Movin’ On Up

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Just one day after designating Mike Myers for assignment and calling up Jim Brower, the Yankees are calling up 21 year old Joba (pronounced JAH-bah) Chamberlain.  This according to Peter Abraham and LoHud.  I would imagine (as does Peter) that Jim Brower will be sent back down in order to make room on the roster. 

Little background on Joba.  Chamberlain as most of you know, is Native American, as is Red Sox phenom Jacoby Ellsbury.  Joba started off at Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney where he lead the team in ERA, K’s and complete games.  In 2005 he transfered to University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  That year Joba helped lead the Huskers to the College World Series by posting a 2.81 ERA, 10-2 record, 130 K’s in 118 innings and 33 walks.  He suffered through 2006 with some triceps tendinitis, but still finished with a respectable 3.93 ERA in just under 90 innings pitched.  He was drafted 41st overall (Thank you Tom Gordon and the Phillies) in 2006 by the Yankees.  His throws a plus fastball with plus control ranging from 93-98, as well as a changeup, curve and a 10-4 slider that serves as his out pitch.   

So far his numbers in 2007 have been spectacular. 

Tampa:    4-0  2.03 ERA  40 Inn.      51 K’s  11 BB

Trenton:   4-2  3.35 ERA  40.1 Inn.   66 K’s  15 BB

Scranton: 1-0  0.00 ERA  8 Inn        18 K’s   1 BB

Let’s hope Joba can handle the pressure cooker that is New York, but otherwise the talent is there.  Even though he has been a starter for the majority of his career I think the Yankees will be looking to groom him into the eventual 8th inning guy and after that the replacement (gulp!) for Mo.  But let’s take one day at a time.  Welcome Joba and best of luck!

24 comments… add one
  • i’d actually be very surprised if he is being groomed to be the eventual closer. i’m assuming that this relief stint is just to help this team this season in this fashion. i kind of hope so, anyway…

    nyara August 7, 2007, 1:23 am
  • If we’re to believe Cashman, this is only for this season. They want Joba to be a starter next season. But I’m pretty sure the Sox had planned on Papelbon being a starter and it hasn’t yet happened. If he’s light out, I could imagine a change in plans.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2007, 1:41 am
  • Joba has three *plus* pitches. He’s a starter, not a reliever. This is just a temporary move to get him some ML experience, and because the team desperately needs decent relief pitching. Cash has already stated that the team still sees him as a starter.

    yankees76 August 7, 2007, 2:26 am
  • I understand what the Yankees are saying and doing, but I am telling you don’t be shocked if this kid is the eventual set up man and or closer. Cashman can say anything he’d like right now.
    As for 3 plus pitches, I would argue that point based on what I have read. Although I have never seen him in person. By all reports his Fastball and Slider are plus, but his changeup and curve are good, but not plus. Again you can only go on what you read until you see him.
    Truthfully I just want to see the kid be successful, regardless of where he ends up.

    Triskaidekaphobia August 7, 2007, 8:46 am
  • Trisk, how dare you compare the great Joba Chamberlain to the mediocre and overrated Jacoby Ellsbury???
    You and Nick are right, of course. You just never know what will happen. Am I mistaken in remembering that Mariano Rivera was groomed as a starter, too, at one point?

    Paul SF August 7, 2007, 9:42 am
  • Paul, yes indeed he was. I remember a couple of starts he made. It’s weird to look back on because he didn’t exactly wow in that role. But then he was placed in relief and I remember the announcers commenting on his rising fastball which had extra movement at the end. He was remarkable in ’96. Just so good.

    Nick-YF August 7, 2007, 9:48 am
  • Well, Mo actually started before he did the whole 7-8 inning guy with Wetteland, before becoming the closer, and before having the cutter that he had over the years.
    I was just assuming Joba’s taking the route that Santana and Liriano took. We’ll see though.

    Lar August 7, 2007, 9:49 am
  • It was a little over six months ago that I was doing work with joba, having drinks with him, and telling him the yankees are the most evil tema ever HAHA
    and just a week or so ago I was talking to his father about the baseball he received from mr. October.
    when joba comes back to nebraska we should have it out witht he alex gordon crew around here haha

    TheTree1918 August 7, 2007, 10:14 am
  • The Scranton stint was one of the more amazing AAA stops in baseball history. 21 batters. 18 ks. 1 bb. 0 hits. Was he facing the dregs of the league in that stint? (Even still….) Can anyone out there put this in perspective? I’m not a minor league expert, but that’s an astonishing run.

    YF August 7, 2007, 10:21 am
  • While a replacement for Mo does need to be found (eventually), I for one am hoping Joba and Phil make their marks as starters. Mussina, bless him, is nowhere near as effective as he was a few years ago. Clemens won’t pitch forever and his price tag is ridiculous even by Yankee standards. Wang is excellent though his k-rate and injury history is worrisome. And the recent Yankee practice of importing overrated NL hurlers is just not going to work. I’d love the 2009 rotation to be Wang-Chamberlain-Pettitte-Hughes-TBA, although I know that implies that Joba and Phil perform to their expectations and stay healthy. I’m just a build from within guy who loves an import other teams’ stars team.
    We’ll never know if Mo was always best suited to be a reliever or if the lightbulb went on in the 1995-6 offseason and he could have been an all-star starter anchoring a great staff.

    Chris August 7, 2007, 10:31 am
  • Do scouts rate Joba as having three “plus pitches”? There are so few pitchers at the major league level who have three plus pitches it is hard to fathom that a guy who has barely touched AAA has them. Or, is the idea of a “plus pitch” only relevant to the level at which a player is currently toiling? I am confused on this term, frankly.
    I have previously understood that the idea of a “plus pitch” comes from the scouting scale, but can anyone corroborate this claim (or clarify the defintion) about Chamberlain (and not from other bloggers), as I find it hard to fathom that Chamberlain has three above-average Major League pitches at this point in his development. The term “plus pitch” seems to be thrown around pretty loosely in general, as I searched Google looking for answers.
    Searching for “Joba Chamberlain Plus Pitch” and amalgamating some of the claims yields that he has a “plus-plus” fastball, a “plus-plus” slider, and several other “plus” or “plus-plus” tendencies. This seems ridiculous.

    SF August 7, 2007, 10:33 am
  • In Joba’ first outing he pitched against the Louisville Bats, the Reds AAA team. Some of the names on that roster are Bubba Crosby, Anderson Machado, Joey Votto (One of the top prospects in the minors), Jay Bruce (who is another top prospect) and former major leaguer Chad Moeller. They are 57-59 in 3rd place in the west.
    Second outing was against the Rochester Red Wings, the Twins AAA affiliate. They have such players as Lew Ford, Denard Span (Remember him from Spring Training), Matthew LeCroy and a slew of unheard of’s. They are 64-54 and in second place in the east behind SWB.
    Third outing was against the Buffalo Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Indians. This team has some names you know, Andy Marte, Keith Ginter, Luis Rivas, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ben Francisco. They are 61-54 and in third place in the east. Igawa just gave up 5 hits, 6 innings and 4 ER last night against this offense.
    So I guess to answer YF’s question, these weren’t pushovers by any means. But it’s still AAA none the less.

    Triskaidekaphobia August 7, 2007, 10:36 am
  • Isn’t Santana available in 2009? ;)

    Lar August 7, 2007, 10:40 am
  • Strengths: A plus fastball with plus-plus control. An above-average slider he throws as an out pitch, and two average to above-average pitches that accompanied with the fastball look better than they are. (Those pitches are his Curve and Change)
    http://www.projectprospect.com/profile-joba-chamberlain/
    I guess with some work the Change could become plus, but it doesn’t seem to be plus at the moment.

    Triskaidekaphobia August 7, 2007, 10:43 am
  • Joba’s AAA stint–Louisville is a middle of the road hitting team in that league, and their best hitter went 2 for 2. Buffalo, who he pitched two innings against, is a good hitting team and he faced the bottom three and top three in the lineup, striking out a couple of good hitters. The guys he faced vs Rochester weren’t very good.
    Still, 0.00 ERA is 0.00 ERA and 18K in 8IP is phenomenal. I would just hate to see the kid wilt under sky-high expectations in the heat of a pennant race–hailing him (and Hughes) as the savior(s) of this team would be unfair.

    Chris August 7, 2007, 10:55 am
  • Look out Sox … He’s Coming!!!!
    Check It Out:
    http://www.jabachamberlain.com

    Jaba The Hut August 7, 2007, 11:19 am
  • Chris – I think that’s partially the beauty of this. He isn’t starting, and Hughes is replacing.. Igawa. Ya, there will be expectations, but hopefully the media will treat them well, at least for now!

    Lar August 7, 2007, 11:21 am
  • Pennant race or not, these guys couldn’t be coming into a better situation, for the most part. They pitch with the leisure of a deadly offense supporting them, and for the most part they can be mediocre and still stretch innings out, probably pitch most of the time with leads. They will have less game-specific pressure than many other prospects, just by virtue of the fact that they will likely have tremendous offensive support.
    As for pennant race pressure, the Yankees are playing with house money, it seems. In other words, a lot of Yankees fans had written the team off, were looking for Torre’s scalp, so all these kids have to do is not behave like Calvin Schiraldi during the ’86 Series and they’ve got a free pass. I’d say they have it as easy as they can get when joining a team during a pennant race.

    SF August 7, 2007, 11:46 am
  • look for the guy to also pick up a pretty nice cutter. not sure who he will learn it from . . . . hmmmm

    Anonymous August 7, 2007, 11:54 am
  • Mo will eventually need to be replaced, but comparing the fact that Mo was initially groomed as a starter to Joba is ridiculous. Mo was very mediorce as a starter when they first brought him up. Joba may be mediocre as a starter, too, but all signs point to the contrary. Moving Mo to the BP was like catching lightning in a bottle (for 11 years). Based on Joba’s minor league performances, he should be a No. 3 starter or better, with the potential to be a No. 1. Mo was never projected to be that good a starter.

    yankees76 August 7, 2007, 1:50 pm
  • I don’t buy that SF. The Yankee offense is good (especially against the dregs of the league), but even still they’re not going to be winning most of the time, and when they start facing Cleveland and Detroit and Boston down the stretch, before packed stadiums in hi-leverage situations, there’s going to be a lot pressure. It’s easy for you to sit back in front of your laptop and say, “hey, house money,” but then you’re not the one looking to work through (even a lousy ML lineup) with 57000 fans behind you yelling. Yankee fans want to win. I think they’re generally smart, so these kids will get slack even if they don’t pitch like Guildry in 78, but so what? Alex Gordon was the number 1 prospect in baseball this year, he hasn’t played a meaningful game yet, (and being in KC, he may never) and he’s still had it rough on the field.

    YF August 7, 2007, 3:24 pm
  • Excuse me. They may be winning “most of the time” in that they win 60 percent of their games, but that doesn’t mean that they’re ahead in games “most of the time.” the game will be tied or they will be losing more often than they are winning, statistically speaking.

    YF August 7, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • Oh, don’t get me wrong, there will be pressure. But the two pitchers have a tremendous team in front of them with an offense that can give them some room for error. That’s a great mitigator for the general pressure they will obviously feel.

    SF August 7, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • I agree with SF. Joba isn’t being brought up to be a setup man or the closer, they’re going to see what he’s got. He can really, really help the team if he’s good, but, he’s not absolutely essential. Hughes, being the 5th starter, also has a lot of room for error, being that the alternatives are Igawa or DeSalvo or Karstens. If he does mediocre – that’s okay. They’re not absolutely required to succeed for the Yankees to make it, it would just be nice to take the pressure off the other guys.
    Also, Joba can dial it up to 97, 98 in the 7th inning. My favorite story of him this year was when, later in the game, the first batter had a leadoff triple or something, and struck the next three guys out. Alan Horne (this was in AA) was sitting in the stands, and saw Joba had thrown seven or eight 99 mph fastballs in a row. That’s why he’ll be a starter next season.

    AndrewYF August 7, 2007, 6:51 pm

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