Last night, we saw Joba Chamberlain pitch in the seventh and eighth innings. His velocity was not what we expected.
Riffing off of Chris’s post, I think it’s quite possible that Joba’s fastball will never sit 95 like it did before his shoulder injury in Texas. Both that injury and the apparent change in mechanics seems to have robbed Joba of velocity.
A big argument of those who preferred Chamberlain to be in the pen was that his velocity kicked up there, and he was able to blow it by guys without much effort. The post-injury Joba has not been able to do that. His slider is still effective and moving well, but the drop in fastball velocity is helping to make that slider irrelevant. Then again, that could have a little more to do with Joba’s frequent struggles with control. Not being able to locate a fastball is a much bigger problem than not throwing it as hard.
No matter what you consider the bigger issue–velocity or control–if Joba doesn’t solve at least one of them, he could be in for a bit of a rough time. He’s got loads of talent, though, and when (yes, when) he fixes one of those things, he’ll be sitting pretty, be it in the rotation (unlikely) or the bullpen.
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