• CC Sabathia’s Frank Tanana Impersonation

    Posted by on April 2nd, 2013 · Comments (6)

    Great job by Anthony McCullough doing a point-counterpoint analysis, on CC Sabathia’s fastball speed yesterday –

    Here’s a point-counterpoint analysis on Sabathia:

    Reason for concern: Sabathia’s fastball topped out at 91.7 mph on Monday, according to Pitch f/x data from Brooks Baseball. On Opening Day in 2012, his fastball hit 94.5 mph. On Opening Day in 2011, his fastball touched 94.7 mph.

    Reason for calm: Sabathia understands there’s work to be done. “I’m sure that the velocity will keep coming back, and the arm strength will keep building up the more I throw,” he said.

    Reason for concern: Sabathia’s fastball velocity fell to 92.3 mph in 2012, according to FanGraphs. That was a career-low.

    Reason for calm: Sabathia still struck out 8.87 batters per nine in 2012, the second-best mark of his career. In other words: His offspeed stuff is nasty enough to compensate for a diminishing fastball.

    Reason for concern: Sabathia generated just three swings and misses with his fastball on Monday.

    Reason for calm: Sabathia generated 11 whiffs with his changeup.

    Reason for calm: Sabathia starts slow. His 4.13 career ERA in April is his worst in any month (September/October is his time: 2.86 ERA).

    Reason for concern: Sabathia isn’t always terrible in April.

    April 2009: 1-2, 4.73 ERA.
    April, 2010: 3-1, 3.12 ERA.
    April, 2011: 2-1, 2.25 ERA.
    April, 2012: 3-0, 4.58 ERA.

    Reason for concern: The Red Sox peppered Sabathia on Monday. They put 12 men on base in just five innings (eight hits, four walks).

    Reason for calm: If Sabathia gets a strike call on a 1-2, second-inning slider to Jackie Bradley, Jr., maybe we aren’t fretting about his velocity at all.

    It’s still early – and Sabathia barely got any work in this Spring.  (In fact, that’s a concern of mine for the entire Yankees starting staff – as it feels like CC, Pettitte and Hughes didn’t start throwing in games until the last week or so.  Stress:  feels like.)  And, as noted above, Sabathia can be an effective pitcher throwing in the low 90’s.    Look at Pettitte.  He doesn’t throw that hard – but he knows how to pitch and get people out.  But, on the bad side, if Sabathia isn’t pitching well, he’s going to have to hear about the drop in velocity until his ears start to bleed.

    Comments on CC Sabathia’s Frank Tanana Impersonation

    1. Garcia
      April 2nd, 2013 | 8:59 am

      Reason for concern: Anytime the Yankees lose.
      Reason for calm: Game 1 of 162.

    2. Evan3457
      April 2nd, 2013 | 10:42 am

      CC doesn’t always start slow, but he usually does. One of the reasons I said the Yanks might be 6 or 8 games under .500 by the time they reach game 40.

    3. April 2nd, 2013 | 2:29 pm

      Posted at Fangraphs:

      Sabathia was one of the top starters I flagged as at risk for further velocity loss this season based on how far his velocity declined last year. CC lost nearly 1.5 mph off of his fastball in 2012. Pitchers that lose at least 1 mph have, on average, a 39% chance of either getting injured or failing to throw at least 40 IP in the following season. They also have a 91% chance of losing further velocity the following season.

    4. #15
      April 2nd, 2013 | 3:07 pm

      I think CC’s drop off last year was partially due to his elbow. He went under the knife for it. As Steve pointed out, CC had a light duty Spring. He needs some time to build arm strength. We probably won’t know until ~ June. The problem is…. with all the broken batters on the DL right now… we need to pitch well above trend until ~ mid to late May if we want to maintain a decent record.

    5. LMJ229
      April 2nd, 2013 | 10:09 pm

      If our starters don’t step up big time this month we are in big trouble. We really need our rotation to carry us right now. When we were down 4 runs yesterday it felt like 10. With the waves of bad news the Yanks were getting all spring I was really hoping CC would put us on his back and give us a reason to feel good.

    6. April 3rd, 2013 | 8:33 am

      @ LMJ229:
      I have faith in Kuroda, Pettitte and Phelps. Nova, not so much.

      Correction: I have faith in Pettitte until he ends up on the DL, which I fully expect this year, given his age.

      And, Kuroda will just be OK. Remember, last year, he was OK sans one month late in the year where he was stellar.

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