On criticism and Joba

Offense leads Tampa to division title
Fan Confidence Poll: August 31st, 2009

Yesterday, when Joba left the game after throwing just three innings and 35 pitches, the Internet was abuzz with criticism of the Yankees plan. Andrew Fletcher of Scott Proctor’s Arm called the move “utterly moronic” on his Twitter feed. Ross of New Stadium Insider commented that “the Joba rules keep on getting lamer and lamer” on his. Plenty more fans chimed in with similar comments. Apparently the Yankees decision to limit the workload of their prized young pitcher isn’t going over well with the fan base.

Many of these same people criticized the Yankees when the plan was to spread out Joba’s starts over the remainder of the season. This brings to the fore an apt question: what, then, are they supposed to do? If the Yankees aren’t going to shorten Joba’s starts or spread them out, then what options do they have?

1) Pitch Joba as normal and shut him down when he reaches his prescribed workload
2) Pitch him normally without regard to prior workload

As to the former: if people are complaining about Joba now, the noise would be louder than ever if the Yanks shut down Joba. It would relegate either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to the fourth starter slot in the playoffs, should the Yankees need one. It would also be denying the team a useful pitcher. While it would probably be the best thing for the future development of Joba Chamberlain, it just doesn’t fit well into the way 2009 is unfolding.

As to the latter, I’ve made my feelings known on the matter. That said, if you believe that Joba should throw as many innings as possible this year, there’s no way we’re going to see eye to eye. May I suggest, though, that you go out tomorrow and add 50 pounds to your bench presses and 3 miles to your daily run. Then see how you feel the next day.

The whole point of the “Joba Rules” is to make sure they’re not adding too much weight to the bar. By keeping the incremental increase in his workload under control, the Yankees hope to prevent Joba from succumbing to the injuries and bouts of ineffectiveness we’ve seen afflict so many young pitchers in recent years. The Yankees have invested millions of dollars in this pitcher, and could see millions more in production from him in the future. If they can keep him healthy, that is.

One thing I noticed in this argument is that many people do not favor the way the Yankees are going about this. Said Fletcher on his Twitter feed: “Treating August games like spring training games is not doing it right.” To that I ask: What is doing it right? He suggests they do it in the minors. Unfortunately, that’s not much of an option right now. The minor league season ends rather soon, and as we’ve argued many times, Joba might not learn much by pitching down there. He has the stuff to destroy minor leaguers. At least he’s being challenged in the majors.

The Yankees are afforded some luxuries because of their lead and their current level of play. It seems like the Red Sox are winning every day, but the Yanks still maintain their lead in the East by a sizable margin — and that margin grows with each passing game, because the season creeps closer to an end. One of those luxuries of which they’re taking advantage is the ability to curb Joba’s innings while pitching him regularly in the majors. This might not be the same story if it was the Yankees who trailed the Red Sox by six games and led the Wild Card race by a small margin.

This is not a necessary endorsement of the specific manner in which the Yankees are handling Joba. Maybe having him throw normal starts that are spread out further is the better plan. Maybe letting him get to 160 like normal and then shutting him down is the best for his long-term potential. I don’t know which is best, and neither does anyone else out there. We should understand by this point that just letting pitchers go out there and throw is a poor strategy. There need to be limits to ensure that young pitchers don’t vastly exceed their previous workloads.

Please, if you don’t agree with a move that the Yankees make, criticize them for it. However, when you choose to do so, make sure you have some substance to your argument. Why are the Yankees doing this wrong? What should they be doing instead? This is what makes for good arguments and conversations. Instead, thanks to media like Twitter, we’re getting a lot of noisy complaining with no substance to speak of. That won’t fly. If you don’t agree with the Yankees handling of Joba, tell me why, and what might work better. That’s the kind of talk we appreciate around these parts.

Offense leads Tampa to division title
Fan Confidence Poll: August 31st, 2009
  • steve (different one)

    wow. nailed it cold.

    • Renny Baseball

      I agree with Joe’s post and welcome a sophistication about this. At this point, the team is really left with choices of imperfect, flawed solutions with Joba to preserve his inning limits.

      My problem with this remains the absence of any planning from the start of the year and the sense that now this new post-All Star break edition of the “rules” was born out of panic. All of this breeds mistrust in the decision-making now.

      If Joba was limited to 160 innings from the start of the year, why were his innings pitched per start not monitored from his very first start? Or, what about an extended spring training for Joba? Girardi’s claim that there was a plan in place all year rings very hollow and dishonest.

      Instead, it appears as though the decision-makers (I don’t know if he gets lumped in with Cashman or not) acted brashly as though someone tapped them on the shoulder and reminded them mid-way through the year to shift courses. Doesn’t change how Joba should be managed going forward but it does suggest negligence by the team. Also, I am not sure that, adding post-season starts (and “all hands on board” approach), keeps his inning limits within the safe range of innings tacked on to those he pitched previously (highest total or last year, I believe?) I hope Joba is healthy and effective next year but it will be interesting if, even after all of the hyper-management of the innings, his season takes a hit given that the team’s management is not inspiring a lot of confidence in managing this pitcher.

    • Joe G

      Utter nonsense. The Yankees have mishandled Joba and you know. If I wanted such a nonsensical, I would of just turned on the YES Network, not an affiliated blog.

      Joe G

  • http://161stStreet.wordpress.com Chris A

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • steve (different one)

    He suggests they do it in the minors.

    this is particularly hilarious.

    i am sure this would bring zero criticism….

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

      It’s also utterly moot.

      If you’re going to have Joba throw 3 IP every five days in the minors to keep his innings down, you may as well just shut him down entirely and REALLY keep his innings down.

      Putting him in the minors accomplishes nothing of any value to anyone.

      • Bo

        How does our 4th best SP being in the minors help the team?

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

          Why are you asking me? YOU’RE AGREEING WITH MY POINT.

  • Greg G.

    Hey, Joe…a big “+1” for this post.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel


  • A.D.

    Honestly there’s no perfect solution. But I think the Yanks are A. doing the right thing by being cautious with the workload on young pitchers arms. B. Being smart with sticking to the basic plan, but willing to adapt and tweak appropraitely.

    People are going to complain to matter what, but only the Yankees brass is accountable & have jobs on the line around the teams success and Joba’s future health.

  • Dela G

    i just wanted to point out that the fletcher guy is stupid

    look at jeremy bonderman and nate robertson as pitchers who were abused with no regard for innings and come back to me

    Dr James Andrews and other noted doctors say plans like this make sense, so who gives a flying crap what people with no research think about a pitcher on a team with a 6 game lead in late august?

    fortunately for them, they don’t have to worry about having much regard for prior opinions because they can just go back on them like olney did with the column about alex if they are proven wrong…

    • steve (different one)

      well, he did say it on twitter so it must be true

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist


      Anyone who’s followed the minors for more than 5 minutes knows there have been a zillion guys with golden arms who have crashed and burned. Anything you can do to prevent that (or delay the day it inevitably happens) is worthwhile.

  • Mike Pop

    Logic for the win! You da man, Joe.

  • Drew

    Coming from someone who named his blog on the abuse of a pitcher, I find his opinion laughable. There is no “right” way to approach Joba’s limit. The Yanks tried one way, found it was not constructive, scratched it and are now coming at it from another angle.
    Guy’s like Kay argue “why waste Ace!!??” Okay, is it wasting a pitcher if you get earn a victory? Are we going to use Ace in every Joba “short start?” No. We’ll have relief in a few days. I can’t say the Yanks are right, I can’t say they’re wrong. I can say that they are approaching relatively uncharted territory(every arm is different) with caution. Guys like Kruk, Kay, Fletcher(not to compare the three), etc.. just bash our FO/Manager because it’s not how they would handle the situation.

    If you argue get him to 160 and shut him down, is the potential post season experience not valuable? If you want to spread out his starts, isn’t it fair to say the Yanks tried that and were displeased?
    Hopefully in ten years we look back on the Joba rules and cite them for preserving/protecting an extremely valuable arm.

    • Ed

      If you argue get him to 160 and shut him down, is the potential post season experience not valuable?

      I’m against the shut him down early approach because they’ve made it clear they won’t give his rotation spot to Hughes, leaving no attractive alternatives.

      However, in this case, I’d argue postseason experience is counterproductive. They’re trying to limit his workload, but seem to be willing to push him further than most people seem to think is a good idea. They see to be aiming at 160 for the regular season, whereas most people think 160 should be the total for the year. Postseason innings are going to be more stressful than regular season games. It seems kinda silly to talk about limiting his workload, push the limit kinda far, then tack on some extra stressful work on top of that.

      • Drew

        In defense of the Yanks, they aren’t pushing his limit kinda far. They are going out of their way to avoid this.

        • Ed

          I’m going to disagree with you here. I realize they’re trying hard to limit him, but, their limit seems to be higher than you’d expect.

          He’s pitched about 134 innings so far and has 5-6 starts to go. Based on what we know, he’ll end the season with at least 150 innings, most likely 160. Then if all goes well, he’ll get a few more starts in the playoffs. We’re looking 170-180 innings if the team plays a lot of games in October.

          He threw about 100 innings last year, and 110 the year before. In ’06 he threw 90 innings in college and 38 in winter ball. I’m a little hesitant to count that blindly, as Joba’s college season was interrupted by injury, leading to a pretty large time gap between the college innings and the Hawaiian innings.

          No matter what, Joba is blowing past his totals of the prior two years by any measure. If you go by Verducci’s +30 IP rule and modify it a little to go by previous high rather than the previous season, you’re right at the limit when the regular season ends.

          Obviously the Yankees know more than we do, but, based on the information available to us, it seems to me that they’re pushing him a further than they should.

          • Drew

            I don’t totally disagree with you. We just have to consider that Joba may not even be the third starter come post season. It all depends on AP. 180 IP is not irrational at all, it is somewhat wishful thinking when you consider what it takes to get him there though. That’s what, 3-4 starts from what may be our #4 starter come post-season?

  • steve (different one)

    it is amazing how many out of work pitching coaches have blogs these days

  • http://hardballtimes.com/main/blog dan


  • adeel

    This current idea is probably the best they have. They keep in him the routine, and as long as they have a sizeable lead it’s the best solution. Maybe it’s not a perfect comparison, but I look at what Verlander and Lincecum are being put under, and I mean, how are they NOT going to be injured next year?

    1) I just hope they don’t piggy back Aceves to him… Even with September Call-ups, I wouldn’t put this past them…. The yankees tend to do something smart and follow that up with something half-stupid

    2) As far as Joba’s velocity, He is gotta be holding back. I just feel Joba’s main concern is to have one injury-free season. Yeah, why would someone hold back in an mlb game? But I just don’t buy how somedays he can be 91-92, thne 93-95.

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob A from BBD

      You are right, his velocity does range around quite a bit. I really hope it has nothing to do any injury he might have. Even if it’s nothing serious, just watching the Mets and Brian Bruney makes me worried about these guys playing hurt.

      • Salty Buggah

        It kinda concerns me too. But he has the stuff to live without it and I have noticed he dials it up to 96 mph when a good batter is up or he needs a crucial out. Then after that, he goes back down to 91-92.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      Another explanation (that I’ve heard Giradi say in interviews) is that Joba is throwing more 2-seamers this year.

      I think the velocity thing is a non-issue. The manager has said he’s throwing more 2-seamers to try to get quick outs and we’ve seen Joba top out at 97 MPH during starts this year. That’s consistent with the scouting reports we heard of him as a starter before he was called up to the majors.

      • Chris

        I tend to think the answer is that he’s throwing a 2-seam fastball now. I remember when he was injured last year and came back that he talked about working on a 2-seamer during his rehab to help get quicker outs.

        The only issue that I have with this explanation is that his ground ball rate is actually down slightly from last year.

        • pete

          well yeah, he’s throwing the two seamer. just kinda sucking at it. I don’t think this is really uncommon though – Verlander came up throwing 98, then was at 92-93 the next year and also struggled mightily, and now he’s back up there. patience…

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist


  • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

    Well, I WAS going to post a YouTube url linking to the scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton beats the living fuck out of that blonde kid, but noooo, God damn YouTube doesn’t have any of the fight scenes – just a bunch of lame-ass music videos.

    • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

      Oh, and “+1” to the post and all that good stuff.

      *continues to flip-off YouTube*

    • Drew

      Those repetitive showings of fight club on AMC got you too, eh? I must have watched it 4 times this week.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        Actually, no, *the scene literally just popped into my head as I was reading this post. However, now I’m a bit peeved that I missed all such showings.

        *OK, that’s a lie, I was thinking about that scene earlier yesterday because – like Joe – I was getting a bit frustrated – via Twitter – from the constant criticisms of the new “Joba Rules.”

  • YankeeJosh

    Well if Joba keeps pitching 3 innings, they’ll have to build him up again. Joba should have about 6 starts left. I’d at least like the Yankees to alternate between “long” (5 innings) and “short” Joba starts so he stays built up. Joba should go 5 next outing, then 3 (or 4), then 5 and so on.

    Otherwise, sending Joba out to start for just 3 innings time after time just hurts the team, especially before rosters expand.

    I would have preferred the Ynaks hold off on the really short starts until after 9/1 at least.

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “I’d at least like the Yankees to alternate between ‘long’ (5 innings) and ‘short’ Joba starts so he stays built up. Joba should go 5 next outing, then 3 (or 4), then 5 and so on.”

      I think instead of yo-yo’ing him like that they should let him throw a lighter workload for the next 3-4 starts and then use the last 2-3 starts of the season to gradually stretch him back out as they get ready for the playoffs, and I think this is the Yankees’ actual plan.

      • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob A from BBD

        I think you are right. It seems like a pretty good idea. Hopefully he comes on strong by the end of the month.

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


        Again, to be blunt, we don’t really care about what Joba the Starting Pitcher looks like from mid-August to mid-September.

        All that matters is he uses the last two weeks of September to round himself back into dominance. These next three weeks of Joba are utterly meaningless.

    • Salty Buggah

      Well, rosters will have expanded by the time Joba’s next start rolls around.

    • Dela G

      you are aware they aren’t going to keep him at 3 innings every time, right?

    • Drew

      Saving Joba for the post-season and winning his short starts is hardly hurting the team.
      Also, it’s one 3 inning start.

  • Nick

    Andrew Fletcher isn’t the best source to quote when talking about baseball related. Unless of course, you need advice on drinking games.

    • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

      If that was supposed to be funny, it was not. Fletch knows baseball, and is a very popular Yankees blogger. I thought commenting wasn’t supposed to involve dissing one another, RAB?

      • Salty Buggah

        It didn’t really seems like a diss to me. Joe merely pointing out how some have bashed the Joba Rules lately and Andrew was one of them, that’s all. Joe didn’t take a shot at him anything or call him anything.

        • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

          Telling a Yankees blogger that he doesn’t know baseball is a diss. Maybe it’s not banned from RAB comments, but it is still a put down.

        • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

          Oh, and I am not saying that Joe dissed Fletch, I’m talking about Nick (the one I replied to). Sorry for the confusion.

          • Salty Buggah

            Oh, Gotcha.

      • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “I thought commenting wasn’t supposed to involve dissing one another, RAB?”

        I think there’s a difference between lobbing personal insults at other commenters and making a comment about the subject of an RAB post.

        • Drew

          Nick also took a quality jab at AF, the game was one of SPA’s most popular posts.

    • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

      I have a brother named Nick, and I’m hoping he isn’t the person who made the above comment.

  • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Fantastic post.

    (Extra slow, standing, end of “Can’t Buy Me Love” style golf clap)

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

    Obviously, I agree with the general thrust of this post. Joba shouldnt go go go, arm strength be damned.

    But regarding Proctor’s Arm–it’s a tweet. People twitter nowadays, and 140 characters is often too few to make a complete argument. If you want to argue with whether or not twitter sucks and is dumbing things down in certain ways, that’s fine. But people dont write essays on twitter for a reason.

    With that in mind, maybe an e-mail offering him a guest post, or just a tweet asking him to elaborate on his blog. He’s still entitled to his opinions, whether he argues them comprehensively on twitter or not. Perhaps he didnt deserve getting called out.

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

      With that in mind, maybe an e-mail offering him a guest post, or just a tweet asking him to elaborate on his blog *would have been better.*

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I hear you, but disagree. Joe noted that Fletcher’s comments were made via twitter, it’s not like Joe didn’t acknowledge that fact. In addition, if you go read his twitter feed, you’ll see he made more than one comment about this issue. He put that stuff out there via twitter, that was his call. It’s fair game.

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

        Hm, yeah, you’re right. I jumped the gun by posting before actually looking at his feed. Someone did ask him about it and he said they should do it in the minors, which is ridiculous considering it’s like a week before the minors’ season is over.

        Dumb by Proctor’s arm. I still might advocate asking him to elaborate before calling him out, though. At least he’d have to think about it, realize they cant do it in the minors, and renege on his position with more dignity.

        • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob A from BBD

          I think this is a good idea. Give him a chance to stand up for himself. I like reading his blog, would be nice to see him get a chance here.

          • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

            Agreed Rob. And I’ll make sure he does because I’m talking to him tomorrow.

          • Drew

            IMO, he’s got a shot to defend his opinion, he has a blog.
            One may argue that his twitter is merely a hook to get us to discuss his blog/opinion. If it was, it was extremely successful.
            That said, if RAB asks him to do a guest post, I’ll read it.

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Oh, yeah, I think you have a point about the difference between someone writing something on twitter and them writing it in another form like a blog post or article. It’s an interesting point. Like I said, I think it’s fine because the use of twitter was noted and the author(s) chose to put those statements out there for public consumption, but I certainly think you have a reasonable point, as well.

          • Bo

            The guy is obviously off his rocker. How can anyone advocate him throwing as many innings as he can? Its kind of ridiculous. You cant take the guy seriously.

  • Salty Buggah

    Joe, for the post:


  • Ed

    The minor league season ends rather soon, and as we’ve argued many times, Joba might not learn much by pitching down there. He has the stuff to destroy minor leaguers. At least he’s being challenged in the majors.

    I’m not sure I totally agree with this.

    In 2007 and 2008, he was dominating the majors. Not a huge sample obviously, but he dominated from both the pen and the rotation.

    2009 is a different story. For reasons we don’t know, he’s pitching with less velocity, and he’s been no where near as effective as he used to be. He’s not the same pitcher he was last year, so I don’t think his performance in the minor 2 years ago necessarily corresponds to what you can expect today.

    • Salty Buggah

      Maybe you’re right but that doesn’t matter much for Joe’s main point. But I see what you’re trying to say.

  • Salty Buggah

    Thank Mo, his innings limit will be gone next year so some people can shut up. Unfortunately, Hughes Rules will get bashed next year.

    • Drew

      Oh boy… Imagine when Philly doesn’t hit 96 on the gun.

      • Salty Buggah

        : shivers at the thought:

        If he is only 90-92, people will say he’s injured, Yanks are dumb, he sucks, or that he needs to go back in the pen.

        • Zack

          I barely made it through this season, dont know if I can stand another year

          • Drew

            The only hope is that Joba is dominant next year and people argue that Hughes should be treated identically to Jober. It’s a stretch… I know.

            • Zack

              Maybe, we can only hope.
              Plus the emergence of DRob/Melancon and a healthy/effective Marte might also quiet the talk.
              But then again, it’s always going to be something.

            • VO

              If he’s dominant next year then were gonna hear how we should have thrown the innings limit out of the window so we could have a great starter.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Does he need an innings cap though? His career high is 146 innings in 2006. Then add 30 for a raw outcome and he’ll almost be at 180.

      • Salty Buggah

        Yea true but 2006 is so far removed from 2010. I’m guessing maybe Hughes can pretty much the whole season and as a 5th starter (Mo forbid any injury happens to the other starter) he probably wont need to go 180.

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

      Unfortunately, Hughes Rules will get bashed next year.

      Which is why I still want the Yankees to try my idea of avoiding Hughes pitching beyond his innings limit by artificially delaying his season start.

      Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February and build up their arm over 6 weeks to be ready to start in April. Hughes reports in mid-February but doesn’t start throwing until mid-March, stays in EXST, and joins the team in May instead of April.

      Cut a month off his season like we did this year with Joba, but do it in April instead of in August and September.

      • BackCheck


        I agree with this plan™. This is what they should have done with Joba.

        I wholeheartedly agree with the buildup into the offseason, and applaud the Yankees for changing the original plan™ mid-season. ;)

  • Zack

    “May I suggest, though, that you go out tomorrow and add 50 pounds to your bench presses and 3 miles to your daily run. Then see how you feel the next day.”

    I’d die on the spot

    • Salty Buggah

      Yea me too, unless I walked the last 3 miles. I recently took a 2 and half week off (I actually went to the gym once in that time though) break from lifting and now am starting again. I usually max out at 265 lbs but I could barely do 215. I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I was doing 265 for the 1st time.

      So Joba is pitching in an unchartered spot. He’s needs to live with the fatigue if he gets it or else it may lead to bad mechanics and injuries.

      • Drew

        Heh, we have similar numbers, though, I’ve been repping 215-225 for about 3 years now. A classic case of mental/physical wall.

        • Salty Buggah

          I had been stuck at 200 for 2 years until January this year I got a sudden increase after taking 4 months off. I have no idea why (actually I think it may be because I lift at like 8:30 in the night and had gotten about an average of 4 hours of sleep because of school so I was extremely tired but whenever I got my sleep like for weekends, I’d jump 30 lbs immediately)

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      Oh come on. Adding 50 pounds to your bench presses would make a grand total of . . . 50 pounds, right?

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I liked the extended rest thing better. Granted he was great once with it and was meh the others but personally I don’t like him pitching like 3 innings a game or whatever pitch count he’s limited too.

    But as long as he doesn’t work too much this season which the Yankees won’t do. So really the Yankees have to limit his innings and I’m glad that they aren’t making the risk of him getting injured or the risk of him sucking.

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

      I disagree totally.

      3 IP in regular rest >>>>>>>> 5 or 6 IP on irregular rest

      • toad


        Do you think that’s better physically?

        I wonder if there may be an advantage to pitching 5-6 innings into a game. Maybe you learn more about varying approaches to hitters, figuring out which pitches are working, etc. In other words, maybe you learn more about being a starter that way.

        Just a thought.

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

          Yes, I think it’s better physically.

          I’d like Joba to go more than 3 innings, but if the choice is 3 innings on a regular rest rhythm or 6 innings on an irregular pattern, I’ll take regular rest. It’s the lesser of two evils by far.

          Pitchers love, need, and crave rhythm. I think the injury risk decreases and the quality of Joba’s stuff probably increases.

          Yes, Joba needs to keep learning how to go deep into games and turn a lineup over, but we have to make a compromise of some sort, because we can’t just let him keep throwing with no limit. This compromise is the smartest.

  • adeel

    On a semi-related note, I used to have my car tuned to WFAN so that I could get some sort of Yankees fix while driving. This Joba thing (and Roy Halladay to the mets) have made it pointless to listen to… (although it’s still fun to hear them talk about the mets).

  • Rich

    I tend to agree with you, that you cannot just send out a kid and let them throw 220 innings, and not expect bad things to happen. I also agree, if the Yankees shut him down after 160 innings, the NY media crowd would go nuts, and so would the fans. Last year, the Phillies let Hamels go 260 plus innings, and it worked out fine, but this year he’s struggling with his command. It’s a tough balance with thinking long term and trying to win now.

    • Drew

      It didn’t work our fine for them short term, it worked out great. Long term is yet to be seen. I wonder though, if they had Lee(Ace-Vet), would they have worked Hamels so much? Tough to say, I can’t really blame them for doing it though.

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

      Struggling with his command? His BB/9 is 2.0 this year. In terms of peripherals, Hamels is having a good year, except when it comes to hits. He’s giving up a few too many but his K/9 is good, his BB/9 is good, and his K/BB is good. His FIP is also only 4.07 and his tRA+ is at 118 so it’s not like he’s giving up crazy hard contact. He’s just having a bad luck year in terms of ERA; could that .329 BABIP have something to do with it? Probably.

      /Hamels fan boy

  • Salty Buggah

    This comment from earlier today is hilarious and all sorts of wrong.


    • Drew

      At least he put some thought into it..

      “A” for effort?

    • JGS


      notice also how even the Rangers began using elaborate rules designed to save the arm of a guy with an arm really worth saving (Feliz)

  • Omar

    I agree in large part with the post, though mostly due to Chamberlain’s performance this year. He’s struggled with his command, he struggles to get through the sixth, and at times he’s looked like Ian Kennedy with a bad change up and no curveball. He’s had dominating promising starts, but I feel like more and more he’s looked mediocre. With today’s start he went three innings with one strikeout and a 2-5 G/F I had no problem with taking him out because he wasn’t dealing. If he had a sub four ERA a K/9 over 9 and a K/BB of around threeish, I’d say that he’s been pitching well and it looks like he can handle a starter’s workload, obviously I’d cap him at some point…but I’d have a soft cap innings but a more strict cap on the pitchcounts. However, that isn’t the case…clearly something’s up with him and IMO the Yankees are making the right decision. Lincecum was brought up and I feel it’s a terrible comparison, Lincecum has been flat out awesome every step of his career. He’s already showing demonstrable improvements on a season where he won the Cy Young Award. Furthermore, he has a clean injury history and receives rave reviews about his mechanics from people who know pitching mechanics, teamed with a slender, athletic, and extremely sexy body. Chamberlain has none of those things going for him, he’s received questionable reviews on his mechanics, and has had a long injury history coupled with injury concerns since he was in college…he’s also fat and out of shape.

    • Salty Buggah

      He has an “extremely sexy body” huh? Haha Someone has a man-crush (unless a woman is named Omar) on Timmy. ;)

      • Omar

        I have a Tim Lincecum Fat Head in every room of the house

        • Jersey


    • Riddering

      Hey, buddy, sexy bodies are in the hands of the holders!


  • chriso

    Joba rules?

    Joba fools.

    What he needs is coaching.
    He might benefit from this innings limit thing. But he’d DEFINITELY benefit from some coaching.

    “Hey, Joba…go easy on the beer in between starts.”

    “Hey, Joba, get your jogging in every day.”

    “Hey, Joba, listen to Jorge…he knows a few things.”

    “Hey, Joba, get your weight fully back down on your right foot before you start your forward movement.”

    “Hey, Joba, get tough.”

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      “Hey, Joba, get tough.”

      Yeah! That’s what I keep telling Mark Prior! Get tough!

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

        Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such self-help videos as “Smoke Yourself Thin” and “Get Confident, Stupid!”.

    • pat

      This is so stupid. You have absolutely no evidence of any of this crap you’re just making assumptions based on his appearance. Idiotic.

      • Jersey

        LOL, I wouldn’t have been so blunt but yeah, this.

    • Riddering

      I needed a good laugh this morning. Thanks!

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Amen Joe P, amen.

    I’m sure the ‘just let him pitch’ crowd won;t care, but his career high before this year was 118.2 IP in 2005, his first year in Nebraska. As it is, 160+ innings represents a huge jump over that total and last years total, so going slowly makes sense to me.

    This just isn’t something Brian Cashman or Tom Verducci dreamed up, it’s the result of years of studies by Orthopedic surgeons like Dr James Andrews. If you want the Yanks to be tough and dismissive of these findings, that would put you in line with what Omar Minaya and Tony Bernazard were saying in April of this year, and we all know what happened there.

    Doctors orders, ignore them at your own risk.

    • Jersey


      I just don’t understand how arguing about Joba brings out the stupid in people. I always thought it was self-evident why you’d let Joba fail in the rotation before you move him to the pen, and now it’s nearly equally self-evident why you’d want to control his innings before he Prior’s his way out of baseball.

      In all of these debates, it’s like people would rather make a forceful argument than be correct or offer empirically-based judgements.

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

        In all of these debates, it’s like people would rather make a forceful argument than be correct or offer empirically-based judgements.

        No, that can’t possibly be correct. Nobody does that.

        Fox News

  • Miami Mike

    Hah. Great post.

    Could someone please forward this to John Kruk? His rant about the way the Yankees are handling Joba on SportsCenter made zero sense. It was awkward to watch. Someone please tell that guy the Yankees are 34 games above .500.

    (Kruk needs to get over whatever vendetta he has against the Yankees … maybe he never got a contract offer from them at the end of his career?)

  • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

    For the people who think Joba can throw a ton of innings I don’t think you know what your talking about.

    When you don’t take innings into account bad things happen.

    1. Carmona. Previous high inning was 102.1, then in 07 he went to 215. 112.2 increase. 07 He had a era+ of 152 since then ERA+ of 82 in 08 and ERA+74 this year. Carmona also has a great pitchers frame. 6’4″ and 200 lbs.

    2. Cole Hamels. Went from a career high 183 innings to last year 262 innings. Now most of that was because of the post season. But his ERA+ last year was 142, this year it’s ERA+96. His whip last year was 1.082, this year it’s 1.337 this year. His hit/9 went from last year 7.6 to 10

    3. Pelfrey. While he is a Met he looked last year as if he had turned the corner. I remember I believe Mike saying this is why that the Yanks shouldn’t be worried about Hughes because sometimes it takes some time for a pitcher to turn it around. Lat year Pelfrey’s ERA+ was 113, this year it’s ERA+ of 88. His WHIP last yer awas 1.360 to this year 1.517

    These are just 3 examples of what happens when pitchers jump up big time in innings. Now there is Jon Lester. He jumped up huge lat year an 83 inning increase. Last year his ERA+ was 144, this year it’s 132. Now is Lester the exception or the rule?

    I think Lester is the exception. I say this because when Lester came up he was throwing in the low 90’s mostly. Now he is throwing a lot harder now. I also wouldn’t consider Lester a max effort pitcher so the ball is coming out easier out of his hand then Joba.

    I would rather Joba do what he’s doing now so that they might be able to miss on an injury. Do the innings even really matter right now? I would say no to that.

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

      2. Cole Hamels. Went from a career high 183 innings to last year 262 innings. Now most of that was because of the post season. But his ERA+ last year was 142, this year it’s ERA+96. His whip last year was 1.082, this year it’s 1.337 this year. His hit/9 went from last year 7.6 to 10


    • Tank Foster

      Jake, your post is superficially persuasive, but in reality, it proves nothing.

      Cherry picking a few examples to support an argument is faulty reasoning.

      First of all, pitchers’ performance varies from year to year. For every year like Carmona’s and Hamel’s, I can probably find one of a pitcher who, in the middle of his career, with no change in workload, had a year much worse than the prior one.

      Pitching is hard on the arm. As I wrote in another post, the whole basis of Tom Verducci’s year after rule is faulty. He followed a cohort of pitchers whose workloads increased markedly, and looked at their effectiveness and injuries the following year. Trouble is, he didn’t follow a matched cohort of pitchers who didn’t violate his rule. If 20% of pitchers who break the rule break down the following year, this is only bad if it’s higher than the rate for pitchers who don’t break the rule. Verducci never established a control group.

      There are so many other possible things that confound the year after rule….For example, any pitcher who in year ‘a’ pitches many more innings than he ever has before probably had a very good year, probably one of his best. This is almost always going to be true, because you don’t get to pitch alot of innings unless you are having success. Otherwise, you get yanked. So the year after rule is probably selecting out pitchers who had a very good year for them. It’s only natural that they might do worse the next year, and revert to their mean.

      I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t make sense that too much pitching might be bad for your arm. Of course this makes sense. But it’s an entirely different thing to establish a quasi-magic number and act as if it were etched on a tablet on Mount Ararat.

      As for what to do now with Joba, of all the options, I like the current one best. Let him continue to pitch regularly, but just yank him early. When the playoffs come, give him a little more rope. But they should be using innings numbers as just one of several data points in assessing him. If he feels strong, seems to have good velocity, etc., maybe you give him a bit more rope. If he were under his limit, but were having pain, or something looked off in his mechanics, or whatever else pitching coaches look at to assess a pitcher’s health, then you shut him down no matter what the innings numbers say. I would think that getting regular arm/shoulder MRI’s on young pitchers wouldn’t be a bad idea. To have something objective to correlate with workload, velocity data, etc.

      I could rewind the season, however, what I would rather have seen done is for the Yankees to put Joba on a once-a-week or once every 8-10 day pitching schedule. Yeah, this would create some logistical challenges, integrating him with pitchers on different schedules. But if the real goal is to do the best possible thing in developing Joba’s arm, I would have figured out how often he can pitch in order to pitch a full season on a regular schedule and hit a reasonable workload limit. If that meant 25 starts, then I just map out those 25 starts regularly over the year.

      • http://twitter.com/Hopjake Jake H

        Tank I agree with a lot of your points. I think that a lot needs to go into how many innings jump a pitcher can do. Build is one, what type of delivery the guy has and many others.

        While I don’t think Verducci’s rule is the hard and fast rule I do think there should be some merit placed with it. I think the premise is what we should look at. What I mean is that pitchers shouldn’t see a huge jump because there could be problems in the future.

  • donttradecano

    +1 million for this post joe.

  • Pingback: On the Joba Rules

  • bottom line

    Excellent post. Joba should be protected and this is as good a way as any.

    I am concerned though that the Yankees remain a bit short when compared with Boston especially in the pen. Beyond Marano and Phil, no truly trustworthy options. I have always believed Aceves is our best option for back-up starter. If by some miracle, Cash could secure another arm for the pen today (rpt.–today) that would free Ace for such duty. Mitre is a mirage at best. Gaudin, very inconsistent. Any injury to a key arm from here puts us in deep trouble for the playoffs. It may be impossible to get anyone of value at this point off waivers, but I hope money is not the isue. Not when we’re this close.

    • Jersey

      Robertson? Marte, who has looked good? Bruney and his 0.90 ERA in August? Even Melancon, who I think could shine if finally given the chance when rosters expand? Overall I’m feeling really good about bullpen personnel.

  • Bill

    I definitely agree with limiting Joba’s innings to keep him healthy for years to come. However I felt this is something the Yankees probably could’ve monitored all year long instead of just addressing it now. Luckily the Yankees are in a position where we can afford to have one of our top 4 starters pitch less down the stretch, but if we were truly fighting to make the playoffs could the Yankees really be doing what they are now?

    Throughout the year the Yankees should’ve skipped several of Joba’s starts. That probbably could’ve knocked off 20 innings or so and this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    I think they’re handling the situation well right now, but their plan seems to constantly be changing. They could’ve mapped this out a lot better and had a plan that spread out his rest across the season.

    I think part of the reason Joba is struggling is because he has pitched a lot of innings in a relatively short period of time. His innings have also been pretty high stress level with high pitch counts.

    Going forward I like their current plan, but to be honest I’d almost be in favor of shutting him down for a couple weeks to see what would happen. Some say the extended rest has hurt him and the results may indicate that, but he was at his best this year right after the all-star break. Maybe he needs more time off instead of less, but I’m willing to give the current plan a chance.

    • Chris

      They saw the problem with skipping starts earlier in the season last year. Joba got injured, and never reached his innings limit. If you could guarantee that he would he healthy all year, then you certainly would want to skip the starts early in the season. Unfortunately, even a rather mundane injury (like getting hit by a comebacker) can cause you to miss a start or two, which could be enough to keep him off is innings limit.

      Another challenge in managing these innings at the major league level is that everyone notices when they change the way he’s being used. No one cares that Brackman and Banuelos are only going 2 innings per outing in the minors, but it’s the #1 topic on blogs when they do a similar thing with Joba.

      • Bill

        Fair, but in the interest of trying to keep him healthy and fresh all year it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to skip a few of his starts earlier on. Yes, you run the risk of him getting injured and falling short on his innings, but by not spreading out his rest over the course of the season you probably increase the chance of an injury and also put the team and Joba in a situation where rest is more forced whereas a few skipped starts throughout the season maintains less work.

        As for the comparisons to Brackman and Banuelos no one talks about that because they are in the minors. Still Brackman and Banuelos aren’t being geared up to pitch 6 innings later in the year. Joba is getting rest now and then has to ramp up again for the playoffs. That’s a decent amount of stress on his arm to go from having 8 days between starts then pitch 3 innings a start on regular rest and work up to 6+ innings. The back and forth probably does not help.

        While certainly not the same you could almost equate this to playing Jorge nearly everday throughout the year and then resting him now to get him ready for the playoffs. The way to keep a player fresh is to give him rest throughout the year.

  • Makavelli

    You’re right about the criticism if they did shut down Joba after his innings limit and had to resort to Mitre or Gaudin…but criticism is meaningless. People criticize and complain about literally everything. Things are going great right now and people are still complaining (myself included). People will always complain. Anybody that listens to WFAN and hears the Mets fans call in knows that (albeit, their calls as of late are pretty understandable).

    There isn’t an easy answer to this. Because while you’d complain that Joba is shut down and Mitre and Gaudin are in there…you’ll also complain if Joba is pitching the way he’s been pitching since they started tinkering with his starts…they haven’t been good. So what’s the difference? Would you rather have an ineffective Joba starting in the #4 spot? Or would you rather have Mitre or Gaudin? I still don’t understand why they didn’t do the Hughes/Joba switch. This would seemingly solve everything. If he can only pitch a few innings per start…why not move him to the bullpen and try and work Hughes into the starting rotation.

    If we’re this comfortable with tinkering with Joba. Why can’t we be comfortable with stretching out Hughes somehow back into the starter role…doing so very carefully. With this lead on the Sox, why aren’t we comfortable doing that?

    Then you could maybe have a Hughes/Joba start…where Hughes pitches so many innings and Joba comes in and pitches a few more in the same start…then you can do whatever from there?

    • SM

      “Why can’t we be comfortable with stretching out Hughes somehow back into the starter role…doing so very carefully. With this lead on the Sox, why aren’t we comfortable doing that?”

      I think Joba last year has them scared of this. The risk/reward at this point is just not there. I do think Hughes should be getting more innings out of bullpen like when he throws under 10 pitches he can come out for another inning.

  • Doug

    I like this better than “Joba Rules Part II” where his starts were random days apart, but me, I would have gone with:

    3) swap Joba and Hughes two weeks ago

    Joba’s innings are limited (for next year and beyond), Hughes’ innings are built up (for next year and beyond). In Hughes, you have a viable (presumably) #4 starter for September and the playoffs. In Joba, you have a viable (presumably) 8th inning guy for September and the playoffs.

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

      I don’t think they wanted to do that because going from ‘pen to rotation burned Joba last year. What I think they could’ve done, and I remember Mike suggested it in a chat before the season started, is have one of them piggyback the other’s starts. Yesterday, it wouldn’t have worked too well because Hughes can’t pitch more than two innings with how he’s been used. However, they could extend Hughes by one inning each time out there to give him some innings and limit Joba’s. Ideally, you have Joba go 5 and Phil go the rest of the way.

      • Doug

        well, it looks like that aceves’ role right now.

        as far as not moving hughes into the rotation because of what happened to joba last year, i hear you but i just don’t agree with it. completely different situations, completely different pitchers

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

          What’s nice about the long guy thing is that it was only an issue for yesterday’s start. The roster expanding tomorrow will most certainly make it easier for the Yankees to patch together short starts (for anyone, not just Joba).

          • Doug

            Very true

            I see Joba limited to 3 innings next time out as well. Had 7 more starts including yesterday: 3,3,4,4,5,5,6

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

              Hm, I think it’ll be 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6 instead. We’ll have to just wait and see.

              • Doug

                yeah, that was the alternative. and you might be right with so few pitches thrown yesterday.

  • DamnYankeeinDixie

    Joba has been treated with kid gloves for almost a year now(after troubles with Mom{drugs} and his own DUI situation). My humble opinion, Joba needed to step away from the game for a season, get his personal life in order and return focused. I believe we were all smitten with the great numbers of ’08 but look at the decline since, in most stats, including a sizable jump in ERA and WHIP. Here is a guy with born talents who just needs to step away and come back a new man.

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

      So, spending a year not pitching will help him get better? That doesn’t make much sense. He’s struggling because he’s 23 and is in his first full season as a starting pitcher. His development is far from over and I’d expect him to get better next year and the year after.

      • Chris

        Joba Chamberlain at age 23 in the AL East:
        4.38ERA, 1.1HR/9, 4.4BB/9, 7.7K/9, 1.77K:BB

        Tim Lincecum at age 23 in the NL West:
        4.00ERA, 0.7HR/9, 4.0BB/9, 9.2K/9, 2.31K:BB

        • Omar

          Lincecum had a 3.63 FIP and Chamberlain has a 4.63. I honestly don’t see what you’re getting at, yeah Lincecum was just making the transition to the major leagues…he also flashed a plus plus fastball that AVERAGED 94.2, and at least a plus breaking ball in just about every start. Whereas, Chamberlain has spent half of his starts looking like a crappier Ian Kennedy.

    • Yankee1010

      Yep, this would have solved everything.

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

    Another part of this that is hard to deal with for the fans and the media is the merely the fact that it is going on. The development of a young starting pitcher, and his subsequent growing pains, is something that Yankee fans and media people alike have not seen in a very, very long time. As a whole, these people, quite frankly, don’t seem to know how to react.

    • Doug

      most definitely. and these are the reactions of the uninformed.

  • Bo

    How can anyone recommend that a young pitcher throw as many innings as possible?

    This isn’t 1964. Join 2009 and then enter the discussion. Stop comparing young pitchers to Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson.

    Maybe if they took better care of Koufax he would have lasted 10 more years.

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

      You mentioned Sandy Koufax. Now, Jon Miller’s and Joe Morgan’s ears are going to prick up, they’ll drop what they’re doing, and discuss Sandy for the next 10-15 minutes, without paying a bit of attention to what they’re doing.

    • SM

      Agreed. It is a classic case of Selection Bias, you know the pitchers who pitched a lot of innings because those were the ones who did not get injured. All the inuries are from guys you never heard about because they got hurt.

      If someone is going to say I do not care about innings, that is a fair point, but realize the risks that are associated with such thinking.

  • Tank Foster

    Just as an aside, I find it astounding that on a blog where the participants are, for the most part, doggedly faithful to objective reasoning with respect things such as statistical analysis of player performance, etc., there is not more skepticism about the Verducci et al year after rule.

    People get bashed on this site for saying things like “ARod is a choker,” or “Cano has a bad work ethic and it shows up in his sloppy fielding;” the usual response is a stream of objective statistics that blow the complainer out of the water.

    So why the adherence to a “rule” which is about as firm as an overcooked piece of vermicelli?

    If someone has unearthed a rigorous statistical study of this phenomenon, I’d like to see it.

    I emailed Tom Verducci and he was nice enough to exchange a few messages with me about it, and he didn’t have a data set to share, nor did he know of any rigorous statistical analysis of his data. As he said, it was just a thing he was interested in, and he intended it to be a rough guideline that pitching coaches might want to consider using.

    He admitted, there is no control group. As far as I can tell, nobody has looked at, for instance, a “year before” rule. As I wrote above, if you have a year where you pitch significantly more innings than you ever have, chances are it was a good year for you. The better you pitch, the longer you last into games, and the more innings you rack up. It’s likely that in that scenario, you’re pitching well, again probably better than you ever had.

    So if we compared a pitcher’s performance in year x to his performance in year x-minus-one (as opposed to year x + 1, as in the Verducci rule), my guess is that we’d find pitchers tend to do better than the year before when their innings pitched number jumps alot.

    Would anyone in their right mind use this as justification to rapidly ramp up the innings of a young pitcher? I doubt it.

    By the same token, freaking out about the ‘year after’ might be unwarranted.

    Just food for thought.

    • SM

      Tank have you even looked for such studies? Do you remember BP work on pitcher abuse points? Have you checked all the sports medicine journals? Have you emailed Ian Byram of Vandy or any other specialists in the field?

      Its very easy to just blow it off because the information is not right in front of your face (though it really is if you look at the high failure of pitching prospects…). I would hope that you think the yanks org is using better information that Tom Verduci and yourself but of course you do n ot give them that benefit.

      So I ask you this, Can you give me one Study that says overworking pitchers does NOT lead to increased injury?

      • Tank Foster

        I have looked at many of the sources you mentioned. As I said, I’ve never found a control group for the year after pitchers. Verducci himself said he was unaware of any.

        I’ve looked at the pithcer abuse points data, too, but again, my recollection was that the data – at least their presentation – lacked the relevant baseline numbers to compare to the “abused” pitchers.

        I can’t give you that study, no. As I said, I’ve looked, and I’ve found nothing that even approximates a true, rigorous, controlled study of any variable on the risk of injury or effect on performance in pitching. All you find on the web is sort of half-science. Fancy sounding, quantitative things, but without the proper rigorous statistical scrutiny that gives you confidence in what you’re reading.

        As I said, I’m not being a dork and saying that it doesn’t make sense that you risk injury if you push a pitcher too far. Obviously, this would be true; it’s true in any athletic endeavor that the risk of injury becomes a factor when you overtrain or over exert yourself.

        But deciding exactly when and how you arrive at the tipping point for injury in pitching has not been established. Not even close. Again, if anyone has a link for something they think IS a rigorous, defensible, properly analyzed study on pitching, please give me the link. I’d love to read it and comment on it.

        • Tank Foster

          Sorry…no edit function on this thing…but SM, yes, I have googled and pubMed’d studies on pitching and injuries. Nothing has turned up relevant to usage.

          But to answer one more of your comments…I’m not blowing off the idea that a big increase in workload might be bad.

          What I’m saying is that specific “rules” should be disregarded, and that decisions on how to use a pitcher should be made by a team of knowledgable people, including managers, pitching coaches, trainers, and sports medicine folks. The decisions should be based on general principles of athletic training, specific knowledge of the athlete at hand, etc. Workload compared to prior years should be just one of many factors considered, and the consideration shouldn’t be too exacting in terms of numbers.

          • SM

            You need to have specific rules (and they should probably be overly cautious) or else you have nothing. You want to just wing it? That would contradict everything you say in your last paragraph. It appears the yankees had a few models they were working with but all generally in the same innings cap plan. The plan was made (I think) a long time ago by all the people you mention, which is how it should be done.

            • Tank Foster

              Not having specific rules is not the same thing as “winging” it. You are correct that the Yankees probably had a plan beginning the season, although they seemed to have changed course a few times recently. I said I like the way they’ve decided to handle it.

              My comments about the innings limits guidelines are an attempt to generate some discussion about the topic in the same way we scrutinize other matters of player evaluation on this site.

        • SM

          You are over thinking this.
          You have a perfect baseline to work with, look at the number or injuries that happen to pitching prospects. You are correct in saying that many variables that affect the injury outcome. The fact is not all variables are beneficial(i.e. you could have the pitcher stop pitching and injury p would get close to zero) or controllable (i.e. body type or past injury history). Your ‘tipping point’ argument is worthless because this is a multivariable process. What teams should do in baseball is control the factors they can control that gives them the best odds to avoid the bad outcomes. It is not a binary function.
          With joba you have multiple factors working against him that lead to higher rates of injury, velocity, sliders, past injury, etc.
          For your academic articles look at Journal of Sports Medicine (effect of pitch type, pitch count..isone)or Sports Health. Also not sure why you are just dismissing the BP work…

          • Tank Foster

            Either you’re not reading what I write, or I’m not doing a great job of explaining myself.

            I have looked for articles on pitchers. I have looked via google searches, and in medical databases that I use for my clinical work…search engines like PubMed. There are NO studies, meaning either case-controlled retrospective analyses, or even good case histories with imaging correlations, etc., showing a relationship between an increase in pitchers’ workload and the risk of injury.

            I’m not dismissing the baseball prospectus work. What I’m saying is that, as they present their work, they don’t give you a control group.

            Saying that 50 pitchers were injured this year could mean that pitchers a) always get injured, or b) almost never get injured; it all depends on the denominator. If you’re talking about 50 pitchers in a population of 500,000, that’s a pretty low rate. If it’s 50 of 50, then that’s another story.

            I don’t want to chew up bandwidth talking about pitcher abuse points. It’s a good concept and has some merit, but again it’s lacking in some ways, and it deals more with pitch counts than innings pitched, and the discussion of Joba concerns the usage of an innings limit for him.

            You mention “look at the number of injuries that happen to pitching prospects.” That’s just the point, SM: 1) that data isn’t available, anywhere, and 2) if it were available, and it showed a high injury rate, it would be making my entire point.

            You don’t seem to grasp what I’m saying about data. Reading blogs or baseball trade publications and seeing many articles about pitching prospects becoming injured is not, in any way, valuable, quantitative information. Of course we hear about injuries. But it makes a big difference if 25% of prospects wash out ever year, versus 40%. You have to know, exactly, what these numbers are before you can establish any significance to numbers like those Verducci has given us.

            • SM

              I grasp what you are saying but I am trying to point that you are wrong.

              you: There is no base case because there number of pitches that get hurt is always fairly high so the difference due to overuse is negligable.

              me: You cannot dismiss this because the goal is to avoid injuries (so it would be correct denominator).

              If you want to argue about the multiplier effect of a specific remedy (innings usage over time) that is fair. (i.e. does 10+ increase raise injury case 0.1%, 1% or 10%). The point is that it Increases it. Then is becomes a risk reward decision.

              • Tank Foster

                If I’m wrong, tell me what the denominator is then. I can’t find it. As specifically as you can, tell me the rate at which young pitchers get injured. If you can’t tell me something other than “lots of pitchers get injured,” then you haven’t proven me wrong.

                I’m not trying to be snarky…I’m asking.

                You wrote: “you: There is no base case because there number of pitches that get hurt is always fairly high so the difference due to overuse is negligable.”

                I’m not sure I follow you here. I’m saying that we know that Verducci et al think that pitchers who break his year after rule have a “high risk” of injury or performance lapse. What I’ve found, in researching this as best I can, is that:
                a) the actual rate of injury and performance loss among these “year after” pitchers isn’t known. I can’t find a number. All you find are anecdotes.
                b) even if we did know a specific rate of any kind (i.e., “27% of year after pitchers suffer an injury that sidelines them for at least half of the following season…”), that rate would be a meaningless number unless we knew the overall rate of injury of all pitchers that season, meaning also the ones who didn’t break his rule.

  • Joe

    In my opinion the way Joba has been handled is terrible. Any athlete needs consistency, Joba has had anything but that and to expect him to do well under these circumstances is unrealistic. The best course of action would have been what Tampa did with Price, hold Joba in the minors until late May or early June, if the yankees bothers to explain the plan at the start of the season some fans would complain like always but the vast majority would have accepted this, as for Wang getting hurt that’s too bad, the yanks and there endless resources would have had to go get someone else as Joba would not be available until later in the year.

    By spreading out is 150/160 innings over the whole year we have gotten several outings or 4 or 5 innings, and now yesterdays 3…this is leading to several problems…

    1) conditioning Joba to be a 6 inning 100 pitch pitcher
    2) bullpen overuse, this will catch up to the yanks over time and probably in the playoffs
    3) if the yanks make the playoff what to they expect from Joba? It will be almost 2 months since he had a decent start over 6 innings, to think he can just magically flip a switch and shut some team out for 7 is not going to happen

    Delaying his start of the season protects him long term and provides a good starter this year too, it is the best of both worlds, what they yanks have done this year is stupid, I just hope they learn next year with Hughes, but I am positive they will not

    • Doug

      but the difference between joba and price is that joba had an extra year last year in the majors. and it was a good year. would have been much, much harder to justify having him start the year in the minors.

  • Andy

    Late to this thread, maybe this has been discussed, but there is a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better option – put Joba in the pen and give Hughes his rotation spot – and then have the balls to ignore the B-Jobbers and put them both in the rotation next year. You replace your proven 8th inning guy who is way below his innings limit with your proven 8th inning guy who is rapidly approaching his innings limit, and you replace your solid 4th starter approaching his innings limit with a solid fourth starter way behind his innings limit. It just makes too much damn sense, they just lack the balls to do it, to mess with a “good thing.” Plus, they don’t want to feed into the B-Jobbers (Kruk is an idiot, by the way). But if they say to hell with public opinion, we need to do what’s best, which is put Joba in the pen even though we know he is a starter, then who cares if it feeds into those morons. They take care of two huge problems with no drop in productivity. It is so obvious, so simple, makes so much sense, it makes me seem like the only rational person on earth that this hasn’t gotten any traction….

    • Doug

      preaching to the choir….see 9:15 am

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

        doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right decision

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

          Of course it doesn’t mean that. That’s the whole point of the idiom.

          That’s what “That ship has sailed” means. It means I agree with you that what happened was wrong and a different course of action should have been chosen, but it’s too late now to do the right thing, because that opportunity is no longer here.


          • Doug

            sorry, i read simply that the decision was made, right or wrong, and you can’t look back on it

            guess that’s why i was a math major :-)

    • Zack

      Is it really a “MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better option”? They did the reverse of that last year and he went down with an injury.

      • Chris

        Don’t forget Aceves this year.

  • Bob Michaels

    My rules for Joba are this:Throw as hard as you can for 5 innings. Go to the mound to start the 6th. Girardi will go to the mound to remone you, you both will doff your caps and recieve a thunderous applause. Joe will reveal his Latest in his series of crewcuts, it will indicate that Joe is a genius or has gone mad.

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  • mtrico

    If the Yankess had an innings limit planned for Joba all along, he should have started the season in the pen and then moved to the rotation later in the season. What is going on now just looks plain stupid.

    • Chris

      They tried that last year and he got hurt and didn’t reach his innings limit.

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

        If the Yankees had an innings limit planned for Joba all along, he should have started the season in the pen he should have delayed his Spring Training and started his season in May instead of April and then moved to the rotation later in the season.

        Fixed it for both of ya.

        • Tank Foster

          I think the idea of just starting his season late is a decent one, since it allows him to integate normally with other pitchers, and last into postseason without any finagling.

          But on another level, it’s almost counterintuitive. If you are trying to develop endurance and strength, generally you train pretty continuously, at an even pace, gradually increasing the intensity.

          I guess comparing pitching to marathon running isn’t totally valid, though, since pitchers normally work 7-8 months per year and rest in the offseason.

          Anyway, if we’re worried about a pitcher’s arm, I’d think having him go all-out and compress a year’s work in 4 months might be worse than having him spread that same work out over 6-7 months.

  • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

    I can’t stand it when somebody says something is wrong, without saying why. It is complete garbage.

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    I have responded to Joe’s blatant attack on my character (just kidding) here:


  • http://goldenrule.mlblogs.com/ Bryan V

    “More than likely, Joba isn’t going to be needed as a starting pitcher in the first round of a playoff series in 2009. However, if the Yankees advance to the League Championship Series and beyond, they will probably utilize his services as a starter. Wouldn’t these long layoffs during regular season starts be perfect training for what Joba might deal with in the postseason?”

    That is a good response. And I may agree with you on that.

  • austin

    Either move Joba to the pen so he doesnt throw as many innings, have a Joba Hughes Mo combo and really shorten the games. Or let him throw as many innings as possible, especially come playoffs number 27 should be first priority after all shouldnt it. Not everyone is gonna get hurt bc they throw this many innings or dont, look at King Felix same age as joba and has thrown over 200 innings every year in the bigs.

  • Joba or Hughes to the pen

    How is Joba not in the pen?He’s pitching three innings a game.

    No matter what Joba with or without the Joba rules hasn’t lived up to the hype.I was expecting a lot more from him.

  • Joseph M

    Joba has gone backwards, two years ago he was a player of importance now he’s a starter who really isn’t starting. Yesterday the Yanks used 6 pitchers to get them through the game.
    Maybe the Yanks can support that with September call ups but I see no growth coming out of this at all. I would have no confidence in Joba starting a postseason game. The Yankees have three starters to get them through the postseason I hope it’s enough.

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