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The Importance of Minor League Innings

By Mike Silva ~ September 25th, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Benjamin Kabek over at River Avenue Blues talks about tonight’s Joba Chamberlain start at Yankee Stadium. This topic got tons of responses, including one by Tampa Yankees who said:

I’ve mentioned this before but it bares repeating…

Minor League Innings:
Neimann – 372.0
Wade Davis – 767.1
Shields – 554.1
Garza – 307.0
Price – 144.0
Kazmir – 251.2
Joba – 88.1
Hughes – 330.0
Lincecum – 62.2 (FREAK!)
King Felix – 306.1
Doc – 638.0
Verlander – 118.2
CC – 246.2
Beckett – 216.1
Buchholz – 443.1
They are all good pitchers who got the luxury of some seasoning in the minors. Joba is learning how to become a better pitcher (aka you don’t need to throw the ball thru a brick wall every time, hit your spots, work batters, develop your pitches, etc. etc.) in the majors and in the toughest division. Let’s get Joba thru the year healthy and get his innings up. This is why it is hard for me to be overly upset at his performances but if he continues like this next year it should be a major concern.

The reason I bring this up is because it fits right into what I said about both Joba and Pelfrey earlier today. Joba, as previously pointed out, pitched only 88.1 innings in the minors. This was after only pitching 208 innings in two years at Nebraska. Pelfrey was brought up in July of 2006 after only 96 innings. He also jumped 4 levels that year. Albeit he had more college experience (359 innings).

Back during the Kazmir trade debacle, I remember Rick Peterson mentioned that 500 pro innings was about the number necessary for development. I think these innings should be done at the minor league level. College ball is still about winning not development. I worry that both Pelfrey and Chamberlain have suffered irreparable harm being rushed to the big leagues. Remember, it’s not just about health, but diet, travel, and the social aspects of big league life are equally as important. Joel Sherman even mentioned in an article this week how Chamberlain lacks maturity. Obviously there are exceptions (Tim Lincecum), but the more innings you compile in the minors the better prepared these pitchers will be. How many of you were ready for the working world right out of high school or freshman year of college? I know I was not. Hopefully both local teams can take this as a lesson and not make the same mistake with future prospects. As “Tampa Yankee” said you can’t get overly upset about this, but I certainly am skeptical about both these pitchers future.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to The Importance of Minor League Innings

  1. R U Kidding

    Pelfrey came up advertised as a strikeout pitcher! What happened? Everybody talks about his “stuff”, yet he has a very low K rate and has trouble going 6 innings. An ERA of 5.00 isn’t what a good #3 starting pitcher has.

  2. Mike Silva

    He has the potential for a #3, 2008 proved that. I don’t think you have to K people to be a great starter, but right now Big Pelf is nothing more than a #4 or 5

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