0.38 ERA, 12.8 K/9, 0.750 WHIP in his first 19 games in 2007
Joba Chamberlain was supposed to be the next best homegrown Yankee reliever. Of course, there were the Joba Rules. But Joba to Mariano Rivera was supposed to be the ending of every Yankee baseball game for the next seven years. It was the only recipe that Yankee fans were supposed to know.
He threw two pitches over Kevin Youkilis in just his ninth game as a big leaguer! This guy just got it. He didn’t allow a run in his first 12 appearances. He was the best pitcher I had ever seen.
When he finally gave up a run, I was dumbfounded. But it was the only run he allowed in his 24 innings in 2007.
Then, those damn midges.
So in 2008, the Yankees wanted to make Chamberlain a starter. And it was great at first. In his 12 starts, he had a 2.76 ERA and a 10.2 K/9, as compared to a 2.36 ERA and 11.3 K/9 as a reliever. Either way, he was solid. He even earned a Rookie of the Year vote after his first full season, but it could never match his debut stretch in the Bronx.
A 4.75 ERA as a full-time starter in 2009 pretty much ended that experiment, and he never made another big league start again. From 2010 to his final game in 2016, he only struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings, and owned a 4.012 ERA.