I wouldn’t have brought up the Joba Chamberlain debate if Bryan Hoch hadn’t. But he did, and another convincing nugget from Joe Girardi was released.
"It is a great debate," Girardi said. "But our plan is for him to be a starter. I think he's a top-end starter in our rotation. I think he has that ability, if he stays healthy, attacks the zone and just becomes a little more mechanically sound."
The most important thing I take from Girardi is, “he’s a top-end starter in our rotation.” He really is. I consider Chamberlain the Yankees No. 2 — maybe 3 — starter only behind CC Sabathia — and maybe A.J. Burnett.
Sabathia’s uncanny ability to go deep into ballgames puts him over the top, and is clearly the ace of the staff. Burnett and Chamberlain share 95 mph fastballs and nasty sliders. Burnett has the experience and pitch count efficiency, but Chamberlain has improved as a starter in June.
He is averaging a little over six innings per start, which is his highest average in any month of his career. He has also lowered his number of pitches per inning from May to June by over two pitches.
So with Chamberlain improving as a starter, is this really still a debate? I don’t think so.