Allen Barra, writing in this month's Atlantic, explains how the Yank brainiac pitching gurus helped sandbag Joba
New York Yankees Joba Chamberlain has a torn ligament in his elbow. This means the two most hyped pitching phenoms of the 21st century, Joba and the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, have now fallen victim to the same curse: the "Inverted W," or the "Inverted L," or whatever a particular trainer or sports physician wants to call it. .........
In the spring of 2008, after the words came the coddling. When this happens with a young pitcher, it is always a case of decision by committee. Then-manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman came up with "The Joba Rules," which limited the number of pitches he could throw in an outing and the frequency he was allowed to throw them, instead of just letting him pitch and see how long he was effective before tiring.
Worse, they began tinkering with Joba. Yankees new pitching coach Dave Eiland and special pitching instructor Rich Monteleone worked with him to add a curve ball and a change-up to his arsenal. The change-up was a natural—nearly every great fastball pitcher develops one, and the greater his fastball, the more devastating the change-up. But I remember sitting in the press box at Yankee Stadium with Baseball Prospectus's Will Carroll, who has studied pitching injuries for years, when we were handed the press release on the curve ball experiment. Carroll articulated my thoughts, "Why put strain on that young arm by teaching him a curve ball? What's wrong with fastball-slider-change?" To which I added, let him learn the curve ball as his arm grows stronger. We were right