Aug
18

All considered, Yanks handling Joba well

By

By all accounts but his own, Joba Chamberlain had a lousy start Sunday. He lasted just five innings, and his four runs allowed hurt the Yanks, who couldn’t figure out rookie Doug Fister. That all of those runs crossed the plate with two outs hurt even more. After starts like this, fans tend to clamor. Joba is obviously a reliever, some might say. Others go to the already tired line that Joba is being babied. I ranted on the latter topic on Sunday, but Gary Armida of the recently resurrected FullCountPitch.com takes a sober look at the handling of Joba.

A man obsessed with pitching — he has regular talks with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson — Armida understands the trouble of drastically increasing a pitcher’s workload from season to season. It can cause undue stress, the effects of which might not show up until the season after the increase. We’ve seen it plenty of times, as Armida chronicles:

Fausto Carmona is an example of a pitcher pushed too far. In 2007, Carmona threw 230 innings (including the postseason) which was more than 100 additional innings from 2006. Since 2007, Carmona has posted ERA’s of 5.44, 6.66 (this season) and WHIP’s of 1.624 and 1.772. This was after his 3.06 ERA and 1.209 WHIP of 2007. Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels experienced the same drop off in production after throwing more than 50 additional innings in 2006. Weaver’s ERA climbed from 2.56 in 2006 to 3.91 in ‘07 and to 4.33 in ’08 with a disabled list stint thrown in for good measure. His 2009 season is remarkably better, but he even experienced shoulder trouble during spring training.

Perhaps the prime example of a pitcher being pushed too hard is Francisco Liriano. The Twins’ southpaw burst onto the scene in 2006 after throwing more than 40 additional innings in 2005. After a brilliant 16 starts, Liriano had surgery and is still searching for his dominant form of 2006. There are so many examples of teams just ignoring innings and getting burned. The Toronto Blue Jays have seen Dustin McGowan, Gustavo Chacin, Shawn Marcum, and Jesse Litsch all lose time to injury. They were all pushed through the organization at some point.

He notes that, according to the American Sports and Medicine Institute, fatigue and improper conditioning are the leading causes of arm injures. How does this fit into innings limits? Pitchers who experience a drastic increase in workload can become fatigued. Imagine running on the treadmill for 20 minutes three times a week, and then all the sudden increasing that to 35 or 40 minutes. Chances are once you pass the 25 or 27 minute mark, you’re going to be fatigued. Tired pitchers show the effects in many ways, including skimping on their mechanics. This can lead directly to injury.

Conditioning is the more debatable issue. As Armida notes, “One offseason conditioning program shouldn’t be enough for pitchers to throw 50 additional innings.” That might be true now, but as we discussed in the comments yesterday, Nolan Ryan is trying to prove that wrong. He wants to condition his pitchers to throw more, which means a more rigorous off-season conditioning program so that the pitchers can handle the increased workload. That might work out for them. At best, they could see a number of pitchers respond positively, though inevitably, because each pitcher’s body will respond differently to the stress, they’ll lose some talented arms to injury.

There are other issues, too. Armida notes a new study that examines pitchers who throw deep into the playoffs. While not every pitcher experiences this, a number of guys like John Lackey, Mark Buehrle, Chris Carpenter, and Josh Beckett have seen poorer performances, sometimes including DL trips, in the year following a World Series run. While teams should heed this factor, there’s not much they can do about it. Once you’re in the playoffs, all bets are off. The best use of this study would be to find out how to optimally use the shortened rest period to re-strengthen a pitcher’s arm after a seven-month season.

As it concerns Joba, the Yanks might not have handled him well initially, but I believe they’re doing a good job in 2009. While bringing him up in 2007 to help the bullpen gave the Yanks a push into the playoffs, it had some negative effects for his long-term development. Mainly, that he was essentially guaranteed a spot on the major league roster in 2008. Worse, because of his innings limits, that meant starting him in the bullpen and transitioning him to the rotation. That seemed to be a flawed plan.

Perhaps the biggest question here is of why the Yanks brought Chamberlain up so early in August. The idea behind it, said Brian Cashman, was that Joba was coming up against his prescribed innings limit, and that he could either finish out the season in the minors and pack it up, or he could come up to the majors and get those innings out of the pen. However, there’s a discrepancy here.

The Yankees are seemingly using 127 innings as Joba’s high water mark. Those would represent the 89.1 innings he threw in college in 2006, plus the 37.2 innings he tossed in the Hawaiian Winter League. Those were two greatly separated instances, where Joba’s college season ended in May, and his Hawaiian experience didn’t start until October. It would be tough to argue 127 innings as his high water mark, but since the Yankees are planning to use him in the rotation for the rest of the season, it would appear that is the case.

So if his high water mark was 127 innings in 2006, why didn’t he shoot for 157 in 2007? At the time of his recall he’d thrown 88.1 innings in the minors. If 127 was the precedent, he could have finished out the minor league season and then have come up in September, pitched out of the bullpen, and still have come in around 150 innings. Even with Joba’s 2005 high water mark of 118 innings, he could have still finished the minor league season and helped in September.

More and more, it seems as though the decision to call up Joba in 2007 related to the major league team’s woes at that time. For the team, it helped as they locked down the later innings and made the playoffs. For Joba’s development, it certainly hurt. His innings were significantly curtailed from where they could have (or even should have) been for the season. That led to a series of events in 2008 which culminated with his shoulder injury — which further led to a lower innings cap in 2009.

Before signing off, I want to note that none of this is necessarily causal. When it comes to pitcher development and injuries, it’s impossible to nail it down to one factor. Yet the evidence does point this way. It appears that the Yankees didn’t handle Joba in an optimal manner for his long-term development in 2007 and 2008. They’ve taken steps to correct that this year. All we can hope is that he responds well. As he’s demonstrated in flashes, Joba has all the tools to become a top-flight starting pitcher. It would be a shame to see that go to waste because of how the team handled him.

Categories : Pitching
  • Makavelli

    I wouldn’t say he’s being babied…but I wouldn’t expect outstanding starts from him here on out. His numbers with 6+ days rest are far worse than his numbers with less. Ironically his ERA is lower with 6+ days rest but that is skewed based on other elements of the game. His control is all over the place, his walks are up, his K’s are down, etc. And I can only imagine that will get even worse when the days become more sporatic…

    In all honestly, I don’t think anybody knows for sure that sporatic rest in between starts is any healthier than throwing more abitrary innings than “allowed”. I’d be willing to bet that sporatic days rest might actually be worse for the body. A scheduled routine is always better than randomness.

  • http://stephena.com STEPHEN A SMITH

    QUITE FRANKLY I HAVE FOUND THAT WITH SUPERSTARS THEY DO NOT NEED LIMITATIONS. THEY DO NOT NEED LIMITING. THEY NEED TO BE UNLEASHED TO THEIR FULLEST POTENTIAL.

    KOBE BRYANT BECAME THE GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER ON THE PLANET SHORTLY AFTER GRADUATING FROM LOWER MERION HS IN PHILADELPHIA PENNSYLVANIA. THAT IS THE HEART OF A CHAMPION.

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

      Please stop.

    • Makavelli

      Go hang out with Spike Lee and talk about conspiracies together

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Or Slava Medvedenko.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          You’re back. Quite a few people around here missed you, seems like you have quite the bangwagon.

          I wasn’t here to miss you. If I was, I might have. But I wasn’t.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          You’re back. Quite a few people around here missed you, seems like you have quite the bangwagon.

          I wasn’t here to miss you. If I was, I might have. But I wasn’t.

      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        Whatever.

  • mike HC

    I believe that Joba had a triceps injury while in college, which scared many teams off in the draft, allowing him to drop to the Yankees. So it is not as if Joba was a pillar of health before the Yanks got their hands on him.

    • A.D.

      Yeah there were some conditioning issues and such through his college career.

  • A.D.

    So far its going fine, mainly they got hurt on his innings limit when he got hurt last year, else they’d be in a much better situation.

    The long rest hasn’t done well for him in terms of having a good start, but it may also allow him to further work on mechanics with the extra in-between days, so it could have a benefit aside from keeping the innings down.

    • Zack

      “The long rest hasn’t done well for him in terms of having a good start”

      Um, yes it did? he had 9 days off before he went on that 3 game run he had after the AS break.

  • scott duncan

    i dont really know what to make of this piece. on one hand, the title says the yankees are doing a good job. on the other hand, it demonstrates how poorly they handled him in the past, while poking a hole in the concept that 127 IP should be considered the past high-water mark.

    if the 30+ limit (and minimizing workload generally) is so important, which it certainly seems to be, and if the yankees really intend to use joba as a starter for the rest of the year and maybe even in the playoffs, then a better title for this article might be “Yankees On Thin Ice with Joba”, because we’re starting to dance on the edge here.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      But who says the 30 IP increase is what the Yankees FO believes in? Because Tom Verducci says so? Maybe they have their own safe increase number and are not tipping their hand to what it is.

  • Stryker

    we wouldn’t have these articles if they would just keep him in the bullpen ;)

    joking, of course.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      oh lord. not funny.

      • Stryker

        oh like you didn’t know someone was gonna go that route at SOME point in this thread?

      • VO

        Is this the same guy as ‘The Artist’?

        • A.D.

          No

          • VO

            Alright I figured that.

  • Makavelli

    Why aren’t they doing a Joba/Hughes swap? I don’t get it…

    Wouldn’t this make the most sense on all accounts?? You would have to stretch Hughes out…so you could toy with Joba until then…but I don’t see why this isn’t a good idea?

    A healthy and limitless Phil Hughes is much better than a limited sporatic Joba start…especially in the playoffs.

    • Stryker

      it makes the most sense out of any proposed plan, but they’re dead set against it for whatever reason. had they started stretching him out the first sign of bad news with CMW, we wouldn’t have this problem.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I agree, it makes the most sense. The one logical reason to not attempt a switch is the fear involved in stretching out Hughes at this point. The rotation-to-pen transition is pretty manageable. Going the other way midseason is a bit riskier. We may be putting the kibosh on Hughes to the rotation out of fear of exposing HIM to health risks.

        • Makavelli

          Yeah but aren’t the potential injuries Hughes could get due to stretching himself out into the starting role…and the potential injuries Joba could get due to sporatic days off and arbitrary innings limits almost the same?

          There must be a reason some pitchers don’t pitch as well with a ton of days rest…and I’m sure the reason is a small indication that it’s not exactly healthy for them to continue that routine…

          This is all intuitive reasoning…I don’t have any facts other than certain numbers for certain pitchers. But usually when you’re performing well and then not performing well…it’s a sign…and not a good one lol

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            No, I’m with you; the best course of action to prevent too many innings on Joba’s arm in 2009 is to move him to the pen, and that necessitates moving Hughes to the rotation. Moving Hughes to the rotation represents an injury risk, though, which is why the team is reluctant to do it.

            Moving Hughes to the rotation is probably a smaller injury risk than aggressively skipping Joba in August and September so that he can stay in the rotation in October and exceed his cap by a smaller amount, which is why it’s the plan that both you and I prefer.

            I’m just saying, I kinda understand the team’s reluctance, because it’s not like our plan offers ZERO risk. It only offers REDUCED risk.

            • Makavelli

              Haha yeah you’re right. Nothing’s guaranteed either way…so they might as well keep things the way they are I guess. Just wish we had another option…

              Think Tomko’s start last night was a fluke? He was ranting about being better and only having his numbers due to lack of opportunities…all in all, a better option than Mitre was?

            • Doug

              and skipping joba’s turn on a set schedule would be one thing….say having him pitch every 7th day instead of every 5th day.

              but it appears like it’s going to be 8 days here, 10 days there. to me, this is the worst thing you can do for him mentally if not physically. he never knows when he’s going to pitch.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                That too.

                The same school of thought that promulgated innings limits for young pitchers is also quite clear on the point that young pitchers should be on structured, regular, metronomic rest.

                Excessive skipping at random, unpredictable intervals may be just as stressful on Joba’s arm. There’s no rhythm for him. The human muscular system likes rhythm.

                • Doug

                  can i ask a stupid question, though. how do the yankees not see this? or again, are they just winging it here, making things up as they’re going along.

                • Doug

                  can i ask a stupid question then. how do the yankees not see this? or again, are they just winging it here, making things up as they’re going along.

                • Doug

                  can i ask a stupid question then. how do the yankees not seeing this? or again, are they just winging it here, making things up as they’re going along.

                • Doug

                  can i ask a stupid question then. how do the yankees not see this? or again, are they just winging it here, making things up as they’re going along to justify their less than optimal decisions.

        • Scooter

          Well, we’ve kiboshed before – and we’ll kibosh again

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Why aren’t they doing a Joba/Hughes swap? I don’t get it…

      I think because they saw that the Joba starter/reliever flop ended in a shoulder injury to Chamberlain and they don’t want to do it again with Hughes.

      You would have to stretch Hughes out…

      And unless they do this gradually out of the bullpen, they’ve most likely missed that boat. He should’ve been sent down to Scranton when Wang returned to the rotation.

      A healthy and limitless Phil Hughes is much better than a limited sporatic Joba start…especially in the playoffs.

      The Yankees probably thinking taking Hughes out of the ‘pen and making him into a starter now would take away the “healthy” part. The Yankees definitely screwed the pooch with Hughes this year, though. If they hadn’t panicked earlier in the season, Hughes could’ve been making Mitre’s starts.

      • Makavelli

        True. I guess they’re trying to make the best decisions around. Unfortunately, we spent so much during the off season we’re stuck with the Mitre’s in the 5 hole.

        I can only imagine what would happen if another arm gets injured and we need somebody else…

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          What the Yankees spent in the off season has nothing to do with Mitre being the fifth starter. Mitre being the fifth starter is happening because of a panic move made by the Yankees in May.

          • Makavelli

            Well they’re spending has to do with not acquiring a better arm to replace a Mitre arm during the trade deadline and beyond…no?

            • Makavelli

              “their”

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Mitre being the fifth starter is happening because of a panic move made by the Yankees in May.

            That, and unforeseen injuries to Wang and Kennedy.

            Oh, and that panic move in May was also necessitated by injuries to Bruney and Marte.

            The reasons Sergio Mitre is in our rotation are:

            Unpredictable injuries to several quality starters and relievers

            (big gap)

            Questionable long-term roster management decisions made for theoretical short-term gains

            (big gap)

            No better alternatives available on the trade/free agent market

            (small gap)

            Not having enough money left at the end of the budget to sign a better 11th starter during the ’08-’09 offseason

            • Bo

              There should always be plans for sudden injuries/nonperformance.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                There were plans for sudden injuries and nonperformance. Those backup plans were also suddenly injured.

                You can’t have infinite backup plans for your backup plans. It’s not realistically feasible.

    • pete

      The problem here is that you’re also making the assumption that innings are innings, and that is that. Since it is his development as a starter that we are concerned about, it would seem to make the most sense to, if at all feasible, get him to his max this year as a starter. This will better prepare him for the inevitable throes of a starter’s season. I really think (and think the yankees are starting to think this as well) that throwing somebody into the bullpen does nothing really to improve a guy’s ability to start, unless as a confidence booster, and it doesn’t seem like confidence is something he lacks. For the team this season, as he approaches his limit, it would make some sense to put him in the bullpen, but only because it allows you to get some value out of him rather than none, but it doesn’t make sense as a way of getting to his innings limit. Once he is either at it or very close, then maybe, but before that, no. His arm needs to continue to learn how to properly execute and locate ALL of his pitches on less than maximum effort.

  • Klemy

    I don’t have any issues with the way they are handling him now. Hopefully he’ll respond and be better next season.

    I agree that he has seemed off after long rest, so hopefully this will get better as the season goes on as well.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Hey, all. I was on vacation for an extended week, so I missed some of the discussion regarding the 2009 Joba plan.

    I know the team is planning on giving him longer rests between starts where possible to keep his appearances and innings down in August and September, but how much has this plan been fleshed out and what number of starts/innings are his goals over the next 7 weeks?

    I googled everywhere on the interwebs and I don’t see much publicly acknowledged specificity to the Yankee plan. And I need to see that before I can agree with you in saying that “As it concerns Joba, the Yanks might not have handled him well initially, but I believe they’re doing a good job in 2009.” Because it’s easy to say “Oh, we’re going to monitor his innings so that he can be in the rotation in the playoffs”, but I still don’t know how he doesn’t end up with 175 IP unless he’s shut down for at least one 2 week period. That seems too high, IMO.

    Even if he only makes one start a week from here on out at only 5 IP, that’s still 35 IP which takes him to 160 IP by regular season end, and figure he’ll go around 15 IP in October, minimum.

    • Stryker

      welcome back, TSJC. your lack of notable posts and general appearance around here hasn’t gone unnoticed.

      ANYWAY – as of right now, as far as i know, there are no numbers out there at all. they won’t tell anyone the ‘magic number’ of innings but they will say it’s over 140 (not surprised). and if i recall correctly they’ve also said he’ll be unleashed, so to speak, if the team reaches the playoffs/october. so who knows where this is going?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Thanks. The vaca was relaxing, as was coming home to see the Yankees lording over baseball as we should be.

        —————

        The fact that they have a plan for Joba that is not “Lets just pitch him every 5th day and hope for the best” makes me feel better.

        But I’m not convinced that a plan of “Let’s pitch him every 7th or 8th day” is enough of a plan to make a noticeable dent. I think they want to limit his innings, but their method of innings limiting probably won’t shave enough innings off his total to protect his arm enough.

        JMHO.

        • The Fallen Phoenix

          I think the thing that worries me is that a lot of organizations – not just the Yankees – do not seem to recognize (or, more likely, choose to ignore) the negative impact that postseason innings can have on a young pitcher. Just about every major league organization seems to take an “all hands on deck” approach to the playoffs, which I completely understand – the goal is to win a championship, anything can happen in the postseason, etc.

          The problem is, when you’ve already stretched a young pitcher to the limit during the regular season, come playoff time, he’s not just throwing innings he has never thrown before – he’s throwing the absolute highest-stress innings one can throw, while already fatigued from the long season.

          And even the older pitchers aren’t immune to it! All it takes is a look at one of the pitchers on our own staff: CC Sabathia, worked hard in the regular season two consecutive years, so that he didn’t have as much left in the tank when the postseason came around.

          Ultimately, I’m not sure how an organization can get around the problem, since any plan that accounts for postseason innings requires an assumption that the team makes the postseason, which is never a guarantee, and even then you could be slotted for just about anything from as little as six to as many as thirty (or more!) additional postseason innings, depending on how deep the team goes and how long the series are in the playoffs.

          • rbizzler

            I hear you on the stress of postseason innings, but, to echo your point, the goal is to win it all. The championship is almost always a salve for whatever long-term damage you may have caused in getting there.

          • rbizzler

            I hear you on the stress of postseason innings, but, to echo your point, the goal is to win it all. The championship is almost always a salve for whatever long-term damage you may have caused in getting there.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Not to toot my own horn (since the whole “I called it first” concept of Axl and Little Bill can get annoying real quick), but I did advocate way back in the winter for Joba to have the beginning of his year started later.

            Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February and work their way up to readiness for the start of April. I would have had Joba report in mid-March and be ready to join the club in May.

            I think that may be the best way for an organization to keep their young pitchers from throwing too much while maintaining their availability for the stretch run. Don’t shut them down in September… shut them down in April.

          • rbizzler

            I hear you on the stress of postseason innings, but, to echo your point, the goal is to win it all. The championship is almost always a salve for whatever long-term damage you may have caused in getting there.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Not to toot my own horn (since the whole “I called it first” concept of Axl and Little Bill can get annoying real quick), but I did advocate way back in the winter for Joba to have the beginning of his year started later.

            Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February and work their way up to readiness for the start of April. I would have had Joba report in mid-March and be ready to join the club in May.

            I think that may be the best way for an organization to keep their young pitchers from throwing too much while maintaining their availability for the stretch run. Don’t shut them down in September… shut them down in April.

    • VO

      Welcome back, they still are holding the plan tight to the chest, all they have said is they will give him extra time in between starts.

    • A.D.

      Basically the word is the Yankees are giving no word, and taking it start by start, they may have a mapped out plan, but they’re not sharing it

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      You’re back. Quite a few people around here missed you, seems like you have quite the bangwagon.

      I wasn’t here to miss you. If I was, I might have. But I wasn’t.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      You’re back. Quite a few people around here missed you, seems like you have quite the bangwagon.

      I wasn’t here to miss you. If I was, I might have. But I wasn’t.

    • A.D.

      Basically the word is the Yankees are giving no word, and taking it start by start, they may have a mapped out plan, but they’re not sharing it

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    What saddens me is that Cashman wasn’t proactive enough to acquire another starter so that we could skip Joba more aggressively.

    Brett Favre was sitting there for the taking, and Cash sat on his hands. And now he’s gone.

    Great job, fucko. That non-signing is probably going to cost us the title this year.

    Cashman = SUX0R

    • TAFKA (sic)

      Not just any sux0r. TEH. SUX0r!

    • VO

      +1, He should of gotten not only Farve for the 5 spot but Bolt for a bench role. I know it’s been talked about a lot but it’s a great idea he could steal off anyone, except of course Varitek. He has all those no hitters.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      He should’ve gotten Michael Vick to play CF when Melky got cold and BG went down.

      • Makavelli

        bah! beat me by a minute with the Vick comment…

    • Makavelli

      What’s worse is he had a second change with Vick and he, again, tied the blindfold on.

      When will this guy learn. Theo “Huxtable” Epstein would have made those moves 10x if he needed to!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Heh.

        We should have signed Vick just to take heat off of ARod, Cano, Swisher, Ransom, and Mitre. There is a subset of Yankee fans who feel a perpetual desire to hate someone on the team.

        Vick would have been an awesome lightning rod. Maybe we can still sign Plaxico Burress or Donte Stallworth to be a pinchrunner…

  • Tony

    2007 was so stupid that they repeated the same mistakes with Hughes. I’ve come to terms with it, but I’m not happy about it.

  • Doug

    “More and more, it seems as though the decision to call up Joba in 2007 related to the major league team’s woes at that time.”

    or, they’re making up his high water mark as they go along. they’re essentially changing it this year to justify him being available as a starter for the whole season and into the playoffs.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Which is basically the same thing, no?

      We’re altering our position on what we think is “good” developmentally to suit our short-term ML roster needs.

      Which seems like a poor way to develop young players.

      • Doug

        yes.

        yes.

        absolutely.

      • Stryker

        doesn’t “seem” like a poor way – it IS a poor way but that’s dependent on your school of thought as to how the farm system and major league team should coexist.

        • Bo

          So the team shouldnt be about winning. it should be about making sure young pitchers get properly developed. Titles be damned. Thankfully u guys arent running things.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Bo: 1
            Strawman: 0

  • Makavelli

    At 23 years old, Verlander pitched over 186 innings in his first full season as a starter and had no set backs. The following year at 24 years old, Verlander through over 200 innings pitched…both years with great numbers. The following year he had an off year perhaps due to all of the innings pitched…but still, again, pitched over 200 innings…giving up less hits than innings pitched. This year he’s back to his dominant self again regardless of pitching nearly 600 innings since he started.

    Are they just not letting lose on Joba only because he had an injury back before they drafted him? Or are they just “playing it safe” regardless???

    • DF

      You’re missing part of the Verlander story, though. He gave up fewer hits, yes, but there was that whole “missing velocity” thing he went through. I’ve always felt that was a workload issue, and his arm was just dead for that season.

      Now, yeah, I’m making an assumption about that, but it seems reasonable that a fatigued arm would result in lower velocity.

      What I’m saying is Verlander should be a cautionary tale bolstering the Yankees’ decision to monitor him, not a reason to take the shackles off.

      • Makavelli

        Well so far Verlander has been unleashed and hasn’t been injured for more than a DL stint here or there.

        Joba has been protected and he’s gone down with a lot more.

        Yes, some of these can be contributed to bullpen-rotation changes or vice/versa…but I still believe the protecting thing hurts more than it helps.

        We protected Joba and his velocity has noticibly gone down as well. Beckett and Lester still throw in the high 90’s as starters…Joba went from high 90’s in the bullpen to low (sometimes mid) 90’s in the rotation. That’s significant change too. His ERA is a tad better…mainly due to his disgusting starts…when he has them.

        I mean it’s different for everybody. You can’t grab one person out of the crowd and compare the two. But I picked Verlander because I’ve recalled Joba being compared to him in the past. And Joba looks to have the build of a workhorse (at least hopefully some day)

      • Makavelli

        Well so far Verlander has been unleashed and hasn’t been injured for more than a DL stint here or there.

        Joba has been protected and he’s gone down with a lot more.

        Yes, some of these can be contributed to bullpen-rotation changes or vice/versa…but I still believe the protecting thing hurts more than it helps.

        We protected Joba and his velocity has noticibly gone down as well. Beckett and Lester still throw in the high 90’s as starters…Joba went from high 90’s in the bullpen to low (sometimes mid) 90’s in the rotation. That’s significant change too. His ERA is a tad better…mainly due to his disgusting starts…when he has them.

        I mean it’s different for everybody. You can’t grab one person out of the crowd and compare the two. But I picked Verlander because I’ve recalled Joba being compared to him in the past. And Joba looks to have the build of a workhorse (at least hopefully some day)

      • Makavelli

        Well so far Verlander has been unleashed and hasn’t been injured for more than a DL stint here or there.

        Joba has been protected and he’s gone down with a lot more.

        Yes, some of these can be contributed to bullpen-rotation changes or vice/versa…but I still believe the protecting thing hurts more than it helps.

        We protected Joba and his velocity has noticibly gone down as well. Beckett and Lester still throw in the high 90’s as starters…Joba went from high 90’s in the bullpen to low (sometimes mid) 90’s in the rotation. That’s significant change too. His ERA is a tad better…mainly due to his disgusting starts…when he has them.

        I mean it’s different for everybody. You can’t grab one person out of the crowd and compare the two. But I picked Verlander because I’ve recalled Joba being compared to him in the past. And Joba looks to have the build of a workhorse (at least hopefully some day)

      • Makavelli

        Well so far Verlander has been unleashed and hasn’t been injured for more than a DL stint here or there.

        Joba has been protected and he’s gone down with a lot more.

        Yes, some of these can be contributed to bullpen-rotation changes or vice/versa…but I still believe the protecting thing hurts more than it helps.

        We protected Joba and his velocity has noticibly gone down as well. Beckett and Lester still throw in the high 90’s as starters…Joba went from high 90’s in the bullpen to low (sometimes mid) 90’s in the rotation. That’s significant change too. His ERA is a tad better…mainly due to his disgusting starts…when he has them.

        I mean it’s different for everybody. You can’t grab one person out of the crowd and compare the two. But I picked Verlander because I’ve recalled Joba being compared to him in the past. And Joba looks to have the build of a workhorse (at least hopefully some day)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Verlander:
      2002, age 19 (NCAA): 113.0 IP
      2003, age 20 (NCAA): 116.1 IP
      2004, age 21 (NCAA): 105.2 IP
      2005, age 22 (hi-A, AA, MLB): 130.0 IP
      2006, age 23 (MLB): 186.0 IP
      2007, age 24 (MLB): 201.2 IP
      2008, age 25 (MLB): 201.0 IP
      2009, age 26 (MLB): on pace for ~231 IP + 15 playoffs IP = 246 IP

      Joba:
      2005, age 19 (NCAA): 118.2 IP
      2006, age 20 (NCAA): 89.1 IP
      2007, age 21 (hi-A, AA, AAA): 112.1 IP
      2008, age 22 (MLB): 100.1 IP
      2009, age 23 (MLB): on pace for ~165 IP + 15 playoffs IP = 180 IP

      Verlander’s biggest one year jump during his Verducci years was 56 innings. Joba’s on pace to throw 80 innings more than his previous year, and 62 innings more than his high water mark, which was now 4 whole years ago.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Verlander pitched 129.3 innings between the majors and minors in ’05 before being a full time starter with Detroit in ’06. His bump was 56.7 innings, which is about what the Yankees are going to do with Chamberlain.

  • Marc

    How is the Liriano increase in innings too much?

    2004-156 innings
    2005-190 inning

    How is a 30 inning increase too much?

  • mryankee

    I wish Joba would pitch more like Justin Verlander-that guy is really good, Joba sucked the last three times out

    • Makavelli

      Coincidentally right after his 8 day rest they gave him…

      • Bo

        Joba is no Verlander.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Correct. He’s three years younger.

  • Chris

    You could add the entire Phillies and Rays rotations to the list of pitchers that have struggled after a deep playoff run. The only one that has improved his performance this year is Edwin Jackson, and he pitched a grand total of 4.1 innings in the post season (not exactly back breaking work).

  • http://leegrantphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/madmax.jpg gxpanos

    Ugh. The Yanks have a fundamental problem with balancing winning now and developing prospects (especially pitchers). Cashman needs to bite the bullet and convince Hal that Joba should have kept on regular 5 day rest and then been SHUT DOWN. Cashman is running a team for the long-run. You’d have gotten a good season from Joba that helped the team. This idea that Joba being shut down in the playoffs means his whole season is for naught is ridiculous. He’s helped the team this year; don’t run the risk of losing that helpful asset in the future with silly attempts to please everyone.

  • http://leegrantphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/madmax.jpg gxpanos

    Ugh. The Yanks have a fundamental problem with balancing winning now and developing prospects (especially pitchers). Cashman needs to bite the bullet and convince Hal that Joba should have kept on regular 5 day rest and then been SHUT DOWN. Cashman is running a team for the long-run. You’d have gotten a good season from Joba that helped the team. This idea that Joba being shut down in the playoffs means his whole season is for naught is ridiculous. He’s helped the team this year; don’t run the risk of losing that helpful asset in the future with silly attempts to please everyone.

    • Bo

      Oy vey. Winning now trumps everything else. You’re in the biz of winning titles. Not developing talent.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        You win titles by developing talent.

        You live in the land of false dichotomies, Bo.

  • http://leegrantphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/madmax.jpg gxpanos

    Ugh. The Yanks have a fundamental problem with balancing winning now and developing prospects (especially pitchers). Cashman needs to bite the bullet and convince Hal that Joba should have kept on regular 5 day rest and then been SHUT DOWN. Cashman is running a team for the long-run. You’d have gotten a good season from Joba that helped the team. This idea that Joba being shut down in the playoffs means his whole season is for naught is ridiculous. He’s helped the team this year; don’t run the risk of losing that helpful asset in the future with silly attempts to please everyone.

  • Esteban

    I don’t even think that bringing Joba up in 2007 was necessary. I mean, they won the WC by 6 games and there’s no way Joba was worth 6 games in 24 IP.

    • Bo

      You didnt watch the team back then apparently. it was a totally dif team once he took over in the pen. revitialized the whole team. charged up the stadium.

      kinda like mr hughes is doing right now. its a dif team since he took over.

  • ShuutoHeat

    No doubt he’s going to be out of his rhythm, how he’ll pull through the games is another story. I’m sure even when out of the rhythm, he can still get some good starts on.

  • Bo

    inconsistent as a starter. but not surprising since many young pitchers struggle.

  • yankees09

    What makes everybody think Hughes will be successful in the rotation if stretched out?? He was not so hot before the switch?Leave Hughes in the pen.. He has done an incredible job and had stablized the pen! Moving Hughes in the rotation would considerably weaken this team. I don’t think Hughes would not be so much of an upgrade than Mitre and the pen would be weaker because of this move. Next year Hughes can try and prove to everyone he can be a starter.

  • MikeD

    Well of course the Yankees brought Joba up in 2007 because of the big-club’s need, not because of an innings-count issue. When they passed on trading for Eric Gagne, they said they believed the answer was in their farm system. At that same time, they moved Joba from the starting rotation to the pen in AAA with the purpose of having in help the Yankees weak pen. And, yes, this did cause a delay in Joba’s development as a starter that the Yankees are now trying to correct.

    Having the benefit of knowing what happened to the Yankees in ’07 (lost to the Indians) and ’08 (missed the play-offs), if the Yankees had to do it all over again, they would have left Joba in the minors, and had him join the rotation in ’08 when he would have been conditioned to step up and pitch 170 innings, and he’d be on pace for 200+ this year. I think the bouncing between the pen and the rotation also may have contributed to his August injury.

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