Monday, April 27, 2009

What's Wrong With CC Sabathia

Yesterday I argued that there's nothing at all wrong with Jake Peavy, despite his high earned run average. I'll stand by that opinion, even though he was hit hard and his control was off. His strikeout rate remained good, which is the single most important indicator to me.

CC Sabathia, on the other hand, worries me. His 12 strikeouts and 14 walks is an ugly, ugly ratio. That's about the number of walks he should have in mid June. I'm not saying he won't do well this season, but there's a definite warning flag up until he has one or two high strikeout, low walk games. For daily contests today, he's my top rated pitcher, but I'm going to look elsewhere for some value. Particularly given his high price in all formats, he's just not worth the risk right now.


Mike Gianella said...

CC in March/April from 2006-2008: 5.66 ERA.

From May - September during the same time period: 2.74 ERA.

He's a slow starter. Unless there's an injury we don't know about, I wouldn't panic.

Alex said...

Mike - I was all set to explain that ERA is meaningless as a predictor and that you have to look at K/9 and BB/9. Then I check his 2008 stats and discovered he was just as bad in his first four starts last year: 14 Ks, 14 BBs. I'd still be cautious until he shows that he's actually turned it around.

Mike Gianella said...

Yes, that's what I was awkwardly trying and apparently failing to say: that the component stats that lead to the bad ERAs in April and the superlative ERAs from May forward have been similar for CC throughout most of his career. Most of his issues have been with command; he's allowed two HR this year: a ball that Magglio Ordonez barely cleared over the right-field wall and a crazy ball Kurt Suzuki hit that the wind kept carrying.

The problem with CC is that you're probably married to him in most formats. You either paid an arm and a leg for him or drafted him very early. If you try trading him now, you're going to get 75 cents on the dollar, at best. You have to wait for him to turn it around, and history and talent says that it's likely he will. That being said, he's a pitcher, so he is less of a sure thing than a hitter off to a similarly strong start.