Joba lost more fastball velocity than any other pitcher

Cashman: Jeter, Mo, Girardi will have to wait
Open Thread: Who has the best rotation in baseball?

Over at FanGraphs they’re having fun with the new splits, posting trend after trend. Buried under a few such posts, Matthew Carruth took a look at which pitchers saw more speed on their fastballs in 2009 over 2008, and which ones lost the most velocity. No Yankees made the gains list, but two made the losses. Mariano Rivera lost 1.3 miles per hour on his cutter, though it didn’t show in the results. Joba Chamberlain lost more velocity than any pitcher with more than 50 IP in 2008 and 2009, by 2.5 mph. Part of the drop comes because Joba started 2008 in the bullpen and was airing out 97 mph fastballs before settling in at 94-95 in the rotation. But we did notice a difference this year. Joba’s average fastball clocked 92.5 mph. He can succeed with that speed if he continues to hone his curveball, but clearly he’s a more effective pitcher with a little more juice on ol’ number one.

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Cashman: Jeter, Mo, Girardi will have to wait
Open Thread: Who has the best rotation in baseball?
  • pat

    93 mph and healthy is fine by me. We don’t need a guy sitting 95-96 who can’t stay on the field.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      That.

    • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      That’s a false dichotomy, though. Who says the choice is between 92.5/healthy and 95/unhealthy?

      • pat

        Stone Cold Steve Austin.

        • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          In that case, I retract my objection.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Joba Chamberlain’s brief major league career does.

        • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          So it’s 92.5/healthy or 95/unhealthy? That’s what we’re going with? Because he got hurt in 2008 when he had higher velocity, and then was healthy in 2009 when he had lower velocity?

          Wasn’t he healthy for just as long a stretch from the (entire) 2007 season into the 2008 season until he got injured, while throwing at a higher velocity, as he was at the end of the 2008 season and during the 2009 season when he was throwing at a lower velocity?

          I’ll respectfully and very strongly disagree with your conclusion. It may be true, but we have absolutely no way of knowing that it’s true, and no persuasive or conclusive evidence to back it up. By your logic, Joba can only be successful while throwing at a higher velocity, since he was more successful before the injury when he threw faster than he was after the injury when he threw slower. None of that holds water.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            You’re taking me way too seriously at the moment. I’m being stupid.

            • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Ah, ok. I was a little surprised by your response… I should get this checked out.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                No problemo. In your defense, I was boversimplifying by omission; I get why you might have thought I was dead serious with my terse responses. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Chip

        I don’t think it was velocity but rather his delivery that was the injury risk. There were concerns in the draft that his violent delivery would lead to injury problems and they did. His delivery seems to be much more toned down now but I don’t think he’ll be able to sit around 95 with his new delivery. I’m fine with him sitting 93, that’s still well above average and he’s got maybe the best slider in the league yet.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          There were concerns in the draft that his violent delivery would lead to injury problems and they did.

          Possibly. His injuries could also have been the result of his moves between the rotation and the bullpen, or the fact that he’s just pitching more innings now than he has in the past.

          • radnom

            Or the fact that tons of pitchers get injured all the time for no reason at all.

      • Hey Yo

        That’s a false dichotomy, though. Who says the choice is between 92.5/healthy and 95/unhealthy?

        Exactly.

    • Bo

      The problem was he wasnt at 93.

      • Jack

        Yes he was.

  • Steve H

    Good thing he’s a starting pitcher with 2 or 3 other pitches to throw.

  • Chip

    I’ve got to say that they’ve really stepped up the writing there since the splits came out. I’d suggest the pieces on Mauer’s strange splits as that’s some of the best stuff I’ve read in a long time. I sure hope a team tries out the double shift against him to see if I can adjust or if it screws with his rhythm. It could really be effective as guys who pull the ball on the ground really hate that shift. I know it was in Ortiz’s head a few years ago

  • Mike HC

    I kinda get the feeling he will get his velocity back up this year. Then will probably lose it again the year after. Basically, I predict an inconsistent career out of Joba. He will have Cy Young worthy years, and others where he is either injured, or just performing subpar. Something about this guy screams rollercoaster ride. It should be fun and nauseating at the same time.

    • PaulF

      Josh Beckett?

      • Steve H

        He was the first guy that popped into my head too.

      • Slugger27

        we can only hope

      • Mike HC

        Yea. I think that is a good comparison just off the top of my head.

    • Chip

      I’m not sure, I think the Yankees tinkered with his delivery in an attempt to keep him healthy which sapped a mph or so. I think this year is really going to be a great year as his fastball is still a plus pitch.

      From what I saw, he just couldn’t locate his fastball and kept falling behind guys. If this was due to him being tired and therefore getting a little screwed up in his newly tweaked delivery then we might see him take a huge step forward this year. If he can get into more pitchers counts by locating his fastball on the corners then that really brings into play the slider and curve as strikeout pitches where last year it seemed that he was having to use those pitches to get strikes early in the count and pitch backwards.

      • Mike HC

        Yea, you could easily be right. Just thought I would throw out at least one possible career arc for him. And at this point, for me, it seems more than possible.

        But for the sake of the Yanks, I hope he turns into the more consistent, efficient pitcher you have envisioned.

  • JGS

    How much did Verlander lose from 07 to 08?

    • pat

      1.2

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Bounced right back up in ’09, though. FWIW.

        • JGS

          That was why I asked. I’m hoping for Verlander-style rebound (at least velocity-wise. Results-wise that would be pretty awesome)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Well, I doubt Joba can be a Verlander and SIT at 95-96 and touch 99 with his fastball as a starting pitcher. Verlander’s a singular talent and Joba’s just not that fast as a starter.

            In 2008, though, as a starter he was sitting 92-93 and touching 95, and he can certainly get back to that in 2010 and beyond.

            • Chip

              Verlander’s FB > Joba’s FB

              but

              Joba’s Slider > Verlander’s Curve

              If Joba ever figures out how to throw a decent change-up, he’s going to be scary good

              • pat

                His change is really good it’s just very, very inconsistent. 50-50 it’s a swing and a miss or he leaved it up in teh zone and it’s hammered.

                • pat

                  *leaves.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Developing a reliable changeup is something that very few young pitchers do. Joba’s still trying to master command over his fastball/slider/curve. The change will come last, probably.

                  When/if he does get it, though, look the freak out. A power pitcher with a good change is death to batters.

                • Chip

                  Yeah, like Pedro, Lincecum, Sabathia, Felix, Josh Johnson type of domination. You know what would help him develop that? I’m thinking getting the 5th starter spot.

            • JGS

              sit 95-96 and touch triple digits after 120 pitches on three days rest? no.

              gain some juice back on his fastball from last year and sit 93-95 and touch 97? that would be nice

            • Accent Shallow

              According to the PitchFX game logs in 2008, Joba was sitting 95, and touching 100 every start.

              I wouldn’t complain about that for a second.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fgrap.....091004.png (safe)

    Joba’s fastball velocity chart. Look at ’09 carefully.

    Joba’s fastball was slower in August and September, when A) he was pitching beyond 110 IP for the first time in his career and B) the latest iteration of the Joba Rules (skipping/delaying starts and abbreviating their length) was in effect.

    Give the kid a 2010 with no crazy innings limits and with a 100+ innings wall already scaled, and I bet he bounces the velocity right back up. Dude was probably just gassed at season’s end.

    • Chip

      Agreed, it seemed like he both couldn’t throw his fastball by anybody and couldn’t locate it after July. If either of those come back this year, he’s going to do well. If both of those come back this year, he’s going to straight up dominate the league.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    David Robertson’s fastball velocity chart:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fgrap.....091004.png (safe)

    Sexy.

    • Chip

      That one has always and will always amaze me. Where does a guy who has been in the bullpen his entire life suddenly find 3 more mph mid-way through a season when he should be actually be wearing down? What’s even more amazing is that his control IMPROVED as he gained velocity.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        And, he was pitching faster/better as his innings workload increased and became higher leverage. He pitched better when we started giving him bigger innings.

        Mind-bottling.

        • Chip

          Sounds like someone who could do a great job in TEH 8TH!!11!1! if the Yankees were stupid enough to think that it would be best for Hughes to get innings in down in Scranton.

          • whozat

            There are legitimate points on both sides of the AAA/bullpen argument, which means that it’s not stupid to think one way or the other.

            Pro-AAA
            1) instantly available to slot into rotation
            2) getting more reps with secondary pitches which will be needed down the road for MLB success
            3) will definitely reach his innings cap for the season, which will be needed down the road for MLB success

            Con-AAA
            1) minor leaguers will not be a challenge
            2) Big league bullpen might be a little less good (but will still have a strong back-end)

            Pro-Bullpen
            1) getting big leaguers out 3-5 times a week challenges him, which is good for MLB success
            2) makes bullpen better

            Con-Bullpen
            1) unlikely to throw more than 100 innings this season, barring mid-season gymnastics or actual 70s-style “fireman” usage — bad for development
            2) Will pretty much always throw FB and one breaking pitch — hinders development
            3) Will require several weeks to transition to rotation in the event of big-league need

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Pro-bullpen: he has a great emotionless, Mo-like mentality perfectly suited for the pressure-packed, don’t-lose-your-cool 8th inning

              Con-bullpen: he lacks Joba’s bull-in-a-china-shop mentality that you need to pitch that all-important, rear-back-and-attack-‘em 8th inning

            • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

              3) Will require several weeks to transition to rotation in the event of big-league need.

              Will it really take weeks? I do not know myself but IIRC David Cone was going on last year how that transition wasn’t as long as it’s commonly thought.

            • Chip

              There are ways to challenge pitchers in the minor leagues. For instance, take his curve ball away from him for a start, make him try to get through an order on nothing but his fastball and change-up a time or two, go for strikeout swings on the cutter up and in to lefties.

              I think that Melancon is also going to take a huge step forward this season and the Yankees could be set up for the next 3-4 years with Marte (if he really is back)/Robertson/Melancon holding down the innings until Mo comes in.

      • Mike HC

        shh. pipe down with all that stuff. don’t need any unwanted inquires into any Yankee players.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Another set of graphs I enjoy looking at:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....position=P

    Four colors. Pretty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

      The Mexican Gangster is so awesome and so underrated…..and he has a HUUUUUGE noggin.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        He’s our new Ramiro Mendoza.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

          He’s better than Ramiro Mendoza in my opinion. He’s a complete pitcher.

          • JGS

            Mendoza in 1998 was the same age as Aceves was this year. Higher WHIP, but he also made 14 starts and had outings ranging from one out to a complete game shutout

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Ramiro Mendoza was the balls. I think you’re underrating him.

            Quality spot starts, 3 inning stints in middle relief, closing out games, pitching 100+ innings a year in every role imaginable… From ’98 to ’02 he had a 121 ERA+.

            If you’re a manager incapable of building and developing a bullpen, having him and Mo with their twin rubber arms to get you out of jams is the perfect cure-all to cover your warts.

            I’m just saying.

      • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Remember that time he was clearly bring his fingers on his throwing hand up to the visor of his cap to touch what looked like a wet substance? That was awesome.

    • Chip

      He’s got 6 plus pitches! Apparently the seventh isn’t as good…

      http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....position=P

      • pat

        teh SiX Pluz PitchEZ!!!

        • Chip

          Too bad fangraphs doesn’t have a way of categorizing pitches that only immortals throw such as the gyroball and VULCAN CHANGE!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Can Ichiro throw a gyroball? I think not.

            DiceK >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ichiro

            Sincerely,
            Baseball America

            • Chip

              Ichiro is old news. As soon as Tazawa gets around to learning both Matsuzaka’s gyroball and Okajima’s sidearm splitter:

              Tazawa >>>>>>>> Ichiro

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  • Bo

    Either Joba was hurt last yr or he isn’t a frontline starting pitcher. You just dont lose that much off your fastball. If he wasnt injured and hes holding back or something to last longer he shouldnt be starting. hes clearly a different pitcher out of the pen when he doesnt have to think and lets it fly for 30 pitches. Its a different ballgame at 96 than 90. As we all saw last yr.

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