Saturday, March 16, 2013


I've always believed that the Yankees ruined Joba Chamberlain. I mean, truth be told, he's handled things about as good as anyone could handle it, but the "Joba Rules", well, the rules didn't exactly rule... they sucked.

Yankee fans have had this debate for years. Should the Yankee have kept Joba Chamberlain a starter or should they have made him, and kept him a relief pitcher, maybe even to become the next Mariano Rivera? We'll never truly know what Joba could have been capable of, but truth be told, I have faith in him... many do.

But I found it interesting.  Ken Rosenthal has a nugget HERE, in reference to another guy, Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds.  A guy who is dominant as a closer, but in the Reds world of in-decision, they have toyed with making him a starter.  But what was interesting was what a scout told Rosenthal about Chapman... "I hope they do start him, but they’re crazy if they do...It’s Joba Chamberlain all over again....His velocity dropped off in the second inning. He couldn’t get his off-speed stuff over the plate consistently. No question in my mind, he’s the closer.”

Look, when these young kids come up, they just want to please and so, they do whatever the team needs. This happens often so they get playing time and so they can perfect their craft.  But I have said many, many times before, when things don't work out, when a pitcher struggles, it gets in their head.  I've often said that they should pitch the guy at starter or closer and leave them there. You leave them there long enough to really get enough data to make a determination of whether or not the dude will succeed.  But much like we've seen with guys like Joba and Phil Hughes... this "yo-yo mentality" really sets a pitcher back. This is my opinion of course, based on my own research... and you know what? I think I'm right. 

Hardball Talk, HERE, had great perspective about this too, writing:  "The scout is referencing the Yankees pitcher who bounced between the bullpen and the rotation since making his Major League debut in 2007. The Yankees went to great lengths to protect his arm, which led to the moniker 'Joba Rules' for their refusal to use him on consecutive days.

Though a closer more often than not pitches in some of the most important situations during a game, it is hard to overcome the value of pitching 175-200 innings. John Smoltz, a common point of comparison for starters-turned-relievers or relievers-turned-starters, posted 1.1, 3.2, and 2.2 Wins Above Replacement as a reliever between 2002-04 according to Baseball Reference. Despite the aggregate 2.47 ERA and 144 saves, his best season as a reliever (2003) ranks as his 12th-best season by WAR."

It's all very interesting, and sure, you will often wonder what could have been, and to be honest, Joba could have the season of his life in 2013, but if "Joba Rules" weren't enforced, maybe there would have been a different result. Maybe not babying him could have been a good thing.

(In Photo: Bill Masse)
I'll mention 2 words... Bill Masse. Masse was a former minor league coach for the Yankees. Read WAS BILL MASSE RIGHT ABOUT HUGHES? when I wrote this is 2011:

"Back when Hughes was with the Thunder, Masse was heavily criticized by Yankee Brass and eventually let go for making critical comments about the way the Yankees handled a very young Phil Hughes. As Coleman puts it “Back then, the Yankees allowed him to pitch just 5 innings each start.” Masse thought the idea of that was absolutely ridiculous and said so:

'We get so ridiculous with this dumb pitch count stuff… Somebody came up with a pitch count thing (like) this is going to decide if a kid’s arm is going to be healthy or not. It’s like predicting the weather sometimes. ‘If he throws 66 pitches, he will be fine, but if he throws 81, he is going to get hurt.’ No one can predict that.'"

Something to think about... that's all I'm saying.

Sorry the late post today... Little League calls... you understand.

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