Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joba To Stay In The Pen - Fantasy Fallout

The New York Post reported Tuesday that New York Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlain will begin the season as Mariano Rivera's setup man, then be sent down to the minors in June to stretch out his arm so he can be part of New York's rotation for the second half. .


There are several things that need to be dicsussed before drafting Chamberlain this season. Last year he was lights out in 19 regular season games. In 24 IP, Chmaberlain allowed one earned run and struck out 34 batters. The stuff this guy possesses is elecetric. Starting him in the bullpen would lead me to believe he will be staying in the bullpen for the duration of the season.

Things to think about:

1) Remember, the Red Sox tried to do this with Papelbon a few years ago and realized he was too important to the bullpen to move him.

2) Chamberlain is the future of the Yankees pitching staff and could be the man to replace Rivera. Why would they risk any type of injury by stretching him out during the season after starting the season in the bullpen. This isn't Tanyon Sturtze here people.

3) The Yankees appear to have settled on the following rotation:

Starting Rotation Wins in 2007

Wang - 19 wins
Pettitte - 15 wins
Hughes - 5 Wins
Kennedy - 1 Win
Mussina - 11 WIns

It's a questionable rotation, but would you move your best reliever to see if he can become a starter?

4) Rivera is getting older and sooner or later he will break down. Chamberlain, in his short time, appears to be the only member of the Yankees bullpen that can handle the role of closer if it became available.

5) The Yankees bullpen without Chamberlain does not impress anyone:

Bullpen's 2007 ERA

Latroy Hawkins 3.42
Kyle Farnsworth 4.80
Brian Bruney 4.68
Jose Veras 5.79
Edwar Ramirez 8.14

... Does that look like a bridge to the 9th inning to you?

In conclusion, I think the Yankees are almost forced to put Chamberlain in the bullpen and keep him there. If one of the starters doesn't fair well, they can always call up an arm or find someone in a trade.

Draft status

Chamberlain looks to be one of the top "Holds Guys" in the league. He will be a part of a team that will win 90+ games and an offense that will score runs. His strikeout totals last year makes him a lock for over 100 as a reliever this season. He should easily tally 30 holds this season in the bullpen. Remember, Rivera isn't getting any younger and if he gets hurt, Chamberlain will be the man to fill that void.

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