CC Sabathia did something yesterday that no Yankee pitcher has done in 30 years. After completing the third inning, he became the first Yankee pitcher since Tommy John in 1979 and 1980 to have back-to-back seasons with 19+ wins and 220+ innings pitched.
But you’d have to go even farther back to find the last Yankee to win 19+ games, pitch 220+ innings, and have an ERA below 3.40 in two consecutive seasons. That hasn’t been done since Mel Stottlemyre in 1968 and 1969.
The last Yankee pitcher to do that in three straight years? Red Ruffing from 1937-1939.
It’s safe to say that Sabathia has been the most durable, most consistent, and most dominant Yankee starting pitcher in quite some time.
One guy who isn’t having his finest season is Alex Rodriguez. In fact, by most accounts, A-Rod is having his worst season ever. His batting average, runs scored, stolen bases, OBP, OPS, and WAR are all career lows for a full season.
However, one thing A-Rod has been prolific at this season is driving in runs. I’ll admit, runs batted in is not the most revealing stat; it relies more on the batters ahead of you and their ability to get on base. A guy like A-Rod will naturally have more RBI opportunities than a guy like Pedro Alvarez, the cleanup hitter for the Pirates.
But still, it isn’t a mute stat. And driving in runs has been a strength for A-Rod this year. If you take out his otherworldly 2007 season (and I know you can’t, but just play along here), A-Rod is having his best RBI season. Not in terms of quantity, but in terms of RBI per plate appearance.
In 2010, A-Rod drives in a run for every 4.81 plate appearances. It is the best rate in baseball. Clearly A-Rod is making the most of RBI situations.
Sabermetrically speaking, you could argue A-Rod is having one of his best seasons in a Yankee uniform. Fangraphs developed a statistic called Clutch or “how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.” A-Rod’s ‘Clutch’ number is not only his highest in a Yankee uniform, but his highest ever.
No, his .273 average and 25 home runs won’t impress the ladies. And they’re both far from his career norms. But a closer look at his stats reveals that he isn’t having a terrible season.