And The Starting Pitcher Is….

by COLLEEN KROPP · June 13, 2008

Joba ChamberlainMany New York Yankees fans are quick to judge the move by manager Joe Girardi to make Joba Chamberlain a starting pitcher as opposed to relief. Why, many ask, would you move somebody who was such a clutch reliever into a starting position?

While this transition seems silly and unnecessary on the surface, the numbers prove otherwise. A starter in the minors last season, Joba pitched with about 100 innings as his cap. However, by late July/early August, the Yankees realized that they were in need some help. Since Joba only had about 20 innings remaining before reaching his cap-off number, he was decidedly used as a reliever.

In developing a young pitcher, studies have shown that it is not good for the body to throw more than 40 innings than were done the previous season. Since a solid major league starter generally throws about 200 innings or more in a year, the decision to start Joba's transition towards starter position now was the only practical choice. Given that he threw 100 innings last season, gradually increasing the number thrown this year is the healthy and safe way to make him a decent major league starter.