Where oh where can my Joba be?

Ever since entering the league in late 2007, Joba Chamberlain was taking names and kicking ass. That is, until, 2009. So what happened?

Throughout his first two seasons (124 innings) Joba had rate stats of 11.03 K/9, 3.27 BB.9, 3.78 K/BB, and 0.44 HR/9. Moreover his FIP for 2007 and 2008 was 1.82 and 2.65; his tRA for 2007 and 2008 was 2.23 and 2.60. However, as everyone knows he split time between RP and SP. Before he got hurt his RP/SP splits in 2008 were…

RP: 23.7 IP, 2.28 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 11.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 2.72 K/BB

SP: 60.6 IP, 2.23 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 10.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 3.0 K/BB

Amazingly, he was performing better in a starting role last season, albeit a small sample size for both splits.

This year, to be blunt, he has sucked. His line is…

126 IP, 4.74 FIP, 5.68 tRA, 7.74 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, 1.76 K/BB, 1.14 HR/9.

Ouch. His K’s are way down, while his BB and HR are way up. That is not a recipe to success.

Looking at his BIP, he isn’t a dramatically different pitcher. His GB% is 44.4, and for his career it is 46.7%. His FB% is low at 34.3%. Yet his HR/FB is 12.7%. High considering his low FB%, but its not drastically higher than his career HR/FB. Also, a lot of the HR are due to NYS. His HR/9 at home is 1.77 compared to 0.90 on the road.

The big concern is his high BB rate and low K rate (for him at least). What is causing this? My belief is his FB.

His velocity is way down this season. Among SP last season, his FB velocity was tied for first with Ubaldo Jiminez at 94.9 mph. This year he is down to 92.5 mph. The consequence is that his once feared FB is now feasted upon. In 2007 and 2008 he was 3.2 RAA and 8.6 RAA respectively. This year he is -12.0 RAA his FB. Although his slider has remained a great pitch for him, his FB has become his downfall.

Considering he’s been healthy this season, this leads to me to believe he has been inconsistent in regards to mechanics. Within games, he’ll go back and forth between 95 mph FB and 90 mph FB.

Once he straightens out his mechanics, Joba will be back to kicking ass.

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6 Responses to Where oh where can my Joba be?

  1. Dan Novick says:

    Any evidence that it’s his mechanics and not some minor underlying injury? His velocity in the bullpen did take a hit last season once he came back from the shoulder injury in Texas. Maybe something is still wrong.

  2. Mike Cordisco says:

    I don’t have any Carlos Gomez type evidence with video, but it seems the most plausible case.
    He’s had nights where he was hitting 95 regularly. But for the most part it’s been 90-92. To me that’s just inconsistencies in his motion or mechanics. Eiland and the like have talked about that as well.
    That could be a result from his injury, but I would like to believe the Yankees would have addressed that if it were the case.
    Also, all his other pitches are fine. If he was hurt or still feeling effects of an injury, wouldn’t that at least have a small effect on his other pitches?
    Finally, in an article by Gomez from late 2007, he said, “Give me the quick tempo, momentum-building, aggressive pitcher” in reference to Joba. That’s not how I’d describe him this season. He’s fast paced and slow paced, he’s had momentum and no momentum, he’s been aggressive, and he’s also been a big nibbler. Something changed.

  3. Mike Cordisco says:

    And actually….
    http://www.fangraphs.com/fgraphs/2692_P_FA_20090816.png
    There’s a chart of his velocity. Since the injury it has been lower.

  4. Owner says:

    My question.
    Has this been an entire year thing or has it just popped up recently that he has really seemed to blow it? Has he been consistently bad all year or did a random spike in numbers happen? (Sort of like Brad Penny after most AS breaks)

  5. Mike Cordisco says:

    He’s sucked all season. Velocity down since Spring Training. He’s dialed it up times and its no coincidence that in those starts he was in command.
    He had a few good starts in a row after the break, but then he would go out have a 7 BB performance like the one in his the recent Boston series.

  6. Tony Gwynn says:

    Your writing is horrific. I can’t even decipher the stats with such poor transitions and diction. Do you have your bachelor’s yet? Or at least your AD?

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