Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Joba's Spot to Lose...Not Hughes

In an awfully quiet Spring Taining Camp in Yankeeland there is only a couple issues to discuss before opening day. The main concern would be the 5th starter. Even though they don't "exist" this is still a pretty important issue. Perhaps not for 2010 but for 2010, 2011, 2012 and the years to come. Now many fans and non fans alike believe Hughes to be in the lead in the 5th starter battle. We saw what Joba can do starting right? He's a bad starter and we only want good people right? So it's obvious Joba belongs in the bullpen right? Yeah...no. Not at all.

For one, Joba is only 24 years old. Not many starters around his age just walktz in the MLB and start dominating as a starter. But of course we're the Yankees and 50 percent of the fans demand instant gratification and thus want Joba in the bullpen due to a lack of patience. If you want Joba or Hughes in the bullpen, or perhaps even both then you must reconsider. Name me 5 pitchers in the last 20 years that had an ERA+ of higher than 110 UNDER the age of 24? Yeah you can't, can you? And Hughes is only 23 years old! If they are given adequate time to grow then they will reach their ace level ceilings.

But in Joba vs Hughes we have to pick Joba. He just pitched a full season of starting. That means no more limits. He can go all out this year and maybe he'll get some velocity back. We saw how dominant Joba was in 2008 and I think we'll get that again in 2010. You can point to 2009 all you want but it means nothing. oba was tiring at the second half of the season (good thing they didn't go overboard since atired arm will get injured but those stupid Yankees and their "babying right?) and his eprformance suffered. Well before he tired his era was setting rpetty at 3.50. He was good all the way up to August before going downhill. Without innings limitations Joba will suceed as a starter.

Hughes too should be a starter but since he will have an innings limit and since he's younger we can afford one more year of him in the bullpen if he isn't optioned down to AAA. However he should not get the 5th spot from Joba. Joba is farther along in development and it makes zero sense if the Yankees out so many rules on Joba just to have him back in the bullpen in the next year.

Bold prediction time. Joba's 2010 performance line.
14-10 200 IP 3.75 ERA 8 K/9 60 BB 1.27 WHIP