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

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

  IP W K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
2010 stats 237.2 21 7.46 2.80 3.18 1.19
3-year average 240.1 19 8.06 2.50 3.07 1.15
2011 FBI Forecast 227 18 7.20 3.00 3.45 1.23

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