21 Dec 2010
Brian Cashman really put an end to the idea of Joba in the rotation with this quote given to Ken Davidoff:
“His stuff plays so much significantly [better] out of the ‘pen. We had given him an opportunity to pitch in the rotation, and the velocity dropped. It’s just not the same stuff.”
Looking at the numbers, Cashman is right. Joba averaged 92.5 mph on his fastball in 2009 vs. 94.6 in 2010. His slider went from 84.6 to 87.2 and his curve from 77.7 to 80.2. My question is- so what?
Velocity has to be the most overrated aspect of pitching. Location and the ability to change speeds are much more important. Cliff Lee looked pretty good this year averaging 91.3mph on his fastball. And if velocity is so important, why did the Yankees bring Sergio Mitre and his 90.2mph fastball back?
I think this might be a diplomatic way for Cashman to say that Joba doesn’t have the mental makeup for starting. I can’t really argue that, but the Yankees had better be sure about that assessment. Joba’s stuff may drop when he is a starter, but it is still a lot better than that of most of the other current candidates for the rotation.