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Using Reports & F/X to Diagnose Joba

By Mike Silva ~ April 6th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

I always enjoy reading the take of the guys over at TYU. They are good Yankees fans who are reasonable in their approach of the team. In other words, analysis without the pom poms.

Chris H. pointed out that Joba was still not consistently reaching the high nineties during his bullpen stint on Sunday. He speculates on injury or change of mechanics. Maybe it’s the constant yo-yo of starter to the bullpen that has Joba all messed up mentally on the mound. None of us knows for sure, but even Brian Cashman believes we will never see the Joba that burst on the scene in 2007 again.

I looked further into his performance from Sunday. In order to understand where I am going, read this scouting report that I took earlier this spring from the Ariball service:

HABITS: 3-0 ALWAYS throws FB to lefties 100% (86% is avg). 3-2 throws slider to righties 58% (16% is avg). 3-2 throws slider to lefties 50% (14% is avg). Throws sliders 60% more frequently from the stretch (24% vs 15% of all pitches).

First, Joba is predictable. If I were a hitter I would lay off the slider and wait for the fastball. His command isn’t great as Joba always gets into deep counts. If you wait him out you will get something to hit. In that case, even if he touches 96 or better, big league hitters can crush dead read. They know what is coming.

Next, back when Joba was still in the bullpen dominating in early 2008, F/X by Texas Leaguer had him throwing his fastball 64% of the time and reaching an average of 96 mph. That pitch was thrown for strikes and put the hitter in a bad count where a good slider gave them no chance.

On Sunday Joba threw his slider 12 pitches and a 4 seam fastball 9 times. No dead read, but a repertoire that perhaps he was using during his starting stints. The four seamer is not touching the high nineties and that extra 3-4 miles per an hour makes a huge difference. He isn’t consistently throwing strikes with the slider anyway. I always view this as an out pitch, not something that he should primarily be using. Why the change? Could it be the reports on the batters he faced? The Green Monster looming? General fear and nerves on opening night? We probably will never know.

I haven’t even gotten into repeating mechanics and the mental side of pitching which surely go into some of those results. In short, the kid is a mess.

I am not a pitching coach, nor do I play one on the radio. I am sure Dave Eiland and company know this and infinitely more when it comes to Joba. In my humble opinion they should just make him go out there and throw. Forget the two seam, four seam, managing the count. Dead read and use the slider as his strikeout pitch. Joba is not a thinking man’s pitcher and that is why he never would sustain success in the rotation.

Once again, this F/X data from Sunday tells me you have a pitcher coming into a game that is not aggressive. If Chan Ho Park regresses from his NL performance and Joba can’t rediscover his former bullpen self, all of a sudden the Yankees bridge needs a ton of reevaluation.

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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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1 Response to Using Reports & F/X to Diagnose Joba

  1. Kevin C

    Joba will be fine, the guy is 23 for christsakes.

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