Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No, Watching Al Leiter Pitch Was Boring

PeteAbe this morning on Joba Chamberlain:
Frankly, Joba has become boring. The Yankees are 10-5 in the games he starts but he has only six decisions. His ERA is 3.89, which is just OK. He has allowed 79 hits in 81 innings, pretty good. He has 73 strikeouts, not bad. The 40 walks are too much.
That's right, the Yankees most exciting pitching prospect in over a decade is boring because he only strikes out 8.1 guys per 9 innings, good for second best on team and eighth in the American League. Meh, not bad...

You know who's ERA is "just OK"? Andy Pettitte's at 4.38 and 100 ERA+. Does he put you to sleep too, Pete? At 3.89, Joba's is the second lowest on the team, behind only C.C. Sabathia and good for 19th among starter's in the AL. That is good enough to be the second best starter on any team in the AL besides Tampa Bay, Detriot, Seattle or Toronto and those teams either have great defenses or play in pitcher's parks.

He gives up fewer than a hit per inning, and only 22 other AL starters can say they do any better. His walk rate is the third highest in the league, but you know who is in 2nd place? A.J. Burnett. Is he boring too?

Joba might be inefficent and struggle to make it through the sixth inning more than any of us would like. He might throw too many breaking balls in counts where hitters don't even flinch at them. He certainly walks too many guys.

But for fuck's sake, he's not boring. If I'm going up to the Stadium to catch a game, I'd rather see Joba take the mound than anyone else except for maybe CC Sabathia. I accept his flaws because, he's, you know, 23 years old and young pitchers tend to have those problems. Like Brandon Morrow last night, and Rick Porcello earlier this year, and Hughes & Kennedy last season and the next young stud the Yanks try to work into the rotation whenever that happens.

Sorry he's not a great postgame quote, and his starts on average take a little bit longer, but you're not going to get a lot of sympathy from the people who read your blog, because most of them have 9-5 desk jobs that would make a start by Joba Chamerblain look like the last 10 minutes of The Departed by comparison.


  1. Thank you!

    Pete Abe is great for getting the scoop on Yankees news.

    Pete Abe is horrible when he tries to put his brain into "analyst" gear. He has way too many personal biases (cough ARod cough) to be taken seriously when he opines.

    Unlike Joba, Pete abe isn't new at his gig, though. I wonder what his excuse is?

  2. Hahaha, nicely put, Anon.

    I like PeteAbe and read every post he writes, but you're right about his personal biases. When a paid writer establsihes a forum like he has at his blog, you gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose.

  3. I agree with Abe's point but not his diction. Joba is becoming exceedingly frustrating to watch, not boring. This is particularly so at home where he seems to be very afraid to challenge hitters.

    A more interesting part of Abe's post is about Joba post-game comments the past few starts. Everyone loves Joba - and I do too - but his comments after so-so starts are starting to mirror those of Ian Kennedy last year. Kennedy got lambasted in the press and on line for saying he pitched well when he clearly didn't. Joba has enough goodwill salted away to avoid that fate.

    I fully understand the guy is 23, and that he's learning, and that struggles will happen. I don't have a major problem with his performance. But, I am concerned that Joba's instant celebrity may be having a negative effect and he may think he's golden no matter what he does. His typical post-game comments are straight out of the Crash Davis/Derek Jeter book of sports cliches. But at some point, he may have to cop to it when he's consistently not performing the way he's capable of pitching.

  4. If his comments are all we have to worry about, then the Yankees are golden.

    If his performance ever suffers because of attitude? Easy, pull a Melky with him. Make him ride the bus in Scranton for a month or two. That'll shut him up.

    Otherwise? I could not care less about his comments, intervies, puppy-saving-charity-drives or anything else that doesn't involve him getting past the 6th inning.

  5. Anon-

    It's not the comments themselves that make me worry a bit, or even that his performance may suffer because of his attitude. It's what his comments may be indicative of.

    Joba was lucky to have an unbelievable amount of success at a very young age without ever experiencing any professional difficulty. He became an instant celebrity the likes of which the Yankees hadn't seen it generations.

    But he's still young and still learning. And as polished as he likes to come across in interviews, he has to realize that he's going to make mistakes and he's going to fail from time to time.

    I guess my underlying fear is that the guy thinks he can do no wrong or that there is a sense of entitlement. Some of this manifested itself in his offseason DUI and in some of the comments he was making in the since released video of the incident. Far be it from me to judge what someone says when they've had a few, I certainly wouldn't want to be judged on that, but his comments in the video show that he was trying to leverage his celebrity. That ain't gonna cut it in Lincoln the way it would in New York. Baseball history has seen plenty of people swallowed by their own hubris.

    I don't have a problem with Joba going through the typical struggles of a young starter. I am somewhat concerned if he insists upon saying "everything is fine" and claiming this is his first year as a full time starter. He's been a starter his whole baseball career, save for about a four month stretch. It's ok to struggle, just don't deny it when it happens.