[image title="Royals Yankees Baseball" size="full" id="15772" align="center" linkto="full" ]
In all the excitement and joy of the 2009 championship season, there was one area of the club that simply was not very much fun. Joba Chamberlain’s starts over the last two months of the season were excruciating to watch, as the Yankees limited his innings to protect him arm. After all that, it would be quite frustrating to hear that the Yankees still overused him and that he is at risk for an injury. However, according to fantasy site Razzball’s well researched list of 20 pitchers at risk, Joba is in fact in danger of injury or weakened performance.
The criteria for getting on the list include having the previous season being your first full one as a starter, adding upwards of 700 pitches over the prior season, and extensive use of the slider, and Joba meets all three standards. Now, this system is by no means perfect, and the author of the study is still tinkering with the criteria. That said, I do think that the results can teach us something about the Yankees approach to young arms.
Whether it is Razzball’s system or the Verducci effect, Joba exceeded the totals that most freely available systems would have allowed him in 2009. As I have said a number of times in the past, it seems that the Yankees are a bit more liberal with their pitchers than people like Verducci would be. They tend to allow a jump of 40-45 innings over the previous career high, and do not seem to have an overall pitch limit. This is likely based on the results from a proprietary calculation on pitcher injuries and risk. This is an area where research has been largely incomplete, so it is hard to say whether the Yankees are being prudent enough. Hopefully, the results on Joba will help confirm the club’s process as reasonable and adequate.
Photo: Kathy Willens
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