Joba The Great

I’m not good with the historical comparisons, but I did sense that Joba Chamberlain was doing something pretty special at the beginning of his career. Howard Megdal, the fine baseball writer for the New York Observer, does the work for me:

Those who can approach Joba’s success over these early starts are
rare, and were within sight of full-season dominance. Tom Seaver,
though he pitched to a 2.39 ERA (again, in a much more pitcher-tilted
era), struck out just 54 in 86 2/3 innings. It was no fluke—Seaver’s
next four full-season ERAs were 2.20, 2.21, 2.82 and 1.76. Dwight
Gooden posted a 2.88 ERA in his first 12 starts, striking out 93 in 75
innings. He was, of course, less than a year away from posting a 24-4,
1.53 ERA season.

The one recent counter-argument against Chamberlain’s 12 starts
forecasting even greater dominance is, at first glance, Jared Weaver,
who posted a 1.95 ERA in his first 12 starts for the 2006 Angels, but
has hardly been an ace since, with a career 3.66 ERA. But notice that
the batting average on balls in play for hitters facing Weaver during
his rookie season was .238, well below the league average of .300. As
that normalized to .316 in 2007 and .293 in 2008, Weaver’s ERA sought a
more appropriate level. But Chamberlain’s BABIP entering Monday night’s
game stood at .314—if anything, his ERA is a bit artificially high.

Is it hyperbolic of me to say that Joba has lived up to the hype and then some? The most recent sports prodigy to match the hype was Lebron James. So, yes, I’m suggesting that Joba has been Lebronesque.

I hope this injury is nothing.

22 comments… add one
  • Even after last night’s debacle Joba’s ERA as a starter is 2.76. I mentioned it on the gamethread last night and I really do feel this way though it may seem hyperbolic to some – I think Joba is the most exciting Yankee starter in 3 decades – i.e. since Gator.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 2:21 pm
  • No doubt…the kid has the make-up of a great one. Unlike ARod, who looks scared in big moments, Joba is always cool and collected. Even as those two HR’s last night were flying out of the park, he was upset but he didn’t go crazy like some…
    Sans injuries, he’s going to be great. I’m hoping Brackman or Cole can follow suit. It seems Hughes and IPK were all hype…

    krueg August 5, 2008, 2:47 pm
  • Hughes still has potential. I’d project him as a solid #3 starter. IPK seems to have been more hype than anything. Anyone have a time machine?

    tells (yf) August 5, 2008, 3:19 pm
  • I haven’t looked a the #s, but how about Francisco Liriano with the Twins? He first started back in 2006 before the Tommy John surgery and posted a record around 10-2 with a low ERA. It’s been a shaky comeback for the kid until last month in AAA, but he’s back with the Twins now and threw 6 shutout innings on Sunday. Compare to Joba?

    mjbtompkins August 5, 2008, 3:32 pm
  • Liriano’s more polished with the slow stuff (and they’re damn nasty), while Joba is more of a prototype power pitcher.

    Lar August 5, 2008, 3:46 pm
  • I think it is way to early to pass judgment on Hughes. Even a year plus into his major league debut he is still the third youngest player in the majors. I’d give him a couple more years and even then he would be less than 25 yrs old and might only hit his stride and fully develop his stuff a couple years beyond that. He has such a long way to go.
    On Liriano, the Twins – who are blessed with an abundance of pitching even with the Santana departure – were accused of keeping him down in the minors so that he would not reach an innings floor that would trigger additional money for him. I don’t know the details and someone can fill in the blanks there, but I think a lot of ballclubs wouldn’t have waited as long as the Twins did in bringing him up – nor do many have the luxury to keep anyone down even if they wanted to. Whatever one believes about the Twins motivations, in Liriano’s last six starts in the minors he pitched 41 IP and allowed a single ER. That’s a .024 ERA. There was no possible justification left for starting anyone in his place. That plus his 2006 season (12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 121 IP) tell me that he is very much the real deal if he can get and stay healthy.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • I need more time.
    He’s awesome, but the pessimist in my wants to see him face the teams four and five times. How will hitters adjust to him once they’ve had twenty or thirty AB’s against him. The great ones (and even the good ones) make the adjustment one step adead of the hitters, so for me at least, it’s too soon to make a rational decision.

    Brad August 5, 2008, 4:12 pm
  • edit:
    Pessimist in me…

    Brad August 5, 2008, 4:13 pm
  • > the Twins .. were accused of keeping him down in the minors so that he would not reach an innings floor that would trigger additional money for him.
    IH, that’s what I read as well – espn

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 4:23 pm
  • Thanks AG – I knew I had heard somethign like this.
    Incidentally, how do you web-link within a comment???

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • Thankfully, for him and my fantasy team, he’s been called up, and is once again, lights out.

    Brad August 5, 2008, 4:39 pm
  • Brad – I’ve been reserved in my “OMG! JOBA IS AWESOME” comments for that reason. That is also why I said the same for Hughes though.
    My expectation for Hughes at beginning of the year was a #4-#5. Joba, replacing Hughes, has so far exceeded this expectation – though of course Wang went down, so he got “pushed up” on the charts, I guess.

    Lar August 5, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • Copy the URL out of your browser window. In the comment box, write the following code:
    <$a href="pasteURLhere">text you want to have hyperlinked<$/a>
    Type it exactly as above except do not include the “$” just after the first and second “<"; I had to put those there to get the code to display and not convert to a URL. Make sure to test links with preview.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 4:47 pm
  • Thanks ag – is this the 6th or the 7th time you have created the matrix?

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 5:05 pm
  • Do not try to bend the spoon; that’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth: it’s a spork.
    I’m a fig newton of my imagination.

    attackgerbil August 5, 2008, 5:10 pm
  • I hear Lucky Dinks eats with a spork.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 5:23 pm
  • I hope this injury is nothing.

    Sadly, it’s already more than nothing. The only thing that would make it nothing is if it hadn’t happened. Joba had pain in his shoulder. I can’t fathom a situation with a pitcher where this is anything but bad. The key, then, is finding out how bad or not bad it is, but no matter what, it’s a bad thing.
    The residual results may show nothing structural, nothing catastrophic, but how long does it take pitchers, particularly young (and fragile) pitchers, to shut injury possibilities out of their minds while hurling? Does this injury, even if minor, change the way that Joba approaches the game? One would hope not, but it’s so tenuous, the career of a pitcher. I’d be surprised if this injury didn’t impact Joba in some way, and negatively, at least for now.

    SF August 5, 2008, 5:25 pm
  • Not to play armchair-trainer, but Joba was throwing more cuurveballs last night than I had seen him throw in any previous game. Don’t know if there is any correlation of course.
    Regardless, he will miss at least one start vs. Angels who now will face Dan Giese, Andy Pettitte, and either Rasner (who has a blood blister) or a minor leaguer to be named later (Kennedy, someone else?). Yikes. But yeah, if I could trade losing every game the rest of the way for assurance that Joba will be healthy for years to come, I’d make the deal. Very anxious to hear what this is about.

    IronHorse (yf) August 5, 2008, 5:32 pm
  • Shut him down for the season…screw it. No sense in risking it for a wild card berth at best and another first round exit. Let sorry-ass Pavano come up and pitch!!!

    krueg August 5, 2008, 5:44 pm
  • The smart ass in me wants to correlate his native state with his potential for success, and shake my head. But that’s getting old.
    I will play devil’s advocate on Justin like this, however: He’s tending toward Dice-K in the sense that throwing too many pitches and not going as deep into games as he could, trying to strike out everyone. And, like Dice-K, there’s a slight frustration element to him, although not as severe, that I expect will right itself with maturity.
    But unlike Dice-K, there’s a palpable excitement in the air when Justin pitches.
    Now if he would just quit throwing at Youkilis’ noggin …

    I'mBillMcNeal August 5, 2008, 7:08 pm
  • “Is it hyperbolic of me to say that Joba has lived up to the hype and then some? The most recent sports prodigy to match the hype was Lebron James. So, yes, I’m suggesting that Joba has been Lebronesque.”
    No, I think he’s lived up to the hype. Maybe not quite Lebron-esque, but certainly not Marcus Fizer-esque, either

    I'mBillMcNeal August 5, 2008, 7:13 pm
  • When Joba got hurt, I wondered (and still do) if the injury is at all similar to Jonathan Papelbon’s injury in ’06? He had a similar minor league workload to Joba and I think had pitched about the same number of innings at the time. It turned out to be fatigue as I recall. And of course Paps turned out fine, but had to be shut down for the rest of that season. (Oh, God, the horrible memories :( )

    Sam August 6, 2008, 7:26 am

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