Friday, June 8, 2012
CC Sabathia vs. CC Sabathia
I’ve been wondering how worried we should be about CC Sabathia this year. He’s clearly not pitching as well as he has over the first three years of his Yankee career, but I really don’t know if it’s just a blip or if we’re seeing the start of his decline phase.
He’s not throwing as hard as he did last year, but I don’t know if that’s an early season thing and something that will improve as the season moves on. Here’s a comparison of CC’s first 12 starts of 2012 vs. his first 12 starts of 2011.
fip: Fielding-independent pitching
xfip: Expected fielding-independent pitching
bb/bf: walks and hbp per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: Batting average on balls in play against
ld%: Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
gb%: Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
fb%: Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
iffb%: Percentage of batted balls that were infield flies
FB%: Percentage of fastballs thrown
FBv: Average fastball velocity
SL%: Percentage of sliders thrown
SLv: Average slider velocity
CH%: Percentage of changeups thrown
CHv: Average changeup velocity
Sabathia’s striking out a lot more hitters this year and walking them a bit less frequently, which is good. What’s not quite so good is the more than doubling of the HRs he’s allowed. His batted ball profiles are essentially the same aside from the big spike in his HR/FB rate. His velocity is down by about 0.7 mph and he’s throwing more sliders and fewer changeups.
You can make the case that Sabathia’s pitched better over his first 12 starts of 2012 than he did over his first 12 starts of 2011 depending on what you look at. But either way, these numbers tell me Sabathia should be fine, and will probably pick up a bit more velocity later in the year. FWIW, here is how he finished up 2011.
Sabathia threw a fair amount harder over his final 21 starts last year than he had over his first 12 and for the most part was more effective aside from a slightly higher BABIP against and by a smidgen of ERA.
So yeah, let’s hold off on worrying about him for now.
Previous entry: Yankees.com: Sabathia toils, while bats muster little vs. Rays