No sleeping in class Sabathia! (Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Grading The Yankees: CC Sabathia

I like it when you call me big poppa! Here is a little mood music for this class session. CC Sabathia pitched pretty well coming off his contract extension. The 32-year-old Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees last offseason worth $122 million over five years. Sabathia faced two DL stints this season due to a groin strain and stiffness in his throwing elbow which forced him to miss a few weeks of the season. Although he had injury troubles, Sabathia still managed to have a successful year for the Yankees. The Yankees’ ace was still their best pitcher even if Hiroki Kuroda had the year of his career. That just goes to show how good Sabathia truly is.

Here is a link to players already covered in the Grading the Yankees series.

Discounting injuries, CC managed to pitch another year of 200 innings — actually, he pitched exactly 200 innings this year. If it weren’t for those two injuries I’m positive that he would have pitched near 230 innings. A mark Sabathia has been lying around in pinstripes since he came to the Bronx in 2009. Sabathia still managed to garner 15 wins for the Yankees in 28 games started. I’m not sure his lack of wins is due to his injuries or just the Yankees inability to be a consistent offense this year. It’s probably a product of both. We all know that wins aren’t really a good measuring stick to grade a player though.

Let’s take a look at the other numbers that give us a better idea on how well CC pitched in 2012.

Split W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
1st Half 9 3 .750 3.45 15 1 0 107.0 107 50 41 10 29 105 1.271 8.8 3.62
2nd Half 6 3 .667 3.29 13 1 0 93.0 77 39 34 12 15 92 0.989 8.9 6.13
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2012.

 

The hefty left-handed Sabathia had two similar half seasons in 2012. Post All-Star break, Sabathia lowered his ERA and WHIP in 14 fewer innings. His home run totals increased by two, but overall he still had a better second half of the season than the first. Possibly his rate statistics improving in the second half might have to do with lesser innings, but 93.0 innings is still a significant enough sample size for Sabathia.

Season Totals – 3.38 ERA/3.33 FIP/3.20 xFIP/8.87 K/9/1.98 BB/9/1.14 WHIP/4.8 fWAR

All quite solid statistics for Sabathia. While they’re not on par with his Cy Young caliber 2011 season, he still pitched well enough as the ace to get the Yankees into the playoffs. And in the playoffs Sabathia was at the head of the Yankees many solid pitching performances. He won two crucial games in the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched 17.2 out of a possible 18 innings in two starts giving up just three earned runs in the process. Although his one start in Game 4 of the American League Championships Series wasn’t great, the entire Yankees team was off against the Tigers. Sabathia could have pitched a gem and still lost that game.

Final Grade: B+

  • Injuries could have raised Sabathia’s final grade for 2012.
  • Room for improvement
  • Work is satisfactory for his abilities
  • Effort is there
  • Must participate more in physical education

Conclusion:

I fully expect CC Sabathia to pitch better in 2013 if his surgery he had this offseason holds up. I feel that the only reason Sabathia isn’t in the Cy Young talks this season as he was in his previous years with New York is due to his two stints on the DL. If the Yankees have the Sabathia that pitched toward the end of the season up until the ALDS, then they’ll be in excellent shape as far as their top of the rotation goes for 2013. I look forward to handing out an A to Sabathia next year.

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