Basking in the glow of C.C. Sabathia

Mike Mussina once said that a very good pitcher will win half of his starts. And sure enough, Mussina can count himself among those as he won 270 of his career 536 starts–just a tick above half. Roger Clemens won 354 of his 709 starts. Just a tick over half. Andy Pettitte has won 240 of his 479 starts. Just a tick over half. C.C. Sabathia has made 106 starts for the Yankees and has won 62 of them. So, by the Mussina-scale, Sabathia is doing pretty darned well as a Yankee.

In his Yankee career, C.C. Sabathia has now gone 62 – 23. That is an unbelievable winning percentage of .729. Whitey Ford’s winning percentage with the Yankees was .690. Ron Guidry’s was .651. Andy Pettitte’s is .644. Roger Clemens with the Yankees was .664. Lefty Gomez’s was .652. Mike Mussina’s was .631. Herb Pennock’s was .643. C.C. Sabathia has been as sure of a thing as a pitcher the Yankees have ever seen.

To put this in more sabermetric terms, Sabathia’s performance with the Yankees over the past three full seasons has been worth $81.9 million according to Fangraphs. He has been paid $65 million over that time frame. That is a pretty good value proposition, wouldn’t you say? In other words, Sabathia has been money.

And is it possible that Sabathia is getting even better? Yes, you can look at his 4.58 ERA if you want to. But his xFIP is at 2.82 and his SIERA is at 2.97. His current 4.22 strikeout to walk ratio for 2012 is the best so far of his Yankee years and his best since his 2007 Cy Young Award season. His 9.69 strikeouts per nine innings rate this year is the best of his career. And the weather hasn’t even warmed up yet.

C.C. Sabathia has finished in the top four in Cy Young Award voting every season he has pitched for the Yankees. He has been everything the Yankees could have ever hoped he would be. Along the way, he has also been a great teammate and a great Yankee in the community. It is possible that we take his performance for granted. It is possible that most of us have no idea how extra special he has been to this point in his Yankee uniform. Bask in this, folks. We have never seen anything like the consistency and winning ways of C.C. Sabathia and we may never again.

About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at since 2003.

One thought on “Basking in the glow of C.C. Sabathia

  1. But… how do you expect to sell papers and drive visits without any negativity? And get off ma lawn with your sabermetrics and optimism!

    Seriously though, thanks for this perspective, good stuff.