When CC Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees in late 2008, he was viewed as the missing ace in the pitching rotation that would help them be crowned World Series Champs again. His response? Win the World Series under the first year of his contract. He pitched exactly the way he needed and dominated with his fastball, change-up, and slider.
From 2009-2012, he was the clear ace and go to arm for the Yankees. After that 2012 season, his go to fastball started to lose the velocity and pop that it once had. Following a sub par 2013 season and an injury riddled 2014 campaign, Sabathia looks at best the third starter in the rotation. Fans may panic, but with less pressure on his shoulders, Sabathia can be just the type of pitcher they needed in the middle of the rotation.
There is no denying the fact that Sabathia was one of the top 10 pitchers in the game for five years. He was durable, and his arm fatigue was never a concern for his managers. His fastball velocity during those first five years averaged between 93-95 MPH. Last season, in eight starts, that velocity average was 89.6 MPH. This is something that made fans panic because of how much he relied on that fastball to dominate batters.
What many people forget about is that he has a good change up and a very good slider when he is on his game. Last year he relied more on his off speed pitches, and the results were mixed because of the lack of pop in his fastball. His fastball can still set up his change-up and slider, but he must hit the corners of the plate and have complete control of those pitches.
Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte had a similar fastball late in their career. Many doubted them because of their age, but with their high IQ of the game as well as the command of their fastball, they were able to control the count and get wins for the Yankees.
CC Sabathia can follow their example and be the perfect middle of the rotation starter for the Yankees. He is capable of winning14-17 games and having an ERA that hovers around 4. But what this team lacks is championship winners, and he is someone who knows what it takes to win a World Series ring.