In the past, I have been very critical of writers for presenting opinions from anonymous scouts without providing us with the scout’s credentials. This is a tactic that allows a writer to spout off about whatever they so choose, as the following quote from Jayson Stark’s most recent column illustrates perfectly:
On Joba Chamberlain: “They’re waiting for him to become the next Josh Beckett, and it ain’t gonna happen. He just doesn’t have the power stuff Beckett has. He doesn’t have the delivery. He’s not the athlete Beckett is. And he doesn’t have the breaking stuff. If they ever get smart, they’ll put him back in the bullpen and let [Alfredo] Aceves be the [No.] 3-4 starter he ought to be.”
Firstly, advocating that Joba go back to the bullpen so Aceves can start is ridiculous. Aceves is excellent in the bullpen, and probably would be a 4 type starter, while Joba has ace potential. Whoever this scout is, he does not know much about maximizing value.
Secondly, I never understood why a guy as inconsistent as Beckett was the goal for Joba Chamberlain. Let’s hope he turns into Roger Clemens sans steroids. However, even playing along with the scout leads me to believe that the guy has not done his homework. In regard to stuff, Joba’s velocity is similar to Beckett’s at Joba’s age, and Joba utilizes more pitches than Beckett did at the time (Beckett was FB, CB, CH, while Joba is FB, SL, CB, CH). While Beckett is a bit more fit than Chamberlain, Joba has not heard real questions about his weight since college. Neither is a particularly great athlete, and both have adequate deliveries that they occasionally struggle to repeat. It is also important to note that this scout is comparing Joba to the veteran Beckett. Let’s take a look at the numbers from Beckett’s early years compared to Chamberlain’s. Remember that Josh was in the NL East, while Joba pitches in baseball’s toughest division, and that Chamberlain did spend some time in the bullpen.
Beckett through age 23 season:
273 IP, 239 H, 111 BB, 1.279 WHIP, 3.32 ERA, 125 ERA+, 7.9 H/9, .8 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 9.5 SO/9
Joba at this point:
227 IP, 201 H, 93 BB, 1.295 WHIP, 2.93 ERA, 151 ERA+, 8 H/9, .8 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 9.7 SO/9
When considering the league difference, Joba has had a better start to his career, as evidenced by his significantly higher ERA+. To state unequivocally that he has no chance of replicating Beckett’s career when he has the stuff and the results that suggest the contrary is incredibly bold and seemingly uninformed. I would love to hear an explanation. Alas, the opinion comes from an anonymous source, severely diminishing it’s value.