Sabathia to the Yankees

Dave covered the signing of CC Sabathia on the front page, but what about CC’s fantasy value?

Wins: Sabathia went 6-8 with the Indians and 11-2 after the trade to Milwaukee. Sabathia’s early season woes have something to do with the mediocre Indians record (remember how he allowed 27 earned runs in his first 18 innings? Neither do most people) Sabathia did have a few tough losses though, two with Cleveland in which he allowed two runs or less, and one with Milwaukee. The 2008 Yankees offense scored less runs than the Indians, despite seemingly have more offensive talent, they did outscore the Brewers. In 2009, without Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu, but with Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano regressing towards being good again, and a few probable free agent additions, the offense should maintain decent run support for Sabathia.

ERA: Don’t go out of the way to get your hands on Sabathia expecting a 2.70 ERA again. It’s rough to estimate, but Marcels has him at 3.22. That’s a pretty reliable projection, and we should expect a slight bump in moving back to the American League.

Innings: Same story as ERA, it’s likely that 2008 was the absolute peak for Sabathia’s workload unless the Yankees get a little too frivolous with their new toy. He’s still CC Sabathia, and he’s still going to get a few complete games, but again, don’t expect a complete game one-third of the time.

Strikeouts and Walks: Sabathia struck out a career high per nine. Sabathia’s strikeout percentage of total batters faced increased a smidge, from 24.3% with Cleveland to 24.8% with Milwaukee. It’s possible for a bit of regression here, Sabathia’s been up trending for three straight seasons. Here’s a graphical look at Sabathia’s strikeout rates:

WHIP: With walk rates covered, let’s look at hit rates. Sabathia’s had a pretty average BABIP the past few seasons. As a team, Yankees pitchers had a collective .323 BABIP against last season good for third highest in the league last season. The Brewers and Indians were quite a bit better, which is to be expected, given both of those teams likely have better defense, suggesting it’s probable to see Sabathia’s batting average against raise.

Conclusion: It’s possible that Sabathia becomes less valuable despite potentially earning more wins. Expect his ERA and WHIP to increase while his strikeout rate and innings load dip.

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