drudge_siren CC TOPS OUT AT 88 MPH IN SPRING TRAINING DEBUT!!


But, it’s really not that big of a deal. It is what it is. We know it’s happening. We know CC is in decline. However, we still expect good things from him in 2014, even with his reduced velocity. Here’s some of what we wrote last September, and it still applies today.

There’s hope for CC in 2014:

If you look at his peripherals this season, they look very similar to 2009 and 2010 — both years in which he finished Top 4 in Cy Young voting. Peep it.

His K and BB rates are very, very similar — thus why his xFIP is so close for all three years. Sabathia hasn’t lost the ability to whiff hitters and hasn’t seen an uptick in his free passes. The issue this season has mainly been the home run ball and stranding runners on base — both statistics which can be flukey.

He has been hit harder this season as you can see by the differences in his line drive rates. And we all know that his fastball velocity has dropped, with an average of 91.3 mph this season versus the 94 mph he was throwing between 2009-2010. That has caused his fastball to go from a plus-pitch to a much less effective offering. Sabathia definitely has problems that won’t get better with age.

However, as his peripherals indicate, he still has a high skillset. He’s still maintaining some of the very skills that made him one of the top pitchers in MLB. While we firmly believe he’s in decline, we believe the decline will be slower than what this season suggests

And this was the chart we included to illustrate our points:

Now, if we could only do something about those Sabathia Rules.