Fantasy Baseball: Ranking the Yankees – No. 5, SP CC Sabathia


Feb 18, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a bull pen session as he works out at Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The popularity of fantasy baseball is growing every year.  Whether you are a fantasy baseball veteran in multiple leagues each season, someone who plays casually or completely new to the game, there is a lot to know before creating your fantasy squad.

The New York Yankees often boast plenty of fantasy options, and this year is no different after some huge additions this winter. You can look at a player’s value on the field and how they help the Yankees a certain way, but should take a different approach when analyzing their fantasy value.

Fantasy players should take into account the size of their league, position eligibility, league scoring settings, position scarcity, injury history, playing time, ballpark and many other factors when determining whether a player is a prudent pick and when (or how much to spend) to draft them. As always, keep in mind who you are drafting with. If you are in a league with a ton of Yankee fans, you’re probably going to have to overpay for Yankee players.

When taking a look at the top Yankees, there are a few stark differences in fantasy values with some. A few years ago, guys like C.C. Sabathia and Carlos Beltran were some of the first few players taken in drafts. Now the two veterans can be had for cheaper, but can still provide plenty of value. Some players are more valuable than they ever have been thanks to new roles on the team, and some are making their debuts on the fantasy scene.

Throughout Spring Training we’ll take a look at the top 10 most valuable Yankees in fantasy baseball. Counting down from 10 to 1, we’ll take an in-depth look at each player, what they can provide this year and when you should add them to your team.We continue our list with the fifth most valuable Yankee in fantasy baseball:

CC Sabathia, SP (Auction Value – $5)

The Yankees “ace” did not pitch as such in 2013. His fourth season with the Yankees was by far his worst with the team, and arguably the worst of his career. Sabathia struggled with the long ball and allowed a career-high 28 home runs. He also finished with a career-worst WHIP (1.370), ERA (4.78), WAR (2.7) and HR/9 (1.19).

A big problem with Sabathia last season was velocity. At 33-years-old in his 13th season in the league, there is a lot of wear and tear on that arm. Sabathia’s always been a dominant power pitcher, but last year the velocity just wasn’t there and was down to a career-low 91.3 MPH on his fastball. A common issue veteran aces have the first year they really lose their velocity is a failure to adjust, and that’s what happened with Sabathia for much of the year. He still relied on the fastball around the same rate as normal, but his wFB (fastball runs above average) was a putrid -19.6.

The 2014 season is a huge year for Sabathia. He simply has to prove he can adjust and become a better pitcher than he is a thrower in order to extend his career. His slider was still effective last year (though not as effective in years past), so he will need to spot his fastball better and pick his spots while combining it with the slider and changeup.

The big man is still tall, but has lost a ton of weight – at least a ton of fat – to look slim and trim heading into spring training. The former ace is going for just $5 in auction leagues and can be had pretty late in snake drafts, and that’s great value for plenty of upside.

Owners should have confidence that the veteran can become a better pitcher and also provide them with more wins with an improved offense this season. He’s still the No. 1 pitcher on the Yankees, so the potential for big numbers is there without much of a risk. That is why he’s ranked ahead of Masahiro Tanaka on this list. The relative unknown is going for more than double the price of Sabathia, and the wiser move is likely to grab Sabathia and another solid mid-tier pitcher (even Kuroda if you want to stock up on the Yankees) for the price of Tanaka alone.

No. 10 – Ivan Nova, SP

No. 9 – Mark Teixeira, 1B

No. 8 – Brett Gardner, OF

No. 7 – Hiroki Kuroda, SP

No. 6 – Masahiro Tanaka, SP