JOBA WATCH: 16/16
Streaks like this, well, nobody ever really cared about...Until now!
The sample size police might come after us on this one, but Joba Chamberlain is doing something pretty remarkable.
So far, not a single big league hitter has made contact with his slider. That's right. This youngster is sporting a slider WHIFF rate of 1.000 in six appearances. Some of the victims: Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Tejada, Pudge Rodriguez, Orlando Cabrera, and Vlad Guerrero.
It's obviously an exceptional pitch. It features a late, deep break--more of a downer, Bonderman-type slidejoint than something slurvy. But...keep in mind that Chamberlain is throwing this pitch in the strikezone only 16% of the time, which is about half as frequently as Fernando Cabrera and Brad Lidge, who are notorious breaking ball buriers. Nevertheless, you can give Chamberlain credit for executing the out-pitch and coaxing a swing--that counts for something--a lot of frontwards K's.
Keep coming back to STATS BLOG for all updates on this exciting WHIFF development.
UPDATE: Magglio Ordonez's incredible season continued in the 7th inning Friday night, as he became the first major league player to make contact with Chamberlain's slider, fouling out to first on an 0-1 pitch. The streak has ended at 17.