Key Stats: C.C. Sabathia finished last season with 230 strikeouts. It was the second highest total of his career (his best came when he worked as a laborer and not a pitcher with the Brewers). That put him 4th in that category last season after being 14th in 2010 – a pretty significant jump for a veteran player.
Skeptics Say: Using the eye ball test, I’m not going to mention the fact that C.C. throws too many innings or is too heavy to stay on the mound. He’s been pitching a lot of innings on a lot of pounds for a lot of years. If nothing breaks why fix it? Sabathia is going to be among the league leaders in wins and he won’t hurt you in any other stat. The one thing to watch is his WHIP which was up a touch for the fourth consecutive year. Year to year he fluctuates very little (with last year being slightly better than the couple before), so there’s not a whole lot of noise needed from those that don’t believe.
Peer Comparison: With a player as consistent as Sabathia it should be fairly clear where he gets ranked in the preseason. Since 2006 he has been ranked no better than 7th and no worse than 48th. Over the last three seasons he has been ranked in the very small window between 34th and 40th. So he should sit snug between the same names anywhere you look right? Wrong. CBS has him 6th and Tristan Cockcroft has him ranked 12th.
Team Outlook: My biggest question with the Yankees doesn’t have to do with can Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez still play at their respective ages. The answer is yes, but at a much lower level than they were playing seven years ago. The biggest question is what can Curtis Granderson do for an encore? He was their best player last year, but absolutely nobody thought he could do what he ended up doing. Yesterday he took a pitch to the opposite field for a home run – a sign that the good times might keep rolling for the Grandy Man. Sabathia has averaged 20 wins per season since coming to the Yankees. There’s no reason in the Yanks lineup or bullpen to believe that can’t happen again this season.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #6 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #12 Starting Pitcher & #39 Overall; Yahoo: #7 Starting Pitcher & #31 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #7 Starting Pitcher & #41 Overall; RotoChamp: #29 Overall
Projection: I would be surprised if Sabathia is as valuable in the strikeout category this season, but he can still be a top 10 strikeout guy because of the innings he throws.
20 wins 3.07 ERA 1.14 WHIP 212 K in 230 innings