Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Joba To The 'Pen?
It's in the news, so let's give it a quick discussion. The Yankees just re-signed Andy Pettite, which seems to give them a surplus of starting pitchers. Therefore, rumors are flying fast that uber-stud young 'un Joba Chamberlain will be taking his absolutely ridiculous fastball-slider combo back to the bullpen. This is a bad idea by the Yankees for several reasons, the most important of which is that 200>70. If Joba starts, we can pencil him in for 200 innings (This is nowhere near correct. It is, in fact, fairly wrong. At least for this year. But I think we can all agree that we like big, round numbers. Except for Cindi, who doesn't like any numbers). As a reliever, 70. For very obvious reasons, it is in the Yankees' best interest to give one of their best pitchers as many innings as possible. The only thing that could make moving him to the bullpen a good idea is leverage index. This is the idea that relievers pitch in high-pressure spots (At least the good ones do. David Aardsma does not), which are worth more than a regular inning. Okay, let's go with it. The highest-leverage reliever is the team's closer. Last year, the average closer entered the game with a leverage index of 1.8. This makes Joba's 70 innings as a reliever worth 126 starter innings. Still not close. To bump Joba's value over the 200 inning mark, he would have to enter games almost exclusively with the bases loaded. And, as a Red Sox fan, if the Yankees want to get themselves in that situation enough times for Joba to earn his keep out of the bullpen, that's fine with me.