Should Joba be still be starting? His struggles continue to mount; his ability to win ball games, or even give the Yankees a chance to win, has decreased steadily as the season has progressed. As the Yankees head into the second half of the season with holes in both the bullpen and the starting rotation, some serious consideration must be given to what exactly should be done with Joba. His ERA+ is barely above average at 104. His walks per 9 are way up and his K's per 9 are way down, as is his velocity. Known the past few seasons to have a fastball that reached up to 102 mph on the radar gun, he now struggles to reach 94-95. Granted, he obviously conserves some energy in the starting role, but even last year his velocity didn't suffer that much. His WHIP this season is a paltry 1.56 and his innings pitched has dropped to 5.2 per start. Is it the growing pains of becoming a starter? Or is he simply not as dominant when stretched out? And what should be done with him as the second half gets under way? Or in general, considering the future of the Yankees?
A probable cause for the struggles of Joba this season are that he is simply adjusting to starting at the major league level. A pretty good pitcher named Johan Santana had numbers worse than Joba's his first two seasons in the big leagues. It takes time to develop into an ace and it is unrealistic to expect Joba to pitch dazzle right out of the gate. He has shown flashes the past few seasons of what he is capable of; now he just has to harness that in the starting role. Still, the one thing I do find troubling is his lack of velocity. If he can't recover that, I don't think he can reach his full potential.
A good starting pitcher is generally more valuable than a good reliever. A healthy starter can pitch over twice as many innings as a reliever. If given the choice, you would obviously want a good pitcher to be a starter. But Joba has merely been passable in the starting role. Not going deep into games taxes the already thin bullpen and affects future games as well. With Mariano ready to give up his position in a few season, the need for someone the slam the door in the 9th will quickly become apparent. Joba has shown that he can be as dominating as anyone in the late innings. Could he be a possible replacement? As much as I like to think about it, I don't see it happening. The front office has high hopes for young Mark Melancon. Joba was a starter in the minors and they want him to be one in the majors. Still it is something that I hope will be considered, especially if Melancon doesn't pan out.
The question still remains about what to do with him this season. With the Yanks in the playoff hunt, is it worth it to continue developing him and suffer those setbacks every five games, or should he be relegated to the bullpen until a more opportune time? As of now, I am leaning toward keeping him in the rotation. With Wang ineffective and injured and Pettite struggling as of late, the Yanks really need to fill the holes. Hughes is thriving in the bullpen and moving him back and forth from 'pen to rotation only hurts his development, in my opinion. Although Mitre, and even Igawa, could be called up to make some starts for Wang, that doesn't fill all five spots and I would rather continue to develop Joba in that fifth spot than waste the arm strength he has built up. Still, it is a tough decision. The Yanks need to make the playoffs and keeping Joba in the rotation is a possible hindrance to that goal. But the future seasons could also depend on his continued development, so, as hard as it is, it is important not to be to near-sighted.
Definitely not Transformers...
Just a few films that I really want to see, but can't due to limited theatrical releases. Hopefully I can catch them eventually. If only I was in LA...
- Captain Abu Raed. I even know someone who worked on the score for it, which I was surprised to see on IMDB. Looks fantastic.
- The Hurt Locker. I saw the trailer before all the positive reviews came pouring in and thought it looked like a good film. The critics clearly support that notion.
- The Way We Get By. Just watched the trailer. Wow.