Pinstripe Preview: CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia is entering his final year of the nine-year, $202 million contract he signed with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season. He will be 37-years-old in July and his future is uncertain after the 2017 campaign. He has struggled in recent years while battling injuries, resulting in multiple surgeries, and an alcohol rehab stint in 2015. As I mentioned in a previous article about Sabathia’s future in Major League Baseball (which you can find here), he added a cutter to his arsenal in 2016 with the help of Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.
Sabathia had a decent year in 2016; he started in 30 games and pitched 179.2 innings resulting in a 9-12 win-loss record. His ERA of 3.91 is the lowest he’s had since the 2012 season and his 152 strikeouts in 2016 were his most since 2013. His win-loss record is definitely no indication of how he pitched, the Yankees offense had its struggles for most of the season and Sabathia kept them in plenty of games. His success came from his newly found cutter where he is able to put more movement on the ball as he loses pitch velocity with age. He clearly doesn’t have the endurance anymore to make it into the late innings but he consistently gave the Yankees a solid five or six innings.
Going into 2017, the Yankees are going to look for Sabathia to be as consistent as last season. Based off of his age and recent injury history, I don’t think the Yankees can really expect him to be much better than his 2016 numbers. That being said, the Yankees’ biggest weakness going into the season is the lack of starting pitchers so they will need all the consistency they can get.
Sabathia does have two starts in Spring Training so far, one very solid outing and one very bad. In the first game he had a line of 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 2 K. He got himself into and out of a bases loaded jam in the first and then struck out two batters on very sharp looking sliders in the second. The second game he pitched in was on March 12th against the Atlanta Braves and he didn’t even make it out of the first inning. He had a final line of 0.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, and 1 K in that game, however, the team played very bad defense behind him. It is only spring training but with the current state of the rotation the Yankees can’t afford CC having many games like this one. As long as he is healthy I expect Sabathia to have very similar season to last year.
Article by: Paul AlvaroFollow @PAlvaro18