2011 Fantasy Projections No. 58: New York Yankees' CC Sabathia Is on the Decline

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees reacts against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIFebruary 28, 2011

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Despite posting a sub-3.40 ERA for the fifth consecutive season in 2010, CC Sabathia’s peripheral stats uncover some alarming trends. Much like fellow southpaw Johan Santana after his age-27 season, Sabathia has regressed in several statistical categories over the last three seasons.

In 2007, Santana’s age-27 season, many of his peripheral stats began to trend in the wrong direction. They were almost unnoticeable, however, because the starting point was so high.

  • 2007 to 2010 strikeout rate: 9.66, 7.91, 7.88, 6.51
  • 2007 to 2010 walk rate: 2.14, 2.42, 2.48, 2.49
  • 2007 to 2010 WHIP: 1.07, 1.15, 1.21, 1.18
  • 2007 to 2010 contact rate: 73.2, 77.0, 78.4, 81.6
  • 2007 to 2010 swinging strike rate: 14.0, 11.4, 11.3, 9.2

Now on to Sabathia. If you’re a Yankees fan or own Sabathia in your fantasy league, I hope you’re sitting down.

  • 2008 to 2010 strikeout rate: 8.93, 7.71, 7.46
  • 2008 to 2010 walk rate: 2.10, 2.62, 2.80
  • 2008 to 2010 home run rate: 0.68, 0.70, 0.76
  • 2008 to 2010 FIP: 2.91, 3.39, 3.54
  • 2008 to 2010 WHIP: 1.11, 1.15, 1.19
  • 2008 to 2010 contact rate: 72.0, 76.3, 79.4
  • 2008 to 2010 first strike rate: 63.9, 58.2, 57.6
  • 2008 to 2010 swinging strike rate: 13.9, 11.2, 9.4

Sabathia is at or around the MLB average in most of these categories, so I’m not necessarily suggesting a full-blown flop in 2011. Rather, Sabathia is slowly trending in the wrong direction in many important statistical categories and fantasy managers need to take notice.

His three-year averages are incredible and he’s never logged less than 180 innings in 10 major league seasons, which includes a current streak of four consecutive 230-inning seasons.

However, his strikeout, walk and contact rates (most notably) have crept into mediocrity. Will he be a bad pitcher to own in 2011? No. But his value will likely never be higher.

2010 stats237.2217.462.803.181.19
3-year average240.1198.062.503.071.15
2011 FBI Forecast227187.203.003.451.23



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