Silva: Is Joba Sidney Ponson?

Yes, seriously, Mike Silva asked that question:

If you compare both players in their first full season of just starting it looks like this:
Ponson: 4.71 ERA, 1.5 WHIP, 99 ERA+, and FIP of 5.39
Chamberlain: 4.75 ERA, 1.5 WHIP, 90 ERA+, and FIP of 4.82
To be fair Ponson never had Joba’s success in the minors, but he was also younger than Chamberlain when thrown into the rotation. From a build standpoint they are both around 6?1 and weigh 230 pounds. Big boys that probably could afford to get into better shape. I will leave the off the field troubles out of the comparison.

Well, that is the end of this conversation, as Joba is clearly no better than Ponson and therefore should certainly be included in a Roy Halladay deal. Of course, a look in the comments also found the following:

In his first full season starting, Greg Maddux had a 5.61 ERA in his first full season starting with a 4.50 FIP and a handful peripherals (K/9, K/BB, WHIP) that were worse than Chamberlain’s.

Well, that settles it. Ponson=Joba>Maddux. Or……….Mike Silva is warping information as he usually does to try and fit his point (I really hate coming off so harsh, but Silva has done this for a while now and does not get called out on it enough). You can find plenty of players who had similar first years to Chamberlain and conclude Player X>Joba. The key is to look past those meaningless comparisons and try to analyze whether the player has the underlying talent necessary to succeed. I believe Chamberlain does, and I fully respect those that believe he does not and should be traded. But meaningless comparisons to Sidney Ponson do nothing to further that conversation.

0 thoughts on “Silva: Is Joba Sidney Ponson?

  1. Daveinmd

    I love how everyone always leaves out how dominant Joba was as a starter before he walked off that mound in Texas with a tired shoulder. If his velocity never returns, he’s not going to be a great starter. If you think the velocity comes back, he will be a number 1 down the road. Its pretty much that simple.

    • MJ

      I don’t actually think it’s that simple. It’s not just a velocity question, it’s a question of pitch location and pitch selection. His inability to command the zone with the FB and his inability to get a called strike with his SL made Chamberlain a very predictable pitcher in terms of pitch patterns in 2009. Velocity is important but it’s not more important than the ability to throw strikes (or, put another way, the ability to get hitters to believe that you will throw strikes).

      • Ben

        velocity is very important especially to fastball pitchers. 98 is a tad different than 91

        • MJ

          Meh…throwing 98 but never getting it in the strikezone seems worthless to me. Similarly, throwing 98 right down the middle seems equally worthless. If you can’t locate, all the velocity in the world makes no difference.

          • Daveinmd

            When he throws 98 he doesn’t need pinpoint control. The loss of his velocity also led to him nibbling. So yes, the velocity is the most important thing for Joba.

          • MJ

            Pinpoint control isn’t the issue here. Throwing 98 doesn’t change the fact that you still have to be around the zone or else hitters won’t respect your offerings, no matter how fast they are. Sure, you can strike out a few guys here and there with fastballs at the eyes but in a 3-2 count, I don’t care how fast it is, if it’s not close, they’re not swinging at it.

            Velocity is only one part of pitching. Frankly, I think velocity is too often overrated. You need to be able to throw strikes and you need to be able to vary your patterns. If you can’t do those things, you can’t pitch in thebig leagues.

            If you’re so focused on just velocity and ignoring the other stuff, you’re implicitly making a case for Chamberlain to remain in the bullpen. Think about it…a pure FB pitcher with plus velocity but with no command and control of either (1) his best pitch or (2) any secondary pitches. Sounds like Kyle Farnsworth to me. I’m not saying that’s who Chamberlain is, I’m simply saying that you can’t get stuck on a radar gun reading, pitching is WAY more complicated than just watching Chamberlain throw 98 and thinking that’s all there is to it.

          • Daveinmd

            Before he injured his shoulder he was an elite starter. He had high k rates because guys had to cheat to hit the fastball. So they chased his slider. He also showed an excellent curve. For power pitchers it is largely about velocity. That velocity is what sets up the other pitches. Going from a guy that could pitch like Clemens to a guy that had to try to be Greg Maddux is never going to work or rarely.

          • Well Joba had no control or velocity this year… and for Joba velocity is important because of his slider, he needs to create enough differential between the two pitches to make sure guys can’t wait back for the slider because the fastball is only 2 or 3 MPH harder.

            An interesting stat that shows how good Joba was at one time… In 08 while he was starting he was in the top 5 for fastball to changeup speed variation… He had a little under 11 MPH difference in his fastball and change, losing that really hurt him this year.

  2. “(I really hate coming off so harsh, but Silva has done this for a while now and does not get called out on it enough)”

    I don’t think he gets called on it enough because people have just stopped reading. I mean, the man berated his own readers a week or so ago, for not buying into a rumor that he started. Silva is the typical “I know more than you because I know more than you” guy, and that kind of incredulity is not something on which I’d waste my time.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Well said. I just hate that attitude, it is infuriating, and I bet there a few readers out there who read that and thought it an apt comparison. He’s just an embarrassment to all sports bloggers.

      • I read scouting reports on Joba when he came out and people did compare him to being “another Ponson” so maybe he just ran with those old reports in order to make his own misinformed point.

    • James K.

      I second the ‘well said’. Silva confused people into thinking he was a member of MSM or something by putting his name on the blog title but people have realized what a joke his blog is. Best practice is to ignore.

  3. MJ

    I have no clue who Mike Silva is, which, from the sound of it, sounds like I’m better off.

    Whatever Chamberlain becomes or doesn’t become, the comparison is an awkward one — if only because I don’t believe Ponson ever had the pure stuff Chamberlain has. I may be wrong but I seem to recall Ponson being a guy that threw two-seamers and splitters in addition to four-seamers and sliders. Chamberlain, as we know, came up with FB/CB/SL/CH.

  4. Matt O

    I’ve always thought Joba has more talent in his chubby little finger than most pitchers do in their whole bodies, but I’d be lying if I said Joba’s weight (and therefore perceived lack of conditioning) isn’t a concern of mine. He did increase his innings this year but really looked to be laboring at times.
    And what the hell is up w/ him drinking Redbull during the games? What is he doing for the 5 days between starts that he needs a Redbull to get through 5 innings? Shouldn’t a professional athlete be using a sensible diet and regular exercise to maintain energy levels?
    While the comparison of Joba to Ponson is ridiculous now, anything is possible when you do or don’t put your mind to it. I hope Joba wants to be the best all the time and not just when the lights are on him.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Yeah, it is legitimate to have concerns about Joba, and I think that those pushing for him to be traded for Halladay are not out of line or lacking in logical arguments. This particular argument just happens to be particularly wrong and irksome.

    • MJ

      I’m not too worried about the Red Bull. After all, some very healthy and fit athletes used greenies as recently as a few years ago and those are way more potent than Red Bull.

      But I agree with your overall point: Chamberlain’s lack of fitness and, on the surface, his apparent lack of discipline is something to be monitored and a bit alarmed with.

      • He needs to show he cares more about being great because at times last year it almost looked like struggling didn’t bother him… Some of his post game interviews were a little odd as well with his answers Vs reality.

    • Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher drink like 4 or 5 red bulls a game… Ever see Swish holding one up after a HR?

  5. Scott

    Well said – BTW, here are Roy Halladay’s numbers for 2000 when he was sent down to the minors.

    Wins 4
    Loses 7
    ERA 10.64
    Innings 67.2

    I guess Ponson=Joba>Maddux>Halladay

    No doubt – an amateur manner in which to assess Joba’s future.

  6. Jake H

    This is moronic. Firstly Joba is not 6’1 he’s 6’3. 2nd Joba was dominate for over a year and his 2nd half #’s are swaying his career #’s.

    • Joba wasn’t dominate for over a year as a starter and he wasn’t dominate as a starter in the first or 2nd half of this year and in fact his 3.6 ERA or so at the time he started having his innings fuxed with was actually a lot of luck and his peripheral numbers showed that.

      I think Joba can still be great but it boils down to hard work and whether or not he really wants it bad enough… or is just being in the MLB enough.

  7. We actually JUST had a discussion on twitter about the Joba/Ponson comparison- Silva definitely got that from ScoutingtheSal, who said it as a joke at Greg and myself. Here was our take on the Joba situation-

    http://mvn.com/pendingpinstripes/2009/11/my-rambling-winding-joba-chamberlain-meta-post/

    • Moshe Mandel

      I meant to comment on that post when you first put it up. As I said to Greg on Twitter, very, very thoughtful and entertaining read.

      • Thanks. I really appreciate it, I’m glad you liked it.

    • daneptizl

      The Scouting the Sally Guy said he’d trade 3 Jobas for Josh Johnson and that it was an easy call… he also said it was a joke, but then realized that there was some truth to it… he loses 3 internets for that.

  8. mryankee

    I think the decision you make is 10 years of Joba better than 5 years of Halladay. I do not think Joba will ever be as good as Halladay is and thus I would include him in the deal if that were the deal breaker. I would probably include Romine over Monetro. In the end this si a real oppourtunity to get another ace. Also Halladay is not a pure power pitcher and is very durable. I have no doubt you will get 5 great years from Halladay.

    • Ben

      great point

      who thinks joba will be better the next 5 yrs???

    • Yankee1010

      You’re completely overlooking the cost component in terms of dollars and players.

      I’m sure you were advocating for a Santana trade, but what is better – Santana or Sabathia, Hughes, Melky, Kennedy, and Swisher (in exchange for Marquez and others)?

      People just don’t seem to understand that the Yanks cannot load up with $20 million older players at every position. They need to have some younger, cheap guys who are serviceable to great throughout the roster to allow them to spend big in certain areas. Trading away guys like Montero, Hughes, Chamberlain and Jackson would bite them in the ass.

      Would you prefer Halladay locked into a 5 year deal from age 33 on at 20 million per or Cliff Lee at about the same price, plus, Joba, Hughes, Montero and Jackson? I’m not saying that it would cost all of those guys for Halladay, but people are so shortsighted.

      I trust Cashman here. Perhaps some other people should too after the 103 win juggernaut just won the World Series.

      • MJ

        Agree 100%.

        • Completely! People are jumping on the lets trade everyone for either Halladay or Josh Johnson bus so fast you would think we didn’t make the playoffs! The panic needs to stop! Trading Montero for Halladay is dumb to pay Montero and Hughes/Joba+ is ridiculous! Think about the future people!

  9. Yankee1010

    Silva would be outsmarted by a retarded monkey.

  10. Ben

    The dude throws 90mph as a starter. These 4 pitches we all heard so much about are nonexistant.

    Trade him while his value is high.

    • Daveinmd

      He did not throw 90 mph as a starter before the injury. He likely needs to build arm strength. But of course you’ll ignore that.

      • Exactly, he was throwing 96 as a starter before… Ben do you think he was a reliever in the minors? Did you not see him start in 08?

  11. Joba will have a long hard winter ahead of himself because, I don’t believe Cash/Joe are going to let him slide into spring training the way he did last year. I think they took him aside and put the law down…work out and get in shape for ST…that is the true comparison to Ponson.
    With a pitcher, if your legs are out of shape…you ain’t gonna cut it baby. He’ll be back in 2010, one doesn’t forget how to pitch in one year, one just thinks he is above the hard work needed to stay on top of your game. Getting there and staying there are two different things…he’ll learn!

    • I hope he puts the work in Ranger because I agree completely! He came into last year pretty much knowing he couldn’t be sent down and being completely secure in his rotation spot no matter how good or bad he was and with the way the year ended up with his pitch selection and what not it almost seemed as if he was disinterested in putting in the work to be great.

  12. leftylarry

    “Is Joba Sidney Ponson?” Not yet but he has the potential.

  13. MJ: Meh…throwing 98 but never getting it in the strikezone seems worthless to me.Similarly, throwing 98 right down the middle seems equally worthless.If you can’t locate, all the velocity in the world makes no difference.  

    If you want a perfect example of this just look at how the Dodgers lost the final game to the Phillies… A Jonathan Broxton fastball at 101 MPH hit back up the middle for a game winning double.

    • Daveinmd

      Yet Broxton was a very good reliever for the Dodgers all year and mainly because of how hard he throws.

      • Yes but without control you have nothing!

        Broxton is a great closer but you have seemed to missed the point! When Broxton or any pitcher throws down and away, up and in, etc… then he is going to be effective but any pitch no matter how fast it is left in the middle of the plate can be hit!

        The point is you need control no matter what kind of stuff you have, if you throw 100 it will help you get away with more mistakes than those who don’t but you will still get hit.