It’s no secret that over the past three seasons Sabathia has really struggled. Plagued by injuries and and inability to use his hard fastball. CC Sabathia has had to learn how to pitch again, but this time without his hard fastball.
The first year that Sabathia was with the Yankees he threw a fastball 60.1% of the time. He combined that with his hard slider (17.9%) and change up (16.7%) Sabathia used this to dominate hitters. He proved to be a true ace with the Yankees and went 19-8 that season with a 3.37ERA and was a work horse through the playoffs. The Yankees would eventually win the World Series that year behind Sabathia’s strong pitching, and a very powerful offense.
Sabathia would flourish with the Yankees for the next three seasons after that. His average fastball continued to drop over the seasons though. In 2009 his average fastball was 94.1, it continued to drop over the seasons coming in at 93.6, 93.9, 92.4, and eventually dropping to 89.4. Sabathia’s repitore was made great by his hard fastball. The loss of velocity was a struggle for CC. He still thought he could over power hitters, but the fastball just wasn’t there.
The big lefty has started to learn how to pitch and its paying big dividends for him. He has only thrown a fastball 29% of the time this season, a large difference from his hay days when he consistently was in the high 50 percentages. He also has started using his sinker much more effectively at 34% this season compared to 16% in years prior. He has also been using his breaking ball at an increased rate.
This year CC put together two solid months in a row where he posted a 1.04ERA and a 3.68ERA in back to back months. After struggling the next two months Sabathia seems to have returned to form owning a 2.54ERA in his last 5 starts.
In Sabathia’s 8 wins this season he has put together a 1.92ERA. In his losses he has certainly had bad luck. He has however really lowered his homerun/flyball ratio which once sat as high as 23%. This year he has posted it at 12%.
One of the most interesting stats of Sabathia’s 2016 season though is that he has pitched 13 day games. His ERA in day games is 4.97 compared to night games where he has started 16 games and posted a 3.27ERA. This is interesting because day games normally provide shadows which play into the pitchers hands, but it hasn’t done that for Sabathia so far this season.
Though CC is not the ace that he once was. He provides stability in the rotation. The 2017 Yankee rotation is full of question marks, and potential holes. Sabathia can provide veteran leadership while being a solid pitcher. Sabathia will be a strong anchor in the middle to bottom part of the rotation, but it looks like he has potentially learned how to pitch instead of throw. He will be a welcomed addition to the 2017 roster. Even though the Yankees are stuck with his salary for one more season now. He will be able to help contribute for the Yankees next season.
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