Monday, April 7, 2008

Hmm, Should Joba Be Moved Into The Rotation?

Here we are in the bleachers JOKING about the idea that anyone could think of moviing Joba after his stellar performance during the homestand, and people are still debating it. Why not turn Mariano Rivera into a starter while you're at it? Is there a better middle reliever in baseball? (I'm of course extrapolating from his stint last season and great start.) And if you have someone who is the best at the league or all of baseball at a position, wouldn't you be an idiot to move them?

8 comments:

dasnootz said...

Didn't the Yankees try Rivera as a starter early in his career?

He's proved much more effective as a closer.

By the same token, should Clemens have spent his entire career as a setup man or closer?

We don't know what he's capable of as a starter...

Michael in New York said...

Exactly. And we KNOW he's phenomenal as a middle reliever and we KNOW we're going to need a new closer in two years or so and we KNOW that in this day and age where a quality start is six innings that the bridge is more important than ever.

priv8pete said...

I love having Joba come out of the pen (except they need to do something other than the Out of Town Scoreboard between the 7th and 8th to introduce him). And I'd plan on keeping him there for this year unless there are a couple injuries to starters at the same time. I'd then make some moves to solidify the bullpen for next year, if necessary (hopefully the young kids can develop into reliable middle relievers), and give Joba Moose's spot in the rotation.

Joba is projected to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. We can't in good conscience not explore that possibility just because he has been exemplary in relief. That would be like having a horse win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but deciding to hold him out of Belmont because "we KNOW he's phenomenal" on a short track, but we're not sure about a longer track.

joe said...

Johan Santana would probably be a great setup guy; maybe the Mets should move him to the bullpen. Especially as a lefty specialist...

Do the Red Sox win the World Series without Beckett at the front of their rotation last year? I say no.

I can never ever ever be convinced that a great setup man is more important to a team than a great starter. The only thing I will concede is that if Joba is not a GREAT starting pitcher...if he's merely good (like 15-10, 3.50 ERA)...then he should go back to the bullpen. Aside from injury, I cannot think of a single reason why he should not be in the rotation next season.

Michael in New York said...

Oh my God, you're all insane. Why not go work for that genius Hank Steinbrenner? I can't believe this is even a debate. How about the fact that moving a guy where he's doing tremendously to an area where he's unproven and might fail could be DISASTROUS psychologically? If someone is the BEST IN BASEBALL AT THEIR POSITION -- no matter WHAT position it is, why in heaven's name would you move them. For almost half a season, Joba has proven the best middle relief in baseball. Fact. Joba was NOT burning it up as a starter in triple A. Fact. Joba clearly has the mental makeup of a relieve. Fact. Mariano will be slowing down and need a replacement. Fact. Mariano served as a bridge before becoming the closer. Fact. Mariano has been an indispensable part of our 90s Yankee dynasty. Fact. An automatic closer like Mo is almost unheard of; he is in fact the greatest closer (as created in the last 25 years) in the history of the game. Fact. We really really will benefit from another one. Fact. Having Joba as the bridge and then closer is much smarter than moving him back and forth from bullpen to starter to bullpen to starter to closer. Fact. Joba and Mo have been key in four of our five wins. Fact. No starter can lock down three games in a week. Fact. A huge middle reliever and closer can. Fact. All that matters is winning games. Fact. The bullpen is key in the post-season. Fact. Mo has been more valuable than any starter pitcher. FACT Which starter has been more important than Mo? Andy? Nope. Cone? Nope. None of them. None.

Michael in New York said...

And no, great starters do NOT always make great middle relievers. They hate coming in the middle of an innning, they hate coming in with guys on base, they hate coming in on short notice, they hate not knowing when they're going to pitch or if they're going to pitch. Lots of factors make someone a great reliever that doesn't come into play for starters and Joba has FEASTED on each and every one of them. A great bridge is INVALUABLE. Don't fix what ain't broke. It's like the idiots who see Jeter out for a week and say, move A-Rod. People aren't like that. They're not pieces on a board game you can ust shove around. Every move impacts them and can hurt them long-term. How can you do better than the best in the game? What middle reliever has a better record over the past 40 games than Joba? h my Gosh! It's so OBVIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's so obvious I'm running out of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

priv8pete said...

Fact: Bears eat beets. Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Now, I agree that having Joba as the bridge is extremely valuable and that it's an absolute rush to see him come out of the pen, but that doesn't mean that he wouldn't be more valuable to us as a starter. Not tomorrow, unless there were a rash of injuries, but next year and for the next 10 years.

"Fact. Joba was NOT burning it up as a starter in triple A."

What is your definition of "burning it up?" Just a quick look at baseball-reference.com shows that in the 3 games that Joba pitched in AAA he had a WHIP of 0.75 and an ERA of 0.00 with a K/BB ratio of 18/1!!!!!!!! I don't have enough exclamation points for that!

Now, I'm going to assume you were actually talking about his AA performance since he made 7 starts there and only 1 start in AAA. For AA, in 8 appearances, he had a WHIP of 1.17, an ERA of 3.35 and a K/BB ratio of 4.4 (66/15). That was in his first year in professional baseball after having been promoted twice already (which is unheard of).

His minor league stats in his first year of professional baseball, in which he started in A and ended up in the majors, he averaged a WHIP of 1.01, and ERA of 2.45 and a K/BB of 5.0 (135/27).

Now if you just took his AA stats and projected them to the majors as a starter he would only be great. Johan Santana, for example, has a career WHIP of 1.09 in MLB.

However, how did Santana do in the minors? In his 4 years in the minors, he accumulated a WHIP of 1.39, an ERA of 3.22 and K/BB ratio of 3.79 (1381/364). Joba's 2007 was better than ANY of Johan's minor league seasons and he's the BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL!!!!

As I've stated before, I think Joba should stay in the bridge roll this year unless there is a drastic situation. Yanking someone around during the season is a recipe for a psychological disaster. But when Moose is gone, I'd like to stretch him out over the winter and spring and see what he can do as our 5th starter. It's crazy not to try and converting from a starter to a reliever in the middle of the season is easier than the other way around.

Michael in New York said...

But you need a great reliever more than you need a great starter. Wag just pitched a complete game but how often does that happen. You need great relief IN EVERY GAME YOU HAVE A CHANCE OF WINNING. Three times a week you would love to have a great bridge to lock down a win. I just watched Kennedy have a solid start (with lots of run support) and then watch the bridge give up the lead. That's thoroughly depressing for a starter and bad for team morale. And if the pitching is weak, you need middle relief all the more. I ask again, if someone is the BEST IN BASEBALL at their position, why would you move them. You NEED middle relief. Joba is currently (after an admittedly shrt stint), THE BEST IN BASEBALL as a bridge. What good is an ace if there's no middle relief and closer to guarantee tha six or (rarely seven) complete innings aren't wasted? You are so WRONG I'M RUNNING OUT OF CAPITAL LETTERS. By the way, i foolishly repeated the analysis of Joba in minor leagues from something I read in NYT or Daily News. Doesn't matter. In the modern era, you need a bridge and a closer or all the great starting pitching will go to waste. It's the bullpen that has let us down in the post-seasons.