Yanks fill us in on obvious Joba plan

Teixeira, Yanks take another series
Jeter not thinking about his next contract, though he probably is

Since the beginning of the year, Brian Cashman has told the media that the team has a plan to manage Joba Chamberlain‘s innings, so that he doesn’t so greatly exceed his previous season high. Drastic increases have proven risk, and although the Yankees could use their budding star in the rotation, they’ll put Chamberlain’s long-term development ahead of these immediate concerns. Yesterday the team let us know the plan for the rest of the season.

As discussed earlier in the week, it would appear the Yanks are trying to limit Joba to between 150 and 160 innings during the regular season. He’s currently at 126.2, so it wouldn’t seem that he has much left. Cashman said as much, announcing that Joba will start only six more times over the final 41 games of the season. That’s about once a week, so the Yanks will need the services of Chad Gaudin to help fill in the rest of the way.

All considered, this doesn’t seem like a bad plan. There’s a clear need, as outlined at length earlier this week, to keep Joba’s workload in check. To toss out another analogy, it’s like going easy on your car for the first 500 to 1,000 miles. Maybe you open it up right off the lot and nothing goes wrong…but that’s the anomaly. The idea is to keep it at a low limit until it’s broken in. Then you can gun it. Same deal with Joba.

Of course, anyone is at liberty to disagree, though I’ve seen few convincing arguments to the contrary. The Yankees, who have a vested interest in Joba’s long-term health and effectiveness, have decided to keep a cap on Joba’s innings, so that they can get the most use out of him now and in the future. Since the cap figures to be at 160 to 165 innings this year, plus playoffs, we could see Joba without limitations next year. Like the decision to not trade for Santana, this long-term-minded plan could end up helping the Yankees down the line.

Teixeira, Yanks take another series
Jeter not thinking about his next contract, though he probably is
  • Doug

    6 more starts gets him to 165 or so, but then what about the playoffs. yes, he may not go more than once, but in theory he pitch 3 or 4 times. so that’s another 20-25 innings. now this supposed “hard” innings limit has softened to potentially allow him to go 180+. how long-term minded is this plan, actually. appears pretty short-term in nature to me.

    • rbizzler

      Cash has repeatedly said that innings limits go out the window for the playoffs. It may seem short-term right now, but there is no way to predict how many innings Joba will throw in the playoffs. I think that a better way to look at the situation is that the Yanks are trying to balance current and playoff needs with the long-term health of their young arms.

      • Doug

        but how does throwing innings limits out for the playoffs consider joba’s long-term health.

        i also read a quote from joba that there’s a “little wiggle room” in the regular season too if the race tightens up. is this looking out for the long-term somehow? i just fail to see it.

        • rbizzler

          Once again, the plan is trying find a balance between the long-term and short-term.

          Long-term = innings limit from now until the end of the regular season.

          Short-term = take the ball in the playoffs in an effort to win a championship.

          The regular season innings limit provides enough built-in flexibility that allows Joba to pitch in the postseason while lessening (but obviously not eliminating) the likelihood on injury moving forward.

          • Doug

            but why is long-term only regular season innings? aren’t innings, innings?

            • the artist formerly known as (sic)

              Yes. They are. Its nonsensical.

            • KW

              I think it’s just that the idea of a 4 starter playoff rotation means an absolute most of 6 starts in the playoffs, if each series lasts the maximum length and the Yanks go to the World Series.

              But that would be pretty unlikely, and it’s easiest to bank on the fact that Joba may get only 3-4 starts in the playoffs, which would mean an extra 20 innings. It’s like trying to calculate how much money you’ll have saved from age 22 to age 60. It’s pretty much a crapshoot, so you’re best off using shorter term time horizons and controlling what is most likely.

              • Brian

                If they sweep the Division Series, they can skip Joba entirely there.

                Then if he’s the #4 starter, it’s possible that he would only make 2 starts in the playoffs altogether.

                Very doable.

            • 27 this year

              you’re never guarenteed to move on in the playoffs. You don’t want something preventing Joba from pitching. Also, with all the extra rest now, hopefully it keeps him from fatiguing.

              • rbizzler


                Combined with the fact that the goal is to win the championship.

                Obviously, there is no perfect plan. Call it nonsensical if you will, but they are trying to manage his development and win at the same time. If he was on the Pirates they would just shut him down at 150 IP and that would be the end of it.

                • the artist formerly known as (sic)

                  Yep. The goal is to win a championship. But the whole reason we’re having this debate is because precision matters, the long-term health of Joba matters, innings increases matter, etc. So to be super careful and then turn around and be completely cavalier about it once the playoffs start is nonsensical.

                  Now, I don’t think thats what the Yankees are doing, and they probably don’t want to tip their hand, but its a weak argument to say that the innings cap matters UNTIL THE PLAYOFFS!!!

                • rbizzler

                  Once again, we have no idea what the innings limit plan was, has been, or will be. All we know is what trickles down through the media.

                  That is not to say that the org is handling this in a spectacular fashion, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

                  What happens if the Yanks ‘saved up’ 20 or so inning for Joba for the playoffs and get knocked out in the ALDS (Mo forbid)? Then you are once again behind the eight ball in terms of getting him to a 200 inning season. The assumption here is that they are using the innings limit to get Joba to a point where they feel comfortable if he has to throw another 20 inning in the playoffs.

                  Is it a gamble? Sure. But the payoff potential is worth it and there is no guarantee he stays healthy anyway.

              • Doug

                27 and KW, i hear you guys and i can’t disagree per se.

                i’m just a bit frustrated with the fact that the yanks seem to be moving this innings limit around as they please.

                let’s forget about the playoffs for a sec. let’s go back to a 160 limit. if he always had a 160 inning limit, why, back in 2007, did they feel like they “had” to move him to the pen to protect his arm? at least that’s what the yanks implied back when they did it. he was nowhere near 160 innings back then.

                • KW

                  Welp, can’t disagree with that. I figure they’re just trying to fix what they did (in a more desperate and short sighted manner). I can’t say I blame them, since without Joba their playoff chances are probably reduced (in 07), but it definitely has had repercussions, which we may see with Hughes. But I do think hard and fast limits aren’t the way to go. I think they should monitor and see how he’s doing. He’s a big kid, he might be able to handle the work. Plus, innings are necessarily indicative of stress, which I think is more important to monitor.

                • the artist formerly known as (sic)
                • Doug

                  KW, it appears to me that the yanks are basically making things up and they go along to win now. and they have every right to do that. just admit it, though.

                • rbizzler

                  First off, you have no idea if the Yankees are mvoing his innings limit around. You just know what they are telling you through the media.

                  Basic Verducci Guidelines: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=verducci+effect

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  Doug, it appears that way to you because, as I said below, the Yankees haven’t told us every part of the plan. They shouldn’t. Why should they let other teams know what’s up?

                  Yes, to a certain extent they’re altering things as they go along. That’s how plan work. You make a plan and tweak as you go along, because things never, ever work out exactly as you envision them.

                • Doug

                  Fair enough, Joe.

                  Obviously, I just hope this doesn’t end up biting us in the ass 2 or 3 years from now when Joba’s out for the year with a bum shoulder or elbow.

                • Klemy

                  This. +1

                • Klemy

                  Gah, nesting. My “This. +1” in reference to joe’s post.

                • Doug

                  but rbizzler, i’m not so much concerned about the playoffs really. my main issue is how we’re “allowing” him to throw 160+ innings in the 1st place. how did his limit get this high when his high inning total previously is some 50 lower.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  Doug, I think everyone here is worried that it’s going to bite us in the ass, even next year. Unfortunately, there’s little the team can do at this point. Keep his innings in check in the regular season, and then go for it in October.

                • Doug

                  true enough, joe. may not be so apparent with what i’ve written on this topic, but i do want us to win the world series.

                  what may be be apparent, though, is that i was in the camp of swapping hughes and joba right about now.

                • SM

                  Doug, what I think your are missing is that the playoffs extend the period of time in which a player is getting those innings. This matters. 170 over 6 months is much different than 170 over 7 months in terms of effects on the body. Its not moving around as they please as opposed to what appears to be rational though given proper analysis in context

        • A.D.

          Yeah it doesn’t, but Cashman, the Steinbrenner’s and Giaradi all want that world series ring, so they’re willing to throw out some caution to get it.

          Basically, assuming the Yanks go deep into the playoffs, this time off down the stretch allows them to only slightly abuse Joba instead of fully abusing him

  • Nady Nation

    I’m thinking the Yanks won’t let him get much more than 6 IP/start the rest of the way. This will bring his regular season innings total to 162.2. Assuming he starts 3 postseason games (let’s hope the Yanks advance far enough for him to make that many starts), he’s looking at a full year of around 180-185 IP.

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

      And I hope that when the rosters expand in September, we consider pulling Joba in the 5th and possibly even the 4th inning, when we have a 12-14 man deep bullpen that can easily absorb 4-5 innings per game.

      Every little bit helps.

  • V

    I just hope he shows up to Spring Training in better shape next season.

    • rbizzler

      Um, how was he not in shape this spring? And what does being in shape have to do with the issue of innings limits?

      • V

        He didn’t show up in the best of shape this year – specifically, legs.

        Being in shape makes a pitcher better.

        • rbizzler

          And you know this how?

        • KW


        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          I’ll add on…

          Link please kthxbai

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Fourth request for a link.

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

            Bueller… Bueller…

  • Makavelli

    I still think it’s stupid. I will always feel that sporadic long and short rests between starts will be worse for you health-wise than arbitrary “innings pitched.” I still don’t understand why “innings pitched” is even used. Why not use an actual PITCH count?? Wouldn’t that make more sense??

    Cy Young, with his 749 complete games, is rolling around in his grave right now…

    • V

      I doubt Cy Young, with his 749 complete games, threw 97 mph 4-seamers, 92 mph 2-seamers, hard curves, hard sliders, and changeups.

      • Makavelli

        no kidding…to be honest I don’t even know how they used to keep stats back then in those days…

        “Hey Cy, how many strike outs you have today?”

        “Umm, put me down for 25, Bob…”

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      You think that, but the Yankees, who, again, have a vested interest in his health, do not.

      And guess what? They probably are using pitch count. They’re probably using a number of determining factors. Just because they don’t tell the media, and by extension tell us, that they’re using pitch count doesn’t mean that they’re not (sorry if that’s a confusing string of negatives).

      The Yankees have no reason to tell anyone what they’re doing with Joba. They’re revealing this part now because it’s easy enough to tell everyone that he has six starts left. There’s plenty more that goes into it, I’m sure.

      Also, please stop it with the comparisons to other eras. Things change. Advancements in sports training, medicine, and technology render them moot.

      • Makavelli

        It wasn’t a comparison as much as it was a joke.

        And I’m aware they don’t really tell us much…I just don’t understand the media usage of “innings limit” then I guess…

        I mean they must know a little something. They’ve been told some players were on “innings limits” at some point. That’s why the term has been coined.

        Anyway, I know what you’re saying…I was just basically talking as if everything we know was (hypothetically) it…

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          “I just don’t understand the media usage of “innings limit” then I guess…”

          Media has to use what they’re given, unfortunately.

  • crawdaddie

    Actually, if Pettitte keeps pitching effectively for the rest of the series, I don’t see Joba getting more than two playoff starts even if they go to the WS. It depends on how the first playoff series is setup and how deep the Yankees go into the playoffs because the Yankees could go with three starters in the first series then use Jobe once each for the next two 7 game series.

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

      I don’t know if I’d count on Pettitte pitching like he has for the rest of the season. I’m enjoying it now but not expecting it to continue.

      • crawdaddie

        Are you basing that on him being hurt last August/September, but continue to pitch because he was needed?

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

          No, I’m basing it on the fact that I don’t think Andy’s likely to keep up his strikeout numbers while keeping his walk numbers down. Even in his last start, he was getting hit pretty hard.

          • crawdaddie

            He doesn’t need to keep his strikeout totals up, but he needs to generate more groundballs thru his cutter.

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

              Which he isn’t doing at all this year. His GB% is at a career low 43.8%.

  • crawdaddie

    I meant to say Pettitte pitching effectively for the rest of the season.

  • Makavelli

    Is anybody worried about next season at all?

    All these old guys staying healthy all year is great…but expecting a bunch of guys in their mid-to-late 30’s to stay healthy for two straight years is quite a lot…then you add in our younger guys who have also been injury prone thus far…

    I mean last year, hopefully, was the last of everybody going down all at once…and look at the Mets this year.

    Posada will be 38? Pettitte will be 38 or 39? Rivera will be 40? Jeter will be 36? Arod will be 35 (coming off even more major hip surgery)? Damon (if re-signed) will be 36?

    Then you add Burnett, Joba, Hughes, etc who have gone down (every year but this year – and for Burnett…last year too)

    But I dunno…just worried a little about it.

    • Doug

      yes, and that’s why (among a couple of other things) i haven’t voted higher than 7 on the confidence poll

    • crawdaddie

      I’ll worry about next season in the offseason.

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

      Posada will be 38?

      And will likely not be catching as many games.

      Pettitte will be 38 or 39?

      He may not even be with the Yankees.

      Rivera will be 40?

      But he’ll also be further removed from his shoulder surgery and less likely to be fatigued.

      Jeter will be 36?

      Injury’s never been that much of a concern with Jeter, but he could be worn down. I’m not fretting too much about it.

      Arod will be 35 (coming off even more major hip surgery)?

      This I’m very concerned about.

      Damon (if re-signed) will be 36?

      With Matsui gone, Damon will also be able to more frequently DH.

      • Makavelli

        Agreed with everything…

        Arod is a major concern…I mean look at Lowell…and Lowell isn’t much older.

        Lowell has some hot streaks but he can’t really play everyday anymore.

        Utley seems a little slowed down…but he’s slightly younger…

        who knows…

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

          Yeah, Utley’s hitting fine but his range seems a little iffier this year.

        • Ed

          Lowell also looked done before the Red Sox signed him. Since then, he’s been drastically better at Fenway than anywhere else. Realistically, if he didn’t have Fenway to prop him up, there’s a good chance he’d have been out of the league or doing backup duty for several years now. Not a good comparison to A-Rod.

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

            Well, that’s not entirely true. He’s got a huge split this year but in ’06/’08, he OPS’d better on the road than in Fenway.

            • Ed

              Hmm, looking closer, you’re right. 2007 he was insanely good at home and below average on the road. 2009 is less drastic but still there, and ’06 and ’08 favored the road but he only produced OPS+’s of 104 and 103.

              Anyway, my basic point still stands, the only times he’s had a good offensive season in the past 5 years are seasons when he’s really taken advantage of Fenway Park.

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

                What makes this year so drastic is that he’s slugging only .391 on the road.

    • Stryker

      worry about next year, next year.

      you mention the injury concerns about the pitching staff. while burnett has a questionable health history (and has been injury free this season *knock on wood*), joba did have questionable health when he was drafted – he had triceps tendonitis most likely due to the abuse a pitcher in a division I college program has to endure. he was healthy in his brief minor league career, injury free in 2007, and was healthy for all but 3 weeks of the season. as for phil hughes, there were no injury concerns when he was drafted, had a perfectly healthy minor league career and experience 2 or 3 FREAK injuries. he was in the midst of throwing a no hitter to the rangers and ended up pulling his hamstring throwing a curveball (if i remember correctly). you can pull your hamstring taking a run around the neighborhood. he then stubbed his toe on his way back so they shut him down for some extra time. but this injury didn’t sideline him for the entire season, being lights out in the playoffs in ’07 if you remember. then in 2008 he strained his oblique which led to a cracked rib. you can strain your oblique stretching when you wake up in the morning. the cracked rib was just another crazy injury. otherwise, he’s been healthy. you make it seem like these guys are hurt so often that you can’t count on them. this is not the case at all.

      • Stryker

        *healthy for all but 3 weeks of the season in 2008.

      • KW

        I disagree with the notion of worrying about next year when it happens. That’s what leads to piss poor planning, like moving Hughes to the Pen, moving Joba to the pen, overworking players that may need rest to be effective next season, etc. No good company or team manages things on a year to year basis. Everything is interconnected.

        • Klemy

          I don’t think they meant it quite that literally.

  • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H. :: Sec105

    So if he hits the 160 cap in the reg season, what do they do with him in the playoffs?

    • Makavelli

      Give him an apron…lol

  • Nady Nation

    I wonder, if the team does not need a 4th starter for the ALDS because of scheduling, is Joba used out of the pen?

    • Makavelli


    • Makavelli

      Not planning on it anyway…if a game goes into extra innings and they’re strapped for relievers…anything can happen I guess…

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        So no, but also maybe yes. ?

        • Makavelli

          Precisely…lol (just like anything else in life)

    • CountryClub

      I doubt it. He probably wont be on the Division Series roster at all. It’ll all depend on whether the Yanks need a 4th starter or not. If they can throw CC and AJ twice in that series, they will.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      I would think so (despite the nays above). Probably better to keep him sharp with an inning here and there out of the bullpen than to just keep him off the roster, or worse, just let him sit and take up a roster spot.

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        Yeah. There’s no harm in letting him pitch an inning or two out of the pen. It’s basically no different from the regular work they do on the side in between starts (provided there has been sufficient rest).

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          That’s what I’m thinking. He might not be available for work at any point, but on certain days he might be good to go for an inning or maybe two. Again, I can’t be sure, but this seems to make sense.

          • CountryClub

            This is logical…but I dont see the Yanks putting him in the pen. My guess is that they have him pitch the last game of the regular season and then throw him on a program similar to the one he’s on right now.

            I guess an injury to a current starter or pen option could change everything though.

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

      I wonder, if the team does not need a 4th starter for the ALDS because of scheduling, is Joba used out of the pen?

      No. Here’s why: There’s three potential reasons why we wouldn’t need a 4th starter in the ALDS:

      1) We start CC-AJ-Andy and win it in three games. In that case, Joba starts game 1 of the ALCS.

      2) We start CC-AJ-Andy-CC and win it in 4. Joba starts game 1 of the ALCS, or possibly Game 2 if we give game 1 to AJ.

      3) We start CC-AJ-Andy-CC-AJ and win it in 5. Joba starts game 1 of the ALCS.

      I don’t see how we give Joba even a bullpen appearance since we know he’d start one of the first two games of the ALCS.

      • Nady Nation

        Why wouldn’t CC start game 1 of the ALCS in your first scenario and why wouldn’t AJ start game 1 in your second scenario? Some might even make the argument that Andy would start game 1 of the third scenario. Not saying you’re wrong, just curious to your thinking.

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

          Because A) Joba is a good starter and not using him until the 7th or 8th playoff game we play would be a waste, and B) there’s no need to skip our 4th starter so aggressively and thus, overtax our #1 and #2 by pitching them on shorter rest repeatedly.

          It’s true that you don’t need 4 starters in the playoffs, you can get by with 3. But if you have 4 good ones, there’s no need to only throw 3. You only go 1-2-3-1-2 in the ALDS when your 4th starter is Tim Wakefield or Hideki Irabu, not when he’s Joba Chamberlain.

          • Nady Nation

            I agree. I just think this too would be an interesting dilemma b/c of Joba’s innings limit. Basically, you’re guaranteeing him 2 starts in the ALCS by starting him game 1, as opposed to only giving him 1 start by saving him until the middle of the series. I realize it’s only one start, but as you stated above in this thread, every little bit helps.

  • Andy

    Going strictly by the Verducci Rule, 30 innings more than the season before, Joba coulc be close to 50 innings OVER the Verducci Rule – he pitched about 100 last year, and if he averages 6 innings over 6 starts, that’ll put him at 163, plus say 3 playoff starts, say he averages 7 innings in those starts, puts him at 185ish, or 85 more than last year. And if you could his previously career high, in the pros it was like 116, although I heard in 2006 in college he threw 126ish, but even then you are 70 and 60 over his career high, so not matter how you look at it, he could easily be a minimum of double the Verducci Rule innings cap.

    So while it is smart to somewhat limit him, let’s be clear here, he is not being babied. Win now is more of a factor than the future, no question about it. Of course, look at Lester and Garza last year, they really pushed it as well, so I don’t really know how concerned we should be…

    • Stryker

      what does verducci know that these people don’t? that “rule” is bullshit. i’m sure organizations know their prize pitchers/investments better than some sportswriter.

      • Ed

        Verducci doesn’t know anything the teams don’t, and doesn’t claim to. But he has analyzed a lot of data and found very strong correlations. His work shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but rather a rough guideline. Ignoring the concept of his work is just stupid. Tweaking it based on more detailed information teams probably have is a very good idea.

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


  • Will

    The Joba plan makes sense. If he stays to form, he’ll throw about 30 more innings over his final 6 starts. Leaving him around 155 innings. I think it is a given he’d be the #4 starter in the playoffs, which at most would add another 20 innings. If he ends up with 175, he’ll be in good shape. Of course, the question is how effective will he be? The timeoff could either lead to runs like he had after the ASB, or perhaps take away from his control, which hasn’t been great to begin with. It will be interesting to find out.

    What doesn’t make sense at all, however, is the Hughes plan. Instead of fiddling with Gaudin and Mitre, Hughes should be back in the rotation. Girardi is wasting him in the bullpen by using him so infrequently. As a result, he’ll be hard pressed to reach 90 innings, including the post season. Where will that leave him for 2010? The Yankees will be right back in the same predicament.

  • Will

    As for those worrying about next year, you can make the same dire predictions for the Red Sox and other AL contenders. The Yankees can address next year, next year.

    • Stryker

      The Yankees can address next year, next year.

      thank you. that’s exactly what i said above.

      • King of Fruity Hypos

        the whole point of developing pitchers is to USE them next year, not develop them next year…thats like saying ‘i’ll start saving for retirement next year..next year…next year.’

        at what point does the ant and grasshopper fable apply here?

  • http://www.supertangas.com The man with 33 fingers

    I think its smart to add more space between his turns and keep him out of the bullpen. He needs to be a starter all year and next year. I also agree with the guy who is concerned about the Hughes plan, it would be nice if he could have reached 150-160, but I don’t see that happening with him having only 88.1 innings currently. They should start stretching him out and claim Wagner for bullpen help.

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

      They should start stretching him out and claim Wagner for bullpen help.

      Or Jose Valverde, now that the Astros are finally waiving the white flag.

    • Tom Zig

      As much as I would enjoy having Hughes in the rotation, getting Billy Wagner wouldn’t be a good replacement.

  • Will

    With all due respect to Verducci, the concept of gradually integrating pitchers was around long before he put some random innings to it. Earl Weaver was a master of it. Just about every promising young pitcher he had started in the bullpen and worked his way up to being a starter. On the other end of the spectrum was Billy Martin, who believed young pitchers needed to be tough and throw alot. The careers of the 1980 As pitching staff speaks to the wisdom of that approach.

    • rbizzler

      Verducci didn’t ‘put any random innings to it,’ rather he found a correlation between increased workloads in young pitchers and an increase in injuries to pitchers who exceeding a certain threshold.

      Why this guideline chaps so many people is beyond me.

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

        Exactly. The only thing Verducci is doing is trying to quantify with easy to understand numbers the long understood phenomenon that you shouldn’t drastically increase a young player’s workload.

        Whether the number is 30 innings, or 25 innings, or 35 innings is irrelevant. What’s important is “a lot” or “a little”.

        Joba’s on pace for “a lot”. We’re trying to limit that to “a little”. As much as we can.

        • King of Fruity Hypos


          Joba Phil’s on pace for “a lot little”. We’re trying to limit increase that to “a little lot”. As much as we can.

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


  • Klemy

    The only way I’m going to worry about the decision making for our young starters right now is if we hire Dave Duncan or Nolan Ryan out of nowhere.

    I’m willing to put my trust in the organization. They have a lot of resources to keep on top of this and they have full time jobs of worrying about it.

    • Doug

      and they work in a market and for owners where winning now is everything.

  • ds

    I know Joba is being built for the future and all that, but I seem to be missing something.

    There is no need for a 5th (or even a 4th) starter in the playoffs. Why waste Joba starting meaningless games and potentially have him pitch too many innings- are they going to pull him in a game if he is doing to well?
    Since he will be used in the pen during the playoffs, why not get him used to pitching out of the pen before the playoffs begin?
    He can still begin next year as a starter and will still have built up his innings.

    • jsbrendog

      Since he will be used in the pen during the playoffs

      except he won’t. in fact they said he won’t be because, he won’t

  • http://behindthemoat.wordpress.com CW

    Really like that the Yankee braintrust has a clue about these things now…

  • Tank Foster

    I can give a pretty convincing argument as why you can be skeptical of Verducci’s innings guidelines.

    First, according to Verducci himself, the concept was hatched and intended, originally, only to be a very approximate rule of thumb as to how to use young pitchers. He has said he never meant for it to be a rigorously applied, quantitatively specific “rule.” He has also acknowledged that use of his “rules” have morphed into a cottage industry and taken off on their own. So even the originator has arguments against being too dogmatic about these so called rules.

    Second, while one certainly should not ignore factual data regarding something like the chances of injury in pitchers, the quality of Verducci’s “data,” at least as it’s been presented anywhere I’ve been able to find it, is very incomplete, and extremely lacking. If he were to try to publish his data in a peer reviewed journal, the article would be rejected out of hand.

    Why? Well, for starters, there is no control group. Verducci points out that there is a high chance of injury in pitchers who increase their workload too rapidly. Well, before you know whether the workload might have caused the injury, you need to know what the baseline rate of injury is among young pitchers. If 40% of young pitchers who violate the Verducci rule become injured the following year (hypothetical number, for argument), that sounds bad. But what if the injury rate overall for young pitchers is 42% annually? I have asked Tom Verducci myself in an email, and he had no control group data for me, and I can find none in exhaustive searches on the web. Maybe someone here knows of it.

    Third, there is a logical flaw in the whole Year After Rule premise. The rule says, paraphrasing, that if a pitcher exceeds his prior high workload by too many innings, he has a high likelihood of either breaking down (injury), or suffering a performance decrement. Think about that for a minute. In any given year as a pitcher, you can either a) stay healthy and do better than your last season, b) stay healthy and do worse than your last season, or c) become injured. The Year After Rule, by definition, encompasses 2/3 of the possible outcomes for any pitcher in any season. No wonder so many pitchers who violate the rule, er, show the effects. It’s hard NOT to!

    I don’t think the Verducci/Year After rule should be ignored. I think that every team should have their trainers and sports medicine people study the phenomena better, and find out what it means.

    The correct answer may not be that young pitchers should have restricted innings. Maybe they should have more innings, but with fewer pitches per appearance (i.e., start more frequently, but throw fewer innings per start). Maybe it depends on something measurable, such as the pitcher’s arm length, height, weight, strength, etc.

    But whatever the case, it shouldn’t be considered a rule, and any team which follows this as if it is a rule is being foolish, in the long run.

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

      Well said.

      Given all the reasons you stated to not follow the rule dogmatically, what do you in your layman’s opinion think the Yankees should to with Joba? Do you think the team’s plan to limit his innings in August and September by skipping him aggressively is overkill, and he should just take his turn every 5 days? No cap at all?

      Not snarkiness, just want to hear your opinion. You are correct that Verducci’s study is still fairly rudimentary and new, and thus can’t be taken as gospel, but there is at least decent correlation he’s found, even if he can’t prove that it is causation. So, knowing what you know, that A) there is a correlation of young pitchers increasing their workload and suffering ill effects, and that B) that correlation may mean something or it may mean nothing, what do you choose to do? Err on the side of caution, or dismiss the correlation as too insignificant to be worth including in your development plan?

      Do you limit Joba, or no?

      • Tank Foster

        Only thing I object to in your reply is the statement that there is “decent correlation.” Without a control group, we don’t even really know that it isn’t a negative correlation.

        Your question is excellent, but I have to say I won’t take the bait and answer it.

        I can’t answer it, not properly, anyway. Answering it as a layman is like asking you whether I should call the slide I’m looking at under the microscope right now cancer or benign.

        To properly answer the question, you need to be an athletic trainer, and someone with knowledge of pitchers, and specifically, of Joba. I would acknowledge that there is a definite possibility that pitching lots more innings would be a potential stressor on his arm. However, other measures of stress (whatever those might be…velocity, his pain levels, inflammation on MRI scans, whatever) should be taken into account as well.

        The best I can do is that I would weigh his innings “history” very seriously, but – given an appropriate level of expertise on my side – I would not hesitate to let him pitch well over his prior innings maximum, if I thought the overall risk profile was reasonable.

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

          No, I asked you your layman’s opinion because I’m not asking you to take the role of the Yankee trainer, I’m asking you to take the role of Brian Cashman. The FO executive and non-physical medical expert.

          Given what YOU know, if the decision was yours, would you limit Joba or not?

          • Tank Foster

            Still not taking the bait. I can’t. What’s the point of my answer? If I’m Brian Cashman, I ask the trainers, team doctor, pitching coach, manager, and Joba for their opinions, and I go with the consensus.

            If they all say “limit his innings to X” then I go along with that.

            If they say “he can pitch up to 180 this season” I don’t do anything to stop it.

            • SM

              “I ask the trainers, team doctor, pitching coach, manager, and Joba for their opinions, and I go with the consensus.”

              Just a question but can’t all those people have incentives pervese to the situation at hand?
              Pitching coach may want a pay raise (or manager job) and pitching Joba 200 innings is more likley to get him to that goal. Why would he care if he breaks down next year or 2-3 years down the road?

              I am not saying you shouldn’t ask them. But to use that as your end all method is foolish at best.

              FO hopefully has long term interests at play and knows that Joba value long term is > short term incentives.

              • Tank Foster

                Just a question but can’t all those people have incentives pervese to the situation at hand?

                Definitely. But having conflicting incentives affects numerous aspects of everything in baseball, and probably every other endeavor where people must make difficult and costly decisions.

                Of course any manager considers motives when asking others for advice, to seriously question the wisdom of your experts for this reason is sort of like saying you are afraid to go up in an airplane because gravity exists.

                • Tank Foster

                  *…but to seriously question the wisdom…” etc.

                • SM

                  Empirical studies should provide non biased answers. To build on your analogy listening to your experts when they say Joba can pitch 200 innings, Cy Young did it!, etc is like listenting to him say gravity does not exist, look at that plane flying. It would be to just completley through out all the facts on the table based on cognative biases and the like.

                  For the record I think there is a case to be made to blow the innings limit, that is the goal is to win a championship now. I do not agree with it, but it is a perfectly reasonable line of thinking. Saying that it is riskless move for the future is silly.

                • Tank Foster

                  You miss the point. There are NO empirical studies of how to handle pitchers. You certainly can look at some aspects of athletic performance empirically; the whole science of sports medicine is based, at least to a degree, on empirical studies.

                  The decision of how to use Joba Chamberlain can never be “empirical.” My point is that people are touting the Verducci data as if it were highly valuable, empirical data, and it isn’t. It’s very provocative information, and it might be true. But I don’t care how convincing it seems to people, it can’t, at least in the form I’ve seen it, stand up to even half-assed scientific scrutiny.

                  Decisions in the real world are made on the basis of both objective data and subjective opinions. I’d like to have the opinions of actual baseball people and professionals with knowledge of athletic performance before I make my decision.

                • SM

                  There is plenty of research on the subject besides Verducci. I am not touting Verducci. BP has beeing looking at pitcher abuse for years. Sports Medicine journal as well. The decision on Joba is based on a signle premise, overworking young pitchers is a way to increase case of injury for that pitcher. You could argue that it is impossible to determine exactly what that level is, ie 150, 160, 180 and you would be correct. But that does not invalidate the main point.

            • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              (via TSJC via FJM)

              Mark: Joe, as of right now who is the AL MVP?

              Joe Morgan: That’s difficult to answer because the season is not over,

              KT: The question was “as of right now.”

              Theoretical Joe Morgan: Right, and it’s hard to answer because of what will happen in the future.

              KT: But…the question is: right now, who’s the MVP. Like, now. At this moment.

              TJM: But I can’t answer that, because I can’t tell the future.

              KT: Hang on. Let me try something. What time is it.

              TJM: No way to tell.

              KT: Because you don’t know what time it will be in the future?

              TJM: Correct.

              KT: Fair enough.

              • Tank Foster

                Joe Morgan has knowledge of baseball. There are obvious things you can look at to decide whether a person should be an MVP.

                TSJC’s question is not the same. Again, it’s like asking a layman whether or not he thinks the surgeon should do a sigmoid resection or a pelvic exenteration. Yeah, you can say “based on what YOU know” all you want, but it’s still a meaningless question.

                For decades, there were no known or set guidelines on the usage of young pitchers. Some were subjected to very steep increases in workload, others broken in gradually. None of these instances were ever charted specifically. Now some person comes along and does a quasi-statistical, pseudo-scientific look at some data on pitchers, and the entire educated-fan universe has become “expert” on the development of young pitchers.

                Sorry, I refuse to go there. It’s a meaningless exercise. How you decide to use a particular young pitcher is a serious decision that must be made by people with knowledge and experience about pitching, including, among many other things, their knowledge of things like Verducci’s “year after” data.

                You’re asking me to decide something based on having, at best, half of the relevant information on my hands. The minute I give an answer, someone will spin it or otherwise impugn something about my biases toward pitching, etc. Nothing good comes from it.

                In the original post, Joe wrote, using a new car analogy
                …The idea is to keep [mileage/engine stress/speed] at a low limit until [the car is] broken in. Then you can gun it. Same deal with Joba. Of course, anyone is at liberty to disagree, though I’ve seen few convincing arguments to the contrary.

                My aim here was to give such an argument. Or at least if not exactly to the contrary, an convincing argument suggesting that maybe the current thinking about innings limitations is not a valid one.

                Going beyond that is for the rest of you guys. I don’t want to play. ;-)

                • Tank Foster

                  Using your analogy:

                  KT: So, Tank, do you think they should limit Joba’s innings?

                  TF: I can’t answer that, I don’t have enough information.

                  KT: But you wrote about the Verducci rule, so you are well read on this subject. Based just on what YOU know, now, would you limit his inning.

                  TF: I can’t answer.

                  KT: Sure you can, you are just refusing to.

                  TF: No, I can’t.

                  KT: Why, you have knowledge of the Verducci rule. Based on your knowledge, and opinion, what would you do.

                  TF: My knowledge of the Verducci rule leads me to believe that whether it is true or false, and to what degree, is entirely unknown. It is no better than guessing to base a decision on the Verducci rule. Furthermore, there must be other factors that predict how much work a pitcher can safely handle. I don’t know any of these factors either. So, basically, you’re asking me to decide on the basis of what I know, and I know nothing.

                  KT: You mean, like Shulz on Hogan’s Heroes, you know ‘nuthink?’

                  TF: Exactly.

                  KT: Right, funny. But seriously, based on what you DO know, can you tell us what you’d do?

                  TF: Oy. Pick a number from 1 to 10.

                  KT: 3.

                  TF: Ok, since you picked an odd number, I’ll say let him pitch as many innings as he wants this year. How’s that?

    • SM

      I think you argument is with a cliche used to make the point that is very important. Verduci rule has become the easy way to say we need limit young pitchers probably feed by the media. The fact stands that young pitchers are very injury prone this is proven. There is a lot of studies that look at why going back many years. I am pretty sure its mention in Diamond Appraised for one, though I cannot recall the statiscal details. By picking on the flaws or Verduci rule I think your are missing a much larger point.
      Also, your third point is flawed and you should know it. The year after outcome chances would only be 2/3 if each of those outcomes had an equal chance to start with…

  • King of Fruity Hypos

    further, do you answers change in:

    Game 4 of the World Series?

    Game 7?

  • ds

    I agree that limits aren’t real science, and there may or may not be something to them. I really don’t know if it is just meaningful in theory or if it is also true in reality. I don’t know if it is just anecdotal or player dependent.

    Since we can’t know, and since the Yankees have already decided to limit him, let’s be practical. What do we do with Joba right now?

    Should they maintain the in between stance they seem to be taking and have him hit or surpass his limit in less meaningful games? I don’t think this is the best option either for him or the team. I think his recent performance shows this.

    Or should we stretch out those innings by transitioning him to the pen for the remainder of the year? I think this is the best option as it would not only make him more useful to the team, but would also build his confidence and approach to hitters- it worked for Hughes.

  • mryankee

    I think Joba is good when he wants to be-I have noticed in many of his games that he hits 95-97 when he wants to but then he settles in at 91-93-I dont get that at all. If someone says innings limit will help improve velocity next year-I would buy that but he has been way to inconsistent this year. I am not sure if I would trust him in a playoff game. I think if you want to baby him do what Detroit did with Verlander if you tell me that will yield the same results-I am ok with that