never pitch again.

              • V

                Um, d00d? He’s already had the surgery. I doubt it’s life-threatening anymore.

              • Ed

                Let’s not go crazy here. His problem was only life threatening if he let it go untreated. It was caught early and fixed. He’s already started a throwing program, so pitch again late in the season unless something goes wrong.

  • Salty Buggah

    Mike, I think you should somehow hide these Joba Lane posts. You’ve kinda created an easy scouting report for opposing teams. This can help them a bit.

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

      Why does everyone think I write every post?

      • Salty Buggah

        WTF! MAJOR FAIL on my part. I could’ve sworn I thought I read your name. My bad.

        Sorry Joe…

        • Salty Buggah

          Oh I see. I had DOTF open in another tab so I probably read your name there and then switched to this tab and thought you were the author of this post too.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        You write a lot of the ones at night. It’s kinda habit. Ben in the morning, Joe in the ‘noon/game thread, you with the DotF…

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        Wait, there are other people posting here, too? I’m shocked.

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        “Mike”, we all know that Joe, Ben, and Mike are all aliases for your single true identity: Melvin Crousett.

    • Drew

      These are JoPa’s posts! Epic fail Salty!! Epic fail…

      • Salty Buggah

        Yes. Yes it is.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I’m sure teams know this by now. And I doubt any team will take a blog seriously despite blogs actually providing a wealth of information they won’t expect.

      • Salty Buggah

        Yea true, I was just saying though. Their work is like halfway done here.

  • Chris P.

    To me it seems like he’s trying to out think hitters rather than over power them. He reminds me of Wild Thing in Major League 2

    • RollingWave

      well, he did come pretty close to playing in the Nebraskan Penal league for DUI.

      • Bo

        That kinda happens when your fastball goes from 98 to 90 for some reason.

  • mryankee

    I still think Girardi is babying Joba-if someone at 22 can throw 94-97 then how at 23 can he not? If he is not hurt he is holding back and if so why? I dont see Verlander holding back and he stays at about 95 throughout a game. Its the difference between a plus fastball and an average fastball. If Kendry Morales is taking you deep to center on some garabage puss pitch then their is a problem. If you cant pitch weel against teh Nats there is a problem. Girardi has to confront the kid nd tell him to throw the f-ing ball. I am sorry I dont see a title with our 3-4-5 picthers. Unless we get a cliff lee or halladay.

  • Chris

    Looking forward to Joba’s next start, why aren’t the Yankees having him go on Saturday? It would seem that splitting up AJ and CC would help manage the bullpen, and it’s a very easy thing to do with the All-star break.

    • ArodMVP217 Retire 51

      rotation order is overrated.

      • Ed

        It is in general, but Chris did have a valid point. Changing the order to separate different types of pitchers is overrated, but splitting up guys who are only going to go 5-6 innings makes sense.

  • Jake H

    Joba just needs to throw strikes. It seems the games he dominates he is throwing strikes with multiple pitches.

    • Bo

      Throw more strikes.

      I think EIland has been saying that over and over and over and over to him.

      • Ed

        I would imagine Eiland and everyone else on the staff has been saying that to him, considering even Joba’s 3 year old kid said it to him after a game about a month ago (after the Mets start was it?).

  • Bo

    Who cares about start to start? We all know he has talent and hes under performing. The real question should be why his velocity has gone from 98 to 90mph. That’s the real problem here. That shouldn’t happen. Not at his age. It begs the question of does he have an injury and is he trying to pitch thru it? Mechanics alone won’t have that drastic a drop in velocity.

    • V

      He’s not throwing 90. Of course, to expect Bo to read the post is a bit much, apparently.

  • Mattchu12

    Forgive me, but I’m going to throw something off topic out there because you guys are the most intelligent Yankee Fans around, so here is the question:

    Swapping Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano defensively. Jeter at 2B, Cano at SS. Thoughts?

    I hated it at first, but then thought about it, and I kind of like it. Cano does have some nice range, an impressive arm, and while he’d never be a Gold Glover, I think he could be in the top 25% of shortstops defensively. It also assures Jeter a spot for the rest of his career, because he should be able to handle second base and we’ve never really been fretting about his bat…

  • YankeeScribe

    Joba may be a good to great start 2 or 3 years from now. The problem is, that he probably isn’t going to help us win #27 this year. I wish they didn’t rush him through the minors…

  • mryankee

    I still think its a mental thing for some reason he is listening to aj burnett and trying to pace himself, I dont know if he is too dumb or being told to pitch this way regardless of results. Why would the Yankees pitch him if he was injured. I also say if this is the best he has then may as well put him in halladay or lee deal-the Ynakees are to god this year to cough up a division and w/s to the sox. Girardi has to have either a very verbal conmfrontation about velocity or very public. Maybe at Jobas ext home start if he is struggling, fans can chat ofr Halladay. I dont know something to wake this kid up.

  • KyleLitke

    That’s really interesting, actually. Take out the start after he got hit with the line drive (his mechanics were probably messed up from the liner), and his season shows a guy whose fastball was missing something velocitywise (sitting about 92-93, topping out at 95-96). And as the season went on he slowly started getting it back (Starts 6 and 7 he averaged 93.5, topped out at 97) culminating in the 8 IP performance where he averaged 93.9 and topped out at 97.6 (still slightly low for him but much, much better). And then suddenly he lost it again. What the hell happened in that game or right after? He was improving in both average and max velocity until he suddenly hit a wall directly after the 8 IP start, and dropped to an average fastball of 92 or worse, topping out at 95 or lower in 5 straight starts. Did he get hurt? Lose his mechanics? Something set him back a lot there.

    I’m really interested to see the velocity in his last two starts. He can still be an effective pitcher if he throws strikes, but Joba the ace needs to at least be sitting 94ish and hitting 97-98, like he was in the 8 IP start. Sitting 92 and hitting 95 might make for an effective #3 with his offspeed pitches but with the control problems that pop up for him, he’s not going to be the ace we expected without getting that velocity back or reinventing himself as a pitcher.