The Joba Chamberlain Dilemma: Relievers Who Deserve Another Chance to Start
A lot of young players blast through the minors and gets inserted to the starting rotation, struggle, gets demoted to the pen and find a home there. They never get another chance to start while old retreads like Kip Wells, Jeff Suppan, and Sidney Ponson keep posting pedestrian numbers as starters. Joba Chamberlain is the most prominent example since he plays for New York, but the fact is that there are examples of such for almost every single team. Johan Santana actually started in the bullpen before becoming a full-time starter. CJ Wilson and Brandon Morrow are recent success stories. A counter example is Braden Looper, who made the transition from valuable bullpen guy to crappy starter who can't find a job and everybody forgot his bullpen work. Who deserve another chance to start?
He was pretty good until hitting the wall in September. His ERA last year as a starter was actually in the 3.5-3.7 range most of the year, which isn't bad at all in the AL East. I know he had a strict pitch count and couldn't work deep into games, but how is Phil Hughes recent ineffectiveness down the stretch any different from Joba last year? Hughes was also lights out as a reliever last year, but no one is calling for Hughes to get send to the bullpen. Why the double standard?
Former first round pick is not the overpowering Joel Zumaya/Carlos Marmol type. He's also too good to be a middle reliever. I happen to think he would be better than Porcello as a starter.
Hensley was a good starter with the Padres in 2006. He revived his career this year as a member of the bullpen and was recently promoted to closer. He competed for a job in the rotation during Spring Tranining and was lights out. I was pretty disappointed when he didn't get the spot. Now, he might have performed too well in the bullpen and get another shot as a starter, which I think he is capable of.
The Brewers version of Joba. He had early success at both starting and relieving, but the club couldn't make up its mind. This whole yanking around resulted in him doing poorly in both capacities the past 2 years.
Marshall already proved that he is a good starter when given the opportunity. Why the Cubs never commit to starting him full-time baffles me (especially when guys like Casey Coleman is in the rotation). I just hope his talent doesn't go to waste like Scot Shields.
Stauffer has the stuff, pedigree (4th overall pick in 2003), and track record (3.58ERA in 14 starts last season) to be a starter, not to mention he has been lights out all year. He's a clear upgrade over LeBlanc and Correia.
The Rockies version of Joba. He did well in 2007 as a starter, poorly in 2007, and was never given another chance to start. All these juggling clearly taken a toll on him. Another prospect ruined my mismanagement.
Neftali Feliz/Aroldis Chapman
Feliz is a pretty good closer as a rookie, but he is too good not to get a chance to start next season. Chapman is in a similar situation.
I know he's a lights out closer, but live arms are around all the time (recent examples Kenley Jensen, Jordan Walden, Craig Kimbrel, Daniel Bard all have closer stuff and the looks of Carlos Marmol). Papelbon can the repertoire of a starter and deserve another chance to start.
He's good enough to start for a lot of teams right now. He eats innings and posted passable number in the tough AL east.
He's a great strikeout pitcher with inconsistent mechanics and control, but the former Phillies prospect has done a pretty decent job when given a chance to start. He is definitely an upgrade over what the Royals have in the rotation right now.
Shields' window is probably closed at age 35. He has been performing very poorly this season after coming back from surgery. It's one of those sad stories. Basically Shields had what it takes to start in his prime from 2001-2008, but settled in as a set up man and never got a chance. (he totalled 148 innings in '03 starting 11 games and posted a 2.85 ERA).
Batista showed everybody why he can still be a viable starter when he made an emergency start and pitched 5 shutout innings. He had a horrible 2008 season and never got a chance to start again. I don't think one bad year should diminish his entire of body work and the things he has accomplished in his career. He's a savvy veteran who knows how to pitch and a lot of teams could do worse than plug Batista at the back end of their rotation.
He seems to be destined to follow Shields' career path. The difference was that Heilman actually spoke out in his desire to be a starter, but he wasn't given the opportunity and his career floundered since speaking out (possibly due to unhappiness with his role).
Once upon a time, Humber was a top prospect and the 3rd overall pick in 2004. Given that his college teammate Jeff Niemann was a late bloomer (another teammate Wade Townsend, another former top prospect, got injured and is out of the league), Humber may follow Niemann's step to stardom. The Royals can do worse than give Humber a chance to start down the stretch. He's just 27.
Madson got a chance to start a few years ago and was feast and famine. He was sent back to the bullpen. I feel like he didn't get a fair shake.
Nunez was a pretty good prospect back in the days and I still think he never really got a chance to establish himself as a starter in the big league level (only 6 career starts).
Once upon a time, Rauch was a top prospect. His stuff doesn't blow anybody away, which makes him a poor fit as a closer or a late inning reliever. He's more valuable as a starter.
I know he's 34, but he's a late bloomer. Since figuring out how to pitch in the big league, he hasn't gotten another look to start.
He was really good as a starter and as a reliever this year, but he's more valuable as a starter. His lack of overpowering stuff makes him a poor long-term option at closer.
Competed for a starting job in spring training, but ultimately stayed in the pen. I like to see him get a chance to showcase himself as a starter.
Wasn't bad as a starter last year until he got injured. He's too good to be in the bullpen even as a closer. Great control. The O's certainly needs help in the rotation more than the bullpen.
Not bad as a starter last year with the Marlins and he's just 25.
Many people forgot that Franklin started his career as a starter and had success as a starter in the AL for several seasons. He is not really good closer given that he is fairly hittable and has mediocre stuff. Given his improved control the past few years, it wouldn't be a bad idea to try him as a starter again in the NL.
Loe, like Colby Lewis, seems to figure out how to pitch in Japan. But while Lewis got a chance to start, Loe is stuck in the Brewers pen.
Germano was a solid starter with the Padres 3 years ago and has been lights out out of the pen this year after spending time in Japan. He has the track record to be a good starter for the Indians.
Former Royals prospect was decent as a starter back in '03 and actually struggled in the bullpen after making the move, but he never got another chance to start.
Mujica has a ridiculous 70:6 strikeout to walk ratio. He was great starting late last year. He's clearly an upgrade over Wade LeBlanc and Kevin Correia.
Baez wasn't bad as a starter early in his career, but he got converted to a closer because the Indians needed one and never got another chance to start.
I know bullpen probably saved his career this year, but I still think he could be a decent inning eating starter in the NL.
Chan Ho Park
It's pretty clear that Park can't handle AL East hitting given that the Yanks released him in half a season, but Park could be a decent inning eater in the NL.
Weaver pitched well as a starter when given the opportunity last season. It is surprising that he is used so sparingly this year and made zero starts despite so many injuries to the pitching staff.
Hampton recently made a comeback. Pitching for a team that actually is employing Kris Benson this year, Hampton should be given a chance to start.
I don't know the story with Janssen, but if he's healthy, he's too good to be a reliever.
Chacin had success against AL East powerhouse and then got injured. He is currently a reliever with the Astros. If he is healthy, I think he is still good enough to be a solid starter in the NL.
Harrison, part of the Teixeira package the Rangers received along with Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, flopped as a starter the last 2 seasons, but he's still young enough to turn it around. He's been pitching better out of the pen, but I hope he gets one more shot in the rotation.
Maloney is a Reds prospect who is overshadowed by fellow youngsters Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood, Johnny Cueto, and Edinson Volquez. He has really good control and deserve a chance to start.
Farnsworth showed some potential as a starter back in '99 when he first came up. I was pretty excited when there were rumours suggesting that he might start this year during Spring Training, but it never materialized.
Yes I know he's old and he doesn't strike anybody out anymore, but he's a savvy veteran who knows how to pitch the right way.