The Baseball Exchange

The Yankee bullpen scenario right now by red
August 15, 2007, 2:35 am
Filed under: Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, MLB, New York Yankees

Edwar Ramirez

Well, Joba is taking the league by storm. Ok, maybe not quite to that extent yet, but as of August 13th, he’s pitched 5 innings, given up only one hit, has an ERA of exactly 0.00, and has struck out eight. So quoth a user on a Yankee message board:

“Joba Chamberlain can’t be real, can he? The Yankees can’t have a pitcher this good, can we?”

Well, I would normally say not so fast, just because he’s a young player, he’s got so much time to develop, who knows what could happen between now and whenever, etc., etc., etc. But, I’ve decided to go against it, just because he’s shown so much in the five innings he’s pitched: A fastball reaching 99 mph, a nasty slider which he cam throw in any count, as he did twice last night on full counts, good poise and concentration on the mound… ok, I could go without the shouting and fist pumps, but nowadays only Mariano Rivera shows hardly any emotion, save just raising a fist halfway and shaking hands with Jorge. (Seriously K-Rod, why scream and chew your gum emphatically when you’ve already been eliminated from the playoffs like you did last year?) Besides, he deserves it with the pitching he’s shown. Anyway, the point is: Joba Chamberlain is in for the rest of the ride, and should solidify our bullpen as more than just a “we’ve-got-a-good-closer-but-everyone-else-sorta-sucks”-type-bullpen team.

Speaking of having only about three reliable relievers on the Yankees, why not just get it over with, demote Jim Brower, Jeff Karstens, and Kyle Farnsworth, and promote Edwar Ramirez, Chris Britton, and Brian Bruney? Let’s take a pause and compare stats, shall we?

Farnsworth: 46.1 IP, 1-1, 4.66 ERA, 22/32 BB/K ratio.

This is when you know you hate the guy: You type in his name for his stats on BR Reference, and you almost write farnsworthless unconciously. Seriously. Incidentally, his K/9 ratio, around 6, is the lowest since his rookie season. Even last year, when he was also ineffective, he still had a 10.2 K/9 ratio.

Karstens: 0-2, 10.2 IP, 11.13 ERA, 9/5 BB/K ratio.

Karstens had a nice year last year, but he’s turning more into a quad-A player every day. (The last player like that: Colter Bean. Close to dominant at the AAA level, just couldn’t make it more than five innings in the majors. Actually three. One thing in common of both of them: awful BB/k ratio in the bigs, even in the limited time of their stay.) Judging by Karsten’s three inning, five run performance tonight… I’ve a feeling he’s not staying for long.

Brower: 0-0, 3.1 IP, 13.50 ERA, 2/1 BB/K ratio.

“It’s been only a few innings now, how can you be so quick to jump on this guy, Red? He’s had a dominant season in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – a 1.65 ERA and 20 saves.” Well, Brower has what you’d call a ratio of talent and experience. Let’s say Brower’s 1.65 ERA has been accomplished by 70% talent and 30% experience – he’s pitched more than 1,100 innings in the minors. And let’s say there’s another player who also has a 1.65 ERA but is 21 and has little experience – his ERA is comprised of 95% talent and only 5% experience. When they’re both promoted to the bigs, the young, technically more talented one is going to be better because most of Brower’s experience percentage from his ERA is gone, while the young player, with less experience to lose, has lost less. That’s exactly what’s happening with Brower. Another quad-A player, demote ’em.

Meanwhile, some promising young ones from AAA:

Edwar Ramirez (AAA): 0-0, 38 IP, .71 ERA, 12/64 BB/K ratio.

That’s 64 strikeouts in 38 innings. That’s 15.16 Ks per 9 innings. Even better, in AA Trenton: 16.2 IP, 33 Ks. That’s almost 18 Ks per 9, higher than Joba’s 15 Ks per 9 in AA. He also had a .54 ERA there. He is already 25, but that doesn’t disqualify him from being the guy who’s got 95% of his miniscule ERA from talent. In fact he is that guy. Why just demote him when he got one bad appearance with the Yanks, mainly because he hadn’t even pitched in a game for something like 20 days?

Chris Britton (AAA): 4-2, 50.1 IP, 2.68 ERA, 14/54 BB/K ratio.

He was in the trade that sent Jaret Wright to Baltimore, a great move for the Yanks. There’s absoloutely no reason why he shouldn’t be on the team – he has a good balance of major league experience, pitching a whole 50 innings with Baltimore last season and compiling a very solid 3.35 ERA. This year he’s pitched 5 innings and has a 1.80 ERA. He got demoted only for the sole reason that is to make room for someone, probably Karsents or somebody.

Brian Bruney (MLB): 2-1, 42.1 IP, 3.40 ERA, 30/32 BB/K ratio.

Speaking of getting demoted for the sole reason of that to make room for someone like Karstens or somebody – Brian Bruney was demoted last week for that exact reason, despite posting the solid line you see above you. He’s not done so great since being demoted to AAA, with a 10.80 ERA, but only in 1.2 innings. And yeah, his BB/K ratio isn’t so great – but don’t tell me someone like Jim Brower is going to pitch better than him.

Right now, the attitude and stubbornness of the Yankee with their bullpen, especially considering people like Farnsworth (or rather especially considering Farsnworth, period), is maddening beyond belief. Perhaps it is true: Either you’re in his “Circle of Trust™” (trademark reserved by KCcitystar) or you’re left to being tossed around from AAA to the Yankees like a hacky sack. Only using your hands. Like a baseball. Or something. Either way, the Yanks have some bullpen problems, and they can fix it. I just wish they would fix it.


Peter Max and Alex Rodriguez stand in front of something from art hell.In other news: Am I the only one who thinks these paintings by Peter Max commemorating A-Rod’s 500 homeruns are… uh, sorta ugly?


So I was reading this essay written, oh, maybe mid to late 90s, by this guy who seems fairly fluent in the ways of sabermetrics. The essay was about how to compare and rate the greatest pitchers of all time, something like that. So he goes on about all these pretty advanced stats for its time (this was before win shares or VORP), and makes some pretty good points, some only OK ones. Then he suddenly says something, and I’m completely paraphrasing here, to this extent:

“A pitcher’s ability to win is crucial to his success, and one should be judged on one’s ability to win a game when pitching and must be taken into account when rating a player, as this is a true sign of a great pitcher.”

This is like someone ranting on global warming, the partiot act, how Bush has destroyed the nation’s economy, and then suddenly commenting on how fabulously the war in Iraq is going. Anyway, that’s enough. 2 hits in the entire 12-0 game. That sucks. And the Rays blew a lead to the Sox. That sucks too. I need a good night’s sleep. If you read this and have something to say – anything at all – PLEASE comment. Thanks.



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree with the total bullpen redo… Ramirez would of been pitching every other day after his first two appearances. Also, on another Chamberlain note, I have heard different nick names around. Some people have mentioned “Joba The Hut,” is that really the nickname you want for a possible all-star ace on the Yankees? Why not go to a classic nickname “Chief” since he is Native American, or add on a little something like “Super Chief” or “Big Chief” etc.? Any other ideas?

Comment by b. Stepnowski

With a name like Joba, you don’t even need a nickname, just Joba is enough. Actually, Joba is itself a nickname – he supposedly changed it from Justin legally because that was what he was called when he was a kid.

Comment by red

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