Quick Hit: Joba Chamberlain

2008 Statistics:
4 Wins
100.1 Innings
2.60 ERA
1.26 WHIP
118 Strikeouts (10.58 K/9)
39 Walks (3.50 BB/9)
.332 BABIP

Thoughts:
Will he start or will he relieve?  That is the only question surrounding his value, isn’t it?  Well, that as well as his ability to stay healthy and the question of how many innings the Yankees will actually let him throw.

To open the season he is the fifth starter, but chances are that is going to change at some point.  Having only thrown 100 innings last season, as well as suffering an injury, there’s no chance the Yankees allow him to go all out for the entire season, logging 200+ innings.  In fact, I would be shocked to see him approach 180, which certainly does inhibit his value.

Of course, his talent causes that to not be a discussion stopper.  He’s just too good of a pitcher and has the potential to be among the elite, despite pitching in the toughest division in baseball.  As a starter last season he posted a 2.76 ERA over 65.1 innings (with 74 Ks), showing just how great he could be.

2009 Projection:
150.0 IP, 12 W, 3.30 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 156 K (9.36 K/9), 58 BB (3.48 BB/9)

Conclusion:
Pitching for the Yankees certainly helps the hype machine, but in this case it is surely justified.  Chamberlain is one of the most talented young pitchers in baseball and should certainly put that talent on display this season.  He has the potential to be an elite strikeout artist, ala Tim Lincecum, just adding to his allure.

The biggest negative is the innings.  The Yankees have shown time and time again that they are going to handle him with kid gloves, so I expect nothing less this season.  I’m expecting starts to be skipped or pushed back, as well as either him being shut down for 2-3 weeks, or a late season shift to the bullpen, in order to save his arm.

That doesn’t mean he should not be targeted, because his skill is just too great.  Just make sure you secure a solid bench option to fill-in when need be.  Otherwise, we all know the talent, so exactly what else is there to say?

What does everyone else expect from Joba?  How many innings are you expecting?  Am I being too optimistic?  Too pessimistic? 

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

3 comments

  1. Ryan says:

    Until he proves he can start without breaking down I’ll let someone else deal with the headache.

  2. Miles says:

    I traded Chamberlain, Kinsler, Theriot, and Hermida for Halladay, Ibanez, Peralta, and Cano in a keeper league. He was a great bargaining chip, and key to making trade. DUI, fastball speed, Rays, Red Sox in division…. Red Flags?

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