Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let the great experiment begin!

It's Joba Day in Yankee Land, as the big right-hander makes his debut start tonight at the Stadium against the Blue Jays.

The above headline comes by way of "Arrested Development" force-of-nature Dr. Tobias Funke, but in truth Joba's move to the rotation is hardly an experiment at all. This has been a brutally calculated process by Yankees management and it would take something completely unforeseen for him to be any place else but the top of the Bombers rotation for a long time (15 years exactly if you ask Hank the Village Idiot).

So what can we expect from Joba Chamberlain, starter? Well I think it's important we don't ask for too much in his first season. Of course, a large percentage of fans will want -- and expect -- him to go Doc Gooden '84 on us, which is asking an awful lot for a guy who has never faced big league hitters more than once in a game. I do believe his transition will be more-or-less seamless from 'pen to rotation, Chamberlain is the go-getter type armed with a lot of power and energy. The dude's a bull.

Chamberlain's inning cap for '08 is said to be in the 140-150 innings range, and he enters Monday with 23 2/3 innings under his belt in 20 relief appearances. He could start up to 20 times if he stays in the rotation through the end of the regular season, and if averages six innings a start -- a plausible number seeing as he is unlikely to be pushed deep into games this year -- that would rack up an additional 120 innings on his odometer, giving him 143 2/3 projected frames for the season. It's likely not accidental that the projection falls perfectly in line with the 140-150 organizational outlook. Again, every aspect of Joba's development has been studied like the Russians monitoring Drago in "Rocky IV". "I WIN FOR ME!"

I've heard grumblings that it's a mistake to have Joba debut opposite Toronto ace Roy Halladay, which I don't really get. If you think that will make him pitch differently, or lose his composure in some way, then Joba's not ready for the rotation anyway. If we've learned anything, it's that Chamberlain is an assassin out there. Just keep the damn bugs away.

Completely arbitrary prediction time. Assuming hoss stays healthy, I predict 10-4, 3.20 ERA, 122 innings, 128 K's. As you can see, even the tempered members of Yankees Universe have high hopes for their rising son. Now it's time to see the kid show his stuff.

Very exciting night in the Bronx.

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