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Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Not The Years, It's The Miles: On C.C. Sabathia's Future

Helen actually dabbled in a bit of analysis over at Bleed Cubbie Blue as regards C.C. Sabathia, and you might find the results interesting.
So far this year he's thrown 195.1 innings (73 with Milwaulkee [sic]), and if Yost doesn't juggle the rotation he can be expected to make seven more starts. He's averaging 8.1 innings per start so if that holds he's gonna log another 58.1 innings for a total of 253.2 innings pitched. That's over 50 innings more than his season average, and 12.1 more than he pitched in 2007. (Not including the postseason.)

Sabathia has thrown 2948 pitches this season (1015 with the Brewers) and is averaging 112 pitches per game since coming to the NL. If he keeps up with that average he'll throw another 784 pitches (or close to it) and will end up with 3732 pitches for the 2008 season. That's more than 500 pitches above his career average, which is the equivalent of throwing five additional games this year over his average. (Last year he threw 3581 pitches, not including the postseason, a career high.)

The Yanks are in many places being declared the presumptive winner of the C.C.-stakes this coming offseason, but that assumes that (a) he's willing to put down the bat (he seems to enjoy hitting and in fact is pretty good at it; perhaps he goes to the Dodgers or Mets?), and (b) the Yanks decide to outbid everyone else looking to add free agency pitching; as pointed out by Tim Marchman earlier, the Yankees have a lot of holes to fill. Further, Sabathia leads Baseball Prospectus' Pitcher Abuse Points board with 93,233, more than 20,000 over his next nearest competitor (Roy Halladay). If the Brewers go into the postseason, that could bring his totals up even further. By going after the biggest name in the offseason free agent pool, the Yanks might be pursuing trouble.

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No offense to Helen, but last year he threw somewhere around 50 innings over his career average, and he responded to it fairly well, it would seem. Will it eventually catch up to him? Who knows, and the numbers are interesting to look at (honestly, I'm surprised that his career averages were so low without significant DL time), but I'm not sure they really portend to anything, good or bad.

If I were a team looking to sign him next year, it may make me a little leery. If I were a Cubs fan hoping he'd break down this year, I wouldn't hold my breath.
That's probably reasonable. Sabathia hasn't shown signs of breaking down so far, but any time you go over your career marks there's always the possibility of breakdown.

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