While gearing up for a fantasy baseball draft, it is incredibly important to have evaluated as many players and scenarios as possible. While the best players in MLB can typically be counted on year-in and year-out, there does come a time in every athlete’s career when their abilities begin to decline. They become injury-prone and their production decreases. Sometimes it is purely due to the team they play on, and figuring out when that happens is critical to your draft.
New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia is one of the best pitchers to have surfaced since we entered the new millennium in 2000. He is tied with current San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson for active wins with 205. Sabathia has never failed to register in double-digit wins throughout his career, which is saying a lot considering some of the Cleveland Indians teams he played on were not filled with playoff-caliber talent.
So, is Sabathia in the aforementioned category of players on the decline?
No. Not if you are taking him for what he is worth. Yes, he is no longer the ace-type arm that you can rely on to carry you to the playoffs, but that was already the case last season. In fact, due to last season’s performance when he went 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA, many will pass on the longtime stopper and miss out on some hard-to-find value.
Although his 2013 campaign was poor, his K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) was 7.5, which is considered above average. He could easily return to an 8.9 like he posted in 2012, which is considered excellent. The Yankees have upgraded their rotation, which could take some pressure off of his performances. Upgrades to their lineup will also provide Sabathia the run support he needs to win over 15 games.
It is unreasonable to think he can not return to at least a sub-3.80 ERA, which will not hurt you considering the strikeouts and wins he will accumulate; he will pitch over 200 innings, which is huge in scoring formats where innings pitched count. Do not expect Sabathia to profile as an ace, but he is likely worth a look earlier than his average draft position ranks.