Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is Okie better than Joba?

It's 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon, which means it's time for another episode of Trapped in the Office. Today's a tough day to be here, too, because it's Absolutely Perfect outside, but between the five-game winning streak and that picture on the left, it would be hard to get too upset. Seriously, we live for things like "David Dellucci three-run bombs off Joba." They could not possible make us happier.

We live in New York, so we see the Joba Adoration Society up close, and belive me, it ain't pretty. They've got shirts, posters, everything Joba-related in this town. We love us some Okie, but we let the man do his thing. Except for their results (which, after last night's game, are remarkably similar), the men couldn't be more different. Joba's the next Clemens (ha!), bound for superstardom; Okie's the southpaw who gets batters out through smoke, mirrors, and a wild-ass motion.

I looked at their numbers from last year, through the same number of innings, and it's a tough comparison. Joba's better, but not by all that much, given that Okie gave up an ER in his final outing (putting him at 24.2 innings to Joba's 24), and how delicate Joba was used.

Joba
24 IP, 34K, 6BB, 1HR, .38 ERA

Okie
24.2 IP, 24K, 6BB, 1HR, 1.05 ERA

This year, things have turned toward Okie, as Joba's come back to Earth (though his numbers were worse than Okie even before last night's glorious HR):

Joba
13.1 IP, 15K, 5BB, 1HR 3.38 ERA
(Pre-last night: 12.1, 14, 3, o, 1.46)

Okie
14 IP, 13K, 4BB, 1HR, .64 ERA

Analyzing these numbers, it shouldn't be a surprised that the younger Joba, in limited and controlled usage last year, posted better numbers — and posted ridiculous numbers, actually — than Okajima, who was used heavily coming out of camp. But this year, you're seeing what happens to Joba as an every-day setup guy, and — ta da! — their numbers are almost identical. That's not bad for a guy (Okie) who was more or less called Dice-K's translator when he was signed by the Sox and gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw in the majors. (Perhaps Classy Freddy Dolsi, whose first ML pitch was deposited into downtown Detroit by Manny last night, will have a similar career path.) It also speaks to the Sox' ability to breed popular players that a phenomenon like Okajima isn't taking up all the headlines with every step he takes. The Yankees are desperate for a new star and have latched onto Joba, their only homegrown standout of the last decade (I'm not counting Cano) whereas the Sox have Pedroia, Ellsbury and Buchholz, with Lowrie and Masterson waiting in the wings. Okajima may not be homegrown, but he's something new and awesome; the Joba comparison above should show just how awesome he really is.

Do I expect him to fall off a bit as the year goes on? Of course. The Sox' pen, like the Yanks', features two huge arms and then some movable pieces. But I also expect Joba to give up some homers, like he did yesterday. This will be Joba's only full season in the pen, so it'll be an interesting comparison at the end of the year, but one that I think Sox fans will be happy with.

1 comment:

andy reinsch said...

Dennys Reyes has an ERA+ of infinity. The problem is:

a)he wears the wrong uniform
b)he's fat
c)it's fewer than 20 relief innings so who cares?
d)all of the above