• Stats Suggest Joba, In Rotation, Not Worth More As Starter

    Posted by on May 28th, 2009 · Comments (34)

    In his big league career, to date, here’s how Joba Chamberlain has allowed batters to produce, as a starting pitcher, with 4, 5 and 6+ days rest between starts:

            Split  G  PA  AB  R HR  BB SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG
           4 Days 11 243 212 29  7  25 53  2.12 .278 .357 .410
           5 Days  7 155 133 11  2  19 52  2.74 .211 .316 .278
          6+ Days  3  78  67  6  1   6 15  2.50 .284 .372 .433

    According to these numbers, Joba the “Starter” is O.K. with normal rest, great with an extra day’s rest, and so-so with too much rest.

    This time, last year, regarding the best way to use Chamberlain, I wrote:

    So, it’s safe to project that an “ace” in the rotation, on a winning team, is worth around 19 to 25 Win Shares in a season. And, that’s better than the 12 to 15 that you get from a stellar set-up man (also on a winning team).

    Based on all this, it does suggest that the best place for the Yankees to use a talent like Joba Chamberlain is in the starting rotation.

    And, I still stand by that…

    …however…

    …if Joba, on normal rest, is going to pitch less like an ace and more like a “an above-average (but not awesome) starting pitcher,” then he would provide the Yankees with equal value if he were to be used in the bullpen and he could perform like “a stellar set-up man.”

    Of course, we’re dealing with a small sample size here…and need to see more data on how Chamberlain does, as a starter, with normal rest.  But, if his current trend continues…the debate on Joba-Starter versus Joba the Bridge will be one worth having…especially if the Yankees pen continues to show that it needs help.

    Comments on Stats Suggest Joba, In Rotation, Not Worth More As Starter

    1. handtius
      May 29th, 2009 | 12:09 am

      I understand where you are coming from steve, but you need to give Joba years, not months, to figure out where he belongs. Aces don’t just appear in the majors, they take time to grow (as you most likely know). Joba Is a 4th, 5th starter now and won’t be counted on as the ace of the staff for at least another 3 years (when CC’s option shows it ugly face). Plus, as “mediocre” as he’s been, he owns a sub 4 ERA. That is pretty good for a 23 year old starting his first full season as a starter and not showing his dominant stuff. When he pulls everything together and gets going, there will be no question where he belongs: the opening day starter for the Yankees for years to come..

    2. shaked
      May 29th, 2009 | 1:26 am

      What does the rest of the Yankees starting rotation look like under the same conditions? Even further, how does the rest of baseball match-up?

      Is this a fair comparison? Joba has, according to your study, a total of 21 starts worth of data to interpret. Is this a sufficient sample size?

    3. Evan3457
      May 29th, 2009 | 1:41 am

      21 major league starts. Twenty-one. that’s less than 2/3 of a full season in the rotation. 21. XXI. Drinking age. Contract age. Blackjack…

      ===============================
      Sometimes, a big-time pitcher comes to the majors with hellacious stuff and the gift of natural command; both of his stuff, and of himself. Tom Seaver comes to mind. Roger Clemens. Dwight Gooden.

      Most of the time, even starters of outstanding promise and ability struggle with command on the big-league level. For example, there once was a tall righthander, the cream of his organization’s farm system. Every scout who saw him said he’d be an ace. He moved rapidly through the system from rookie ball at 18 to the majors by 21. Over HIS first 21 starts, his stats were not very dissimilar to Joba Chamberlain’s:

      7 W, 6 L, 8 ND. In 6 of the starts, he went 5 innings or less. His stat line: 125 1/3 innings, 128 H, 61 R, 52 ER, 17 HR, 60 BB, 77 K, ERA 3.73, WHIP 1.500.
      (Actually Joba’s stats are a little better overall; better ERA, more K’s.)

      He seemed to be developing nicely: in his last 7 starts, he had gone at least 6 innings, and not allowed more than 3 ER in any of them.

      And then the roof caved in for Roy Halladay. His game fell apart completely. Over his last 11 starts in 2000, he went 3-6 with 2 ND. In those 11 starts, he pitched all of 50 1/3 innings. He allowed 81 hits, 66 runs, all of them earned. He allowed 11 HR. He K’d 36 and walked 34. His WHIP was a horrendous 2.285, and his ERA was an impossible 11.80.

      The Jays sent him back to AAA in July. He was terrible there for the rest of that year. At the start of the 2001 season, the tore apart his mechanics, rebuilt him, and sent him back to A ball. He mastered the new style, worked his way back from A-ball, to AA, to AAA, and finally back to the majors in July.

      And the rest of the story, Yankees fans know too well.
      =======================================
      If the Yankees are ever to develop a home-grown ace, waiting for another Seaver or Clemens to come along and last until the end of the 1st round of the Amatuer Draft, where their spot usually come up, is a hopeless plan. (Well, they might’ve taken Porcello instead of Brackman, but the astute Dombrowski nabbed him for the Tigers one pick before their turn.)

      No, they’ll have to gamble on talented, risky prospects like Joba and Brackman, and then give them sufficient time to finish their development, even at the major league level. If they can’t do that for an obvious talent like Joba, when will they? (Similarly for Hughes, I might add. And, at a lower potential, Kennedy as well.)

      It’s true, the Yanks have an older team. It’s true, they spent $60 million a year for Sabathia, Burnett, and Texiera. So it’s true, they’re supposed to win now. But if they’re ever to get off the eternal treadmill of buying established pitchers who may or may not be able to handle New York, who may or may not be able to stay healthy, who may or may not be heading rapidly downhill at age 31 or 33 or 35 by the time they reach the last couple of years of their long-term big-money deals, they have to stay with their young arms, and absorb the inevitable growing pains.

      For most pitchers, that’s the way it happens, if it happens at all.

      If I’m the GM, Joba stays in the rotation unless one of two things happens: he suffers a major arm injury, or he completely collapses in the role.

    4. Jake1
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:00 am

      When did we become not about winning but about developing a starter? Actually we’re developing 2 of them right now.

      He belongs in the pen. hes a better pitcher there and the team needs him there. got enough starters. i’ll be shocked if hes not in the pen by the all star break.

    5. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:34 am

      jake1 = francessa

    6. YankCrank
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:36 am

      jake1-= 900,000 typical Yankee fans who don’t see the big picture

    7. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:47 am

      When did we become not about winning but about developing a starter?
      ——-
      Actually I thought developing good homegrown starters WAS about winning.

    8. May 29th, 2009 | 9:51 am

      Guys!

      See: http://waswatching.com/community-standards/

      Jake1 is entitled to have an opinion and not have people slam him for it.

      Stop this…now.

    9. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:04 am

      MJ wrote:

      Actually I thought developing good homegrown starters WAS about winning.

      That’s only part of it. AFAICT, most teams have a combination of homegrown starters and starters acquired outside the organization.

    10. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:04 am

      if anything, steve, your slamming francessa. all i was saying was that he has the same argument. jumping the gun a bit early

    11. May 29th, 2009 | 10:12 am

      Corey wrote:

      if anything, steve, your slamming francessa.

      Huh?

      …Stats Suggest Joba, In Rotation, Not Worth More As Starter…

      ……if Joba, on normal rest, is going to pitch less like an ace and more like a “an above-average (but not awesome) starting pitcher,” then he would provide the Yankees with equal value if he were to be used in the bullpen and he could perform like “a stellar set-up man.”

      Of course, we’re dealing with a small sample size here…and need to see more data on how Chamberlain does, as a starter, with normal rest. But, if his current trend continues…the debate on Joba-Starter versus Joba the Bridge will be one worth having…especially if the Yankees pen continues to show that it needs help….

      How is that slamming someone who think Joba should be in the pen?

      Man, I just hate it when people claim I’m doing something that I’m not…

    12. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:13 am

      @ Raf:
      Raf, I agree. I’m not making the point that a winning team has only homegrown starters. I’m simply making the point that developing Joba in the rotation — clearly a person with the talent and pitching repertoire to be a good starter in the big leagues — is a winning move for the Yanks. As many have repeated over and over, 180+ quality innings vs. 60 quality innings…it should be a simple answer.

    13. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:16 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      you should re-read the comment posts cause you lost yourself. I never claimed you were slamming francessa from your post. I’m saying you brought up the community standards post because i said jake1=francessa. Next time, I will quote you so it’s easier to follow.

    14. YankCrank
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:29 am

      How did I slam Jake for his opinion? I said Jake is like the many Yankee fans who don’t see the large picture with winning. I can’t say that?

      My only point was, sure if the Yanks were still all about “win now” Joba would be in the pen, and Hughes and IPK would have been traded by now, and our farm system would once again be useless but that’s not the case anymore. It’s time for the Yanks to use their money as an advantage when it’s smart, and focus on player development as well. Once they successfully balance them both, we’ll be in position to win for years.

      So Joba will be developed as a starter, which is part of our player development. This is possible because we used our money as an advantage by going out and getting Burnett and CC this offseason. This is the balance we should be exercising, which is smart.

    15. May 29th, 2009 | 10:54 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      How did I slam Jake for his opinion? I said Jake is like the many Yankee fans who don’t see the large picture with winning. I can’t say that?

      How would you feel if I wrote:

      “YankCrank= 900,000 typical fans who are stupid”

      because, that’s basically what you did.

      You made it a personal slam on him – granted, that may be your opinion, but, as the Community Standards state, it’s not friendly and therefore not acceptable.

    16. redbug
      May 29th, 2009 | 1:03 pm

      If the Yanks actually show patience w/ Joba, it’ll be the first time I can recall since George bought the team.

    17. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 2:14 pm

      redbug wrote:

      If the Yanks actually show patience w/ Joba, it’ll be the first time I can recall since George bought the team.

      They’ve broken in young pitchers before; Guidry, Righetti, Rassmussen, Kamieniecki…

    18. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 2:27 pm

      Raf wrote:

      redbug wrote:
      If the Yanks actually show patience w/ Joba, it’ll be the first time I can recall since George bought the team.
      They’ve broken in young pitchers before; Guidry, Righetti, Rassmussen, Kamieniecki…

      Quite true. Don’t forget Andrew Eugene Pettitte and #42…

      Then again, it HAS been awhile since the Yanks last let a youngster stick around to maturity…

    19. YankCrank
      May 29th, 2009 | 3:01 pm

      How would you feel if I wrote:

      “YankCrank= 900,000 typical fans who are stupid”
      —–

      That’s actually, in no way, what I did…but it’s your blog so you win.

    20. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 3:02 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Then again, it HAS been awhile since the Yanks last let a youngster stick around to maturity…

      Wang is still there :D

    21. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 3:39 pm

      Raf wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      Then again, it HAS been awhile since the Yanks last let a youngster stick around to maturity…
      Wang is still there

      HAHA! True, I guess I forgot about poor C-MW since it’s been so long since I last saw him start a game.

    22. Sicilian Lou
      May 29th, 2009 | 3:58 pm

      Hey Wait, Didn’t someone here yesterday tell me that people aren’t discussing this anymore?.. LMAO…

      My stand is and has been Joba in the pen. And yesterday I got some good insight on this from some smart guys in here about their thoughts.. But, I still think for the best interest of this team, Joba to the pen..

      Also, has anyone seen the article today about Bruney?.. Appears no structure problem but he with held having pain in his elbow for nearly three months now and with held this from the Yankees….How on Gods green earth are we going to trust him to tell us he is healthy?.. and why would Cashman trust him now?… Do we all remember Carl Pavano;s cracked ribs when we thought he was coming back?… Sorry taht is a big bone head move on Bruneys part period.. He could very well have Jepordized the plans that Joe and Cashman have put in place…

      Don;t get me wrong here, Joba has the tools to be a great starter, but right now, who do we trust enough to get the ball to Mo.. That bridge appears to be built on tooth picks with what we have in the pen at the moment.. IMO…..

    23. Sicilian Lou
      May 29th, 2009 | 4:06 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      How did I slam Jake for his opinion? I said Jake is like the many Yankee fans who don’t see the large picture with winning. I can’t say that?
      My only point was, sure if the Yanks were still all about “win now” Joba would be in the pen, and Hughes and IPK would have been traded by now, and our farm system would once again be useless but that’s not the case anymore. It’s time for the Yanks to use their money as an advantage when it’s smart, and focus on player development as well. Once they successfully balance them both, we’ll be in position to win for years.
      So Joba will be developed as a starter, which is part of our player development. This is possible because we used our money as an advantage by going out and getting Burnett and CC this offseason. This is the balance we should be exercising, which is smart.

      Sorry YankCrank.. I respectfully disagree with you about Hughes and IPK… Its one thing not to trade them but how about using them too?.. IMO, IPK should have had his bags packed already.. No good is he serving us in the minors and now we don’;t even know if he can come back from his surgery, but some say he can.. You want to develop a young pitcher, than whats wrong with Hughes?.. I have my thoughts about him but if your looking to win and I surely hope you are then its time to look at this and say whats best for this team?…

      I can remember a time when we had a left pitcher named Dave Righetti who the Yankees were grooming to be their new Ace and circumstances had him move to the bullpen.. and I do recall him do very well for us…

    24. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 4:11 pm

      IMO, IPK should have had his bags packed already.. No good is he serving us in the minors
      ——–
      You’ve written him off on the basis of 58.2 innings in the big leagues? He’s not serving the Yanks any good on the basis of his 248.1 innings in the minors where he’s 19-6 with 273 K’s and an ERA of 1.96?

      Give me a break. That makes no sense.

    25. Sicilian Lou
      May 29th, 2009 | 5:11 pm

      MJ wrote:

      IMO, IPK should have had his bags packed already.. No good is he serving us in the minors
      ——–
      You’ve written him off on the basis of 58.2 innings in the big leagues? He’s not serving the Yanks any good on the basis of his 248.1 innings in the minors where he’s 19-6 with 273 K’s and an ERA of 1.96?
      Give me a break. That makes no sense.

      Mj,, I was referring to the Johan deal.. sorry to rattle your cage… but The Yankees play in the big leagues where it counts….

    26. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 5:21 pm

      Besides, Kennedy’s hurt and isn’t going anywhere.

      As for Rags, it was nice that he closed for the Yanks, but given the starting pitching during his time there, it would’ve been better if he stayed in the rotation. Probably never would’ve signed Eddie Lee Whitson :D

    27. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 5:24 pm

      Sicilian Lou wrote:

      but The Yankees play in the big leagues where it counts….

      True, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you give up on a young starter with talent.

    28. Sicilian Lou
      May 29th, 2009 | 6:24 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Sicilian Lou wrote:
      but The Yankees play in the big leagues where it counts….
      True, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you give up on a young starter with talent.

      Treu but Talent that shows he dominates in the little league but gets rattled and show no passion to pitch on the center stage.. just my thoughts on that….
      And the talent you so loosely like to point out was the exact talent that i was referring to be ship to Minny for an even better talent in one Johan Santana… but right now that’s a moot point plus the fact the kid is hurt which again only goes to show, when there was value you should have pulled the trigger on the deal…

    29. handtius
      May 29th, 2009 | 8:31 pm

      Sicilian Lou wrote:

      Treu but Talent that shows he dominates in the little league but gets rattled and show no passion to pitch on the center stage.. just my thoughts on that….
      And the talent you so loosely like to point out was the exact talent that i was referring to be ship to Minny for an even better talent in one Johan Santana… but right now that’s a moot point plus the fact the kid is hurt which again only goes to show, when there was value you should have pulled the trigger on the deal…

      Would you really have rather traded away good minor leaguers and gotten Santana and had to pay him all that cash or just sign CC, like we did without giving up any young talent. Isn’t having a younger ace lefty, without sacrificing the youth, a better move?

    30. Sicilian Lou
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:00 pm

      @ handtius:
      Would you really have rather traded away good minor leaguers and gotten Santana and had to pay him all that cash or just sign CC, like we did without giving up any young talent. Isn’t having a younger ace lefty, without sacrificing the youth, a better move?

      I was asked this before and I say this.. what makes you think that cashman wouldn’t; have gone after CC too?.and since when and forgive me for being straight forward but since when did money matter to the Yankees?. Cashman has spend over 1 billion dollars in less than 8 years.. All you given up is a prospect suspect.. IPK which Minny would have taken is not helping this ball club.. Granted he is hurt but he wasn’;t helping us in 2008 nor was he in the plans for 2009.. so really, what good is it?.. I thought the idea is to win… if your not using the guys who you didn;t want to trade, then what benefit are you doing for the ball club?.. We didn’t make the playoffs last year and Johan was the difference for us….Right now.. Johan is still winning and IPK isnt;.. granted he is hurt but still no major plans to use him..

      So how I see this is, It did cost us the playoffs in 2008 and now a prospect suspect who may at best be a number 5 starter.. .. Instead on having two stud lefties in our rotation… Now which would have been the better move?.. … just my thoughts on it…

    31. MJ
      May 30th, 2009 | 7:27 am

      if your not using the guys who you didn;t want to trade, then what benefit are you doing for the ball club?.. We didn’t make the playoffs last year and Johan was the difference for us
      —–
      You’re actually wrong on two counts. First, you’re assuming that Kennedy wouldn’t have pitched for the Yankees in 2009. Had he been healthy, there is no doubt that he’d have logged innings for the Yanks this season. Just look at how this season has unfolded so far: Wang was put on the DL and Hughes was called up. Aceves was called up for the bullpen and would’ve probably gotten the next set of starts in case of injury. That would leave Kennedy as the third-likeliest call-up. I guarantee you Kennedy would’ve pitched for the Yanks this year, especially if he was dominating AAA as much as he has been since late last year.

      Second, you can’t possibly assume that Santana was the difference between the Yanks making and missing the playoffs. Unless you were watching a different team last year, the Yanks missed the playoffs last year because their offense regressed by nearly 200 runs scored from ’07 to ’08 due in large part to the absence of Posada and Melky/Cano/Molina being virtual automatic outs last year (along with Jeter’s 3 month hiatus and Matsui’s injuries). You can’t just assume that Santana pitches the Yanks to the playoffs simply because he’s Santana. After all, the Mets didn’t make the playoffs either…everyone forgets this.

    32. June 1st, 2009 | 10:51 pm

      [...] to me, was Joba Chamberlain. And, here’s the deal: This game is another feather in the cap of my theory from last Thursday. When Joba pitches on 5 days rest, he’s a super-stud. And, when he has 4 days or 6+days rest, [...]

    33. June 13th, 2009 | 9:57 am

      [...] Two weeks ago, I shared that Joba Chamberlain, as a starting pitcher, is somewhat pedestrian with normal (4 days) rest , great with an extra day’s rest, and so-so with too much rest. [...]

    34. July 11th, 2009 | 11:53 am

      [...] I’ve been saying it for over six weeks now, but, I’ll keep saying it until the Yankees get a clue on this [...]

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