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Before you jump off the Joba The Starter bandwagon

Please read this (and yes, I know it's a bit late) -

Last night we saw a 23-year-old kid have a bad game. It was his second straight - no question about it. But let's not go overboard: from some of the comments on this site, you'd think Joba was as bad as Chien-Ming Wang. These knee-jerk reactions are irrational.

His ERA now stands at a-better-than-average 4.25, third among Yankee starters.

Joba's velocity last night was 93.5 MPH. Is that not good enough? It won't be as fast as when he relieved because that's the nature of baseball: pitching fewer innings is easier and less taxing.

And we've seen him be very successful as a starter - last season he had a 2.76 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP in 12 starts.

Now let's play a game called Guess the Pitcher:

22 years old, 4.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP...

23 years old, 10.64 ERA, 2.20 WHIP...

22 years old, 4.74 ERA, 1.51 WHIP...

21 years old, 5.61 ERA, 1.64 WHIP...

25 years old, 4.82 ERA, 1.51 WHIP...

and now Joba: 23 years old, 4.25 ERA, 1.56 WHIP

My point is not that Joba will turn into a Hall of Famer (like the aforementioned pitchers), but that a bad stretch doesn't mean he automatically won't. It's two bad starts, two.

All I remember hearing the past couple years was how the Yankees had to develop their own pitchers so we wouldn't have to rely on the likes of Carl Pavano, Tim Redding, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, etc.; and the Quadruple-A guys that we got to know too well: Ty Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Jeff Karstens, Darrel Rasner, Kei Igawa, etc.

That brings me to my next point: if you're throwing Joba into the pen, who takes his spot in the rotation? Sergio Mitre (28 years old, 5.36 career ERA, hasn't pitched in the Bigs since '07), Josh Towers  (32 years old, 4.96 career ERA, last seen in '07), Jason Johnson (35 years old, 4.99 career ERA), Igawa (do I have to go over his resume?)? You liking any of them?

Joba is 23, has a 3.04 career ERA (3.62 as a starter).

So the choices seem to be ML re-treads with no promise, or watching a kid with a ton of promise go through normal ups and downs.


In addition to all that, Andy Pettitte had another poor game. Should he be moved to the pen?

Joba's ERA as a starter is 3.62. Pettitte's over the same time frame ('08-'09) is about 4.62. A full run difference. Before you tell me that Joba doesn't pitch deep enough, I've already looked. He averages 5.1 ip/start - Pettitte has averaged a hair over 6 ip/start. How much is a full run in ERA worth? 2-3 more outs?

It would seem those traits might roughly even out. Therefore, if Joba deserves to be in the pen, why not Andy?