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Should Josh James be on the playoff roster?


After another dominant outing, James has drawn some attention. On yesterday’s game recap, there was some discussions in regards to Josh James and if he should be added to the play off roster, and comparing his abilities to some of the top closers in the game.

The good news? We have an extremely large sample size to go off, I mean as of today, he has pitched 7.2 innings in the majors!! That’s 132 pitches! So take all of this article with a grain of salt, and consider it more of a fun discussion piece than a true factual analysis.

So first off, who is Josh James? As of last year, he was a no name, non-prospect, struggling to a 4.38 ERA in AA.

Then this year happened, he turned it all around. Based on some issues related to sleep being resolved and some minor mechanical refinements, he became a dominant force, dominating AA to a tune of 15.78 K/9 and 12.92 K/9 in AAA.

The good news – we have the ability in the majors to look a bit deeper at his pitches. And for the good fun, let’s compare him to Kimbrel and Jansen.

Let’s rank them by average velocity:


Chapman – 99.1 mph

James – 97.5 mph

Kimbrel – 97.0 mph


Chapman – 87.5 mph

James – 85.7 mph

Kimbrel – 86.5 **

(Kimbrel uses a Curveball as his third pitch, with his last registered slider in 2011)


Chapman – 91 mph

James – 89 mph

So by velocity standards, James is in the league, but outmatched by Chapman. But velocity is only one part of the equation.

Spin Rates

James – FB – 2,370 RPM / Slider – 2,200 RPM

Chapman – FB -2,473 RPM / Slider – 2,499 RPM

Kimbrel – FB – 2,354 RPM

Pitch Values/100

James – FB - (-0.58) /// Slider – (4.53) /// Change – (1.26)

Chapman – FB (1.45) /// Slider – (2.36) /// Change – (0.71)

Kimbrel – FB (1.47) // Change (2.40)

Interesting to see that James’ fastball ranks so poorly in this regard, though his slider looks amazing in that regard.


James – 9.9%

Chapman – 16.0%

Kimbrel – 17.1%

In James long tenure, he simply has not been able to match the swinging strike % of the other 2 elite closers.


I don’t think to any one’s surprise, while James has had a dominant start to his career, he’s not quite at the illustrious elite closer level yet.

The good news? He doesn’t need to be. The question truly is if he should make our bullpen for the playoffs.

Here is a high level recap of each of our relievers on FIP and K/9, let’s assume 8 relievers make the cut:


Osuna 2.25 2.22 8.44

Rondon 2.05 2.64 10.25

Pressly 1.08 1.54 12.42

McHugh 1.96 2.75 11.89

Peacock 3.07 3.5 13.5

Smith 3.1 3.45 9.52

Sipp 2.18 2.52 9.55

Devenski 4.2 4.24 10.18

Harris 3.88 2.45 10.59

James 3.52 2.63 13.5

Vote and let me know if you think James has made the cut, and who your 8 picks are!


Should James be on the Playoff Roster?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    (199 votes)
  • 23%
    (62 votes)
261 votes total Vote Now