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Sunday, July 26, 2009

SNY: Boorstein: Sabathia’s dropoff goes unnoticed

Tell that to Goldman.

The Yankees will probably never see Sabathia reprise his 2008 performance. He had career-bests in innings pitched, strikeouts, strikeouts per nine innings and ERA+. He also made 17 starts in the Pacific Coast League National League. Even if the competition there is identical to that in the American League—which it isn’t—Sabathia still got to face the pitcher multiple times a game.

So why is Sabathia performing more like a good No. 2 starter than a man deserving a $161 million contract? Look at his Three True Outcomes: strikeouts, walks and home runs. Sabathia is underperforming in strikeouts and walks, and his home run rate is dead even to last year.

The walks and strikeouts are the most disconcerting. Sabathia is walking 2.6 batters per nine innings (up from 2.1 and his highest since 2005) and only striking out 6.5 (down from 8.9 and his lowest since 2003). His strikeout to walk ratio is 2.51, a steep dropoff from the 4.25 he posted in 2008 and the 5.65 mark that led the league in 2007, his Cy Young season.

Sabathia’s 3.67 ERA isn’t killing the Yankees, but it’s neither unlucky nor in line with how good the lefty has been in the past. Sabathia’s fielding-independent ERA is an almost-identical 3.61. That stat, too, is his highest since 2005.

 

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2009 at 01:05 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. still hunting for a halo-red october (in Delphi) Posted: July 26, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3267319)
The jump in walks isn't too dramatic, but the drop in strikeouts is pretty disconcerting. FWIW, this is the first time since 2005 that CC's strikeout rate has dropped below 7 per 9.

Is this something specific only to CC? A.J. Burnett's strikeout rate is also down, though admittedly it hasn't tumbled as far down as Carsten Charles. Is this yet another unintended consequence of New Yankee Stadium, or merely a coincidental one-year blip for two pitchers?
   2. Raskolnikov Posted: July 26, 2009 at 01:55 PM (#3267328)
Not only CC, Santana's K's have been falling and his BB's have been rising.
   3. Honkie Kong Posted: July 26, 2009 at 01:56 PM (#3267329)
Or maybe the Yankees hired Mel Stottlemyre : The Killer Return as a pitching coach.
   4. still hunting for a halo-red october (in Delphi) Posted: July 26, 2009 at 02:24 PM (#3267338)
#2, I would think Santana's a little different, right? Santana is now Santana: The Decline Years edition.
   5. SG Posted: July 26, 2009 at 02:47 PM (#3267349)
C.C.'s ninth in the league in FIP, and around ninth in terms of value among starting pitchers. He's on pace to be somewhere around 50 runs better than replacement, which is probably worth his contract to the Yankees.

Like hunting for a halo-red october says, the BB rate isn't really that big of a deal. Last year through his first 21 starts he walked 40 of 601 batters faced, this year he's walked 41 of 581.

The drop in K rate is a little more concerning, but we're only about 60% of the way through the season so I don't think we can assume he's suddenly lost his ability to strike people out.
   6. RollingWave Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:06 PM (#3267356)
his walks were up because of some of the early season starts and it's not like it's THAT far from his career norms. the Ks are more concerning. though in one year terms it's not THAT worrisome yet.
   7. HowardMegdal Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:10 PM (#3267357)
FWIW, Santana's K-rate is actually up over 2008.
   8. Curse of the Graffanino (dfan) Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:19 PM (#3267362)
FWIW, Santana's K-rate is actually up over 2008.

How do you define "K-rate"? He had 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 2008, 6.5 so far in 2009.
   9. Jeff K. Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3267364)
K/27?
   10. RollingWave Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3267365)
For CC to be worth his deal. he needs to a little more than 4 WAR on average. he's already at 3.3 this year.

of course. if he's only 4 WAR on average that is of course mildy dissapointing. but it's not like they threw in a bunch of prospect on top of paying him that.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:21 PM (#3267366)
How do you define "K-rate"? He had 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 2008, 6.5 so far in 2009.

How do you define "Santana"? Johan is striking out 8.3 per 9, compared to 7.9 last year.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:22 PM (#3267368)
CC was throwing 95 regularly in September last year. I know many a poster here was discussing Yost's usage and the potential for a hangover.

But there was no physical evidence at the time of an issue.

He did labor in the latter portions of the games started on 3 days.
   13. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:22 PM (#3267369)
I think the park factors of NYS will show it to increase walks and decrease strike outs. It just seems like there are more walks in games at the stadium, probably because the HR threat makes pitchers more tentative. I could be imagining this though.
   14. Curse of the Graffanino (dfan) Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:30 PM (#3267371)
How do you define "Santana"? Johan is striking out 8.3 per 9, compared to 7.9 last year.

Oops!
   15. akrasian Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3267372)
For CC to be worth his deal. he needs to a little more than 4 WAR on average. he's already at 3.3 this year.

I'd think it likely that his performance will not be as good in, say, year five of his contract as it is in year one. If he is barely exceeding what he needs to average right now, that is an object of concern. It shouldn't be an object of panic though - not yet.
   16. RollingWave Posted: July 26, 2009 at 03:38 PM (#3267374)
I'd think it likely that his performance will not be as good in, say, year five of his contract as it is in year one. If he is barely exceeding what he needs to average right now, that is an object of concern. It shouldn't be an object of panic though - not yet.
true, but there is a opt out at year 3. which seems to be right on target with the next economic bull season
   17. Baseball Analyst Posted: July 26, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3267377)
The disconcerting thing to me about Santana is that for the first part third of this season, he was striking out considerably more than 9 per 9, and in the second third he has been striking out considerably less. That 8.3/9 isn't really indicative of his performance at any time this season.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: July 26, 2009 at 04:19 PM (#3267380)
That's quite the sophisticated Mets hijack, guys.
   19. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: July 26, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3267400)
CC was throwing 95 regularly in September last year. I know many a poster here was discussing Yost's usage and the potential for a hangover.

But there was no physical evidence at the time of an issue.


If it's a hangover from being overworked last year, it's not showing up in velocity. He's actually throwing harder than last year. I think the reason he's not getting many K's is because his slider hasn't been that good this year. The changeup has been his much better offspeed pitch so far.
   20. bibigon Posted: July 26, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3267508)
The worry with Santana isn't the K rate, but the decrease in groundball rate really. Couple that with a slight uptick in walks, and he could run into trouble.

I've already given my thoughts on Sabathia elsewhere. Suffice to say, given the degree of his K rate drop, I'm feeling pretty chipper as a Red Sox fan.
   21. Baseball Analyst Posted: July 26, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3267541)

The worry with Santana isn't the K rate, but the decrease in groundball rate really.


Thanks for clearing that up.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3267558)
#2, I would think Santana's a little different, right? Santana is now Santana: The Decline Years edition.

Career IP

Sabathia: 1801
Santana: 1673

(if you added in Santana's age 20 minor-league time, they'd probably be about equal)

It's probably more fruitful to measure pitcher age in IP than years, especially for guys only 16 months apart in age.
   23. 1k5v3L Posted: July 26, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3267595)
And I thought this article was going to be about Sabathia's flirtation with the South Beach diet.
   24. Lassus Posted: July 26, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3267660)
How exactly do you nutjobs define "define"? How many K-rates does Santana have, anyhow?
   25. BFFB Posted: July 26, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3267682)
as many as you can imagine!
   26. a bebop a rebop Posted: July 26, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3267688)
Presumably the confusion was over which Santana was under discussion...
   27. Deacon Blues Posted: July 26, 2009 at 11:38 PM (#3267737)
yeah, sabathia is "comfortably" worse than both beckett and lester now....haha
   28. thetailor Posted: July 27, 2009 at 03:01 AM (#3267914)
How big is Sabathia's K rate this year? I am surprised to learn it's not as big as Santana's.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d0aC6HmxAA

Is Sabathia's K-rate still "pitching in the majors big?"

Perhaps, "pitching in New York big?"

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