CC Sabathia

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CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia 2018 (cropped).jpg
Sabathia pitching with the Yankees in July 2018
New York Yankees – No. 52
Starting pitcher
Born: (1980-07-21) July 21, 1980 (age 38)
Vallejo, California, U.S.
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
April 8, 2001, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
(through 2018 season)
Win–loss record 246–153
Earned run average 3.70
Strikeouts 2,986
Innings pitched 3,470
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Carsten Charles Sabathia Jr. (born July 21, 1980), known commonly as CC Sabathia is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia bats and throws left-handed.

Sabathia burst onto the scene when he made his major league debut with the Indians in 2001, where he helped anchor the team to its sixth Division title in seven years and placed second in the AL Rookie of the Year behind Japanese phenom and 2001 AL MVP, Ichiro Suzuki. Sabathia played the first seven-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Indians, where he won the 2007 Cy Young Award and led the Indians to the AL Central Division title and their first postseason berth since his rookie year. He played the second half of the 2008 MLB season with the Brewers, leading them to the Wild Card, their first playoff appearance in 26 years and their first as a member of the National League. In the offseason, Sabathia left via free agency and signed a lucrative contract with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million, at the time the largest contract ever given to a pitcher. With the Yankees, he led all of baseball in wins in both 2009 and 2010 and helped lead them to the 2009 World Series title over the Philadelphia Phillies in the franchise's first year at the new Yankee Stadium. He was also voted the 2009 ALCS MVP and is a three-time winner of the Warren Spahn Award (20072009). In addition, Sabathia is a six-time All-Star (three times each with both the Yankees and the Indians), and between 2007 and 2011 earned five consecutive top 5 finishes in the Cy Young vote.

Sabathia is regarded as one of the strongest and most durable pitchers in baseball, having amassed an average of over 30 starts and 200 innings pitched per season during his career, stats that have established Sabathia as one of the strongest aces and workhorses of the game. Known for his competitive nature and tenacity on the mound and his strong leadership in the clubhouse, Sabathia was at his peak between 2005 and 2012; notching four All-Star selections and winning three Warren Spahn Awards while posting the following stat line (a cumulative record of 137–67 (.660) in 257 starts with a 3.24 ERA, ​1,788 13 innings pitched, 1,648 hits allowed, 448 walks, 1,614 strikeouts, 30 complete games (10 shutouts), 173 quality starts, 135 ERA+, 3.26 FIP, 1.172 WHIP, 8.29 H/9, 0.76 HR/9, 2.25 BB/9, 8.12 K/9, 3.60 K/BB, 40.8 bWAR, 45.1 fWAR, and 7,349 batters faced). He is also one of only 13 pitchers in MLB history to have notched more than 100 victories with two different teams (106 with the Indians and 129 with the Yankees; the others being Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Caruthers, John Clarkson, Pud Galvin, Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Dennis Martinez, Bobby Mathews, Mike Mussina, Nolan Ryan, and Cy Young), one of only 11 pitchers in MLB history to have recorded more than 1,000 strikeouts for two different teams (1,265 for the Indians and 1,593 for the Yankees; the others being Jim Bunning, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Mark Langston, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Nolan Ryan, Max Scherzer, Luis Tiant, and Cy Young), and is highly regarded as being one of the most dominant pitchers in the 21st century.

High school career

Sabathia was born in Vallejo, California and attended Vallejo High School, where he excelled in baseball, basketball, and football. As a teenager, Sabathia played summer baseball in the Major League Baseball youth program, Reviving Baseball in Inner cities (RBI).[1] In baseball, he compiled a win–loss record of 6–0 with an 0.77 earned run average (ERA) with 14 hits, and 82 strikeouts in ​45 23 innings pitched during his senior season. Coming out of the draft he was the top high school prospect in Northern California according to Baseball America.

In football, he was an all-conference tight end. He received scholarship offers to play college football, including one from UCLA, and signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Hawaiʻi.[2] Sabathia would have played both football and baseball for the Rainbow Warriors.[3]

Professional career

Draft and minors

Sabathia was drafted in the first round (20th overall) by the Indians in the 1998 MLB draft. He signed for a $1.3 million bonus.

In 2000, he was selected for the 28-man United States Olympic Team roster. He appeared in one pre-Olympic tournament game in Sydney, Australia, but was not on the official 24-man, Gold Medal-winning roster because he was called up by the Cleveland Indians. He was named the Indians' 2000 Minor League Player of the Year (receiving the "Lou Boudreau Award").[4][5]

Cleveland Indians (2001–2008)

In 2001, he was the third-youngest player in the Major Leagues (behind Wilson Betemit and Carlos Zambrano) and the youngest player in the American League. Sabathia led the league in hits per 9 innings pitched (7.44), was third in the league in win–loss percentage (17–5, .773), fourth in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched (8.53), sixth in wins, seventh in strikeouts (171), and pitched more innings than any other AL rookie (​180 13). He finished second in the AL voting for Rookie of the Year, behind future Yankees teammate Ichiro Suzuki.

Sabathia signed a four-year, $9.5 million contract with the Indians, with a club option for 2006, on February 23, 2002.[6] In the 2002 season, he was tenth in the AL in strikeouts, with 149 in 210 innings.[7] In 2003, he had the tenth-best ERA in the AL (3.60). He was also named to the American League All-Star team for the first time. Sabathia made his second All-Star selection in a row as he finished the 2004 season by going 11–10 with a 4.12 ERA and 139 strikeouts.[7]

The Indians picked up their $7 million club option for 2006 on April 27, 2005 and Sabathia signed a two-year, $17.75 million deal.[8] In 2005, he was fourth in the AL in strikeouts/9 IP (7.37), seventh in strikeouts (161) and eighth in wins (15). This marked his fifth straight season of double digit wins to open a career. He threw the fastest fastball in the AL in 2005, averaging 94.7 miles per hour.[9] He also hit his first career home run as a batter in interleague play off of Ryan Dempster in May. The Indians went 20–11 in his starts.

In 2006, he led the major leagues with 6 complete games. He also led the AL in shutouts (2), was third in ERA (3.22), sixth in strikeouts per 9 IP (8.03) and eighth in strikeouts (172). He became the first left-handed pitcher to start his career with six consecutive seasons of double digit wins.[10]

Sabathia pitching for the Indians on May 6, 2007

Sabathia collected his 1,000th career strikeout on May 21, fanning the player who beat him out for Rookie of the Year honors: Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners. He was also named to the American League All-Star team for the third time. On September 28, he became the youngest pitcher (27 years, 69 days) to record 100 career wins since Greg Maddux in 1993. On October 23, Sabathia won the Players Choice Award for Outstanding AL Pitcher.[11] His pitching performance led the Cleveland Indians to their first American League Central Division Championship since 2001, his rookie season. For his performance, he was awarded the 2007 American League Cy Young Award joining Gaylord Perry as the only two Cleveland Indians pitchers to ever win the award. (Cliff Lee and Corey Kluber have since also won, with Kluber winning the award twice) [12] Sabathia also won the Warren Spahn Award given to the best left-handed pitcher in the Majors.[13] Despite his strong regular season, Sabathia did not perform well against the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. In two starts, he went 0–2 with a 10.45 ERA.

Sabathia began the 2008 season 6–8 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts. He was leading the American League in strikeouts (123) and strikeouts per 9.0 innings (9.05) while ranking second in innings pitched (122.1) and tied for second in complete games (3). However, with the Indians out of playoff contention, and with Sabathia an impending free agent, the Indians sought to trade Sabathia.

At the time Sabathia departed Cleveland, he was fifth in club history in strikeouts (1,265) and sixth in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (7.448), and his 2007 strikeouts-to-walks ratio was at the time a single-season best 5.649.[14]

Milwaukee Brewers (2008)

On July 7, 2008, Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson.[15][16] During his press conference, Sabathia made it known to the assembled members of the media that he would prefer his name to be spelled "CC" rather than "C.C."[17] He recorded his first win with the Brewers on July 8, 2008 against the Colorado Rockies. Sabathia was 17–10 overall (11–2 with Milwaukee) with a 2.70 ERA and was second in the majors (behind Tim Lincecum) with 251 strikeouts. Sabathia pitched three complete games in his first four starts with the Brewers, winning all four.

On July 30, 2008, Sabathia took out a large $12,870 ad in the sports section of Cleveland's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer. The ad, signed by Sabathia, his wife Amber, and his family read:

Thank you for 10 great years ... You've touched our lives with your kindness, love and generosity. We are forever grateful! It's been a privilege and an honor![18]

On August 31, 2008, Sabathia threw what was ruled as a one-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. The one hit for the Pirates came off of a check swing by Andy LaRoche in the fifth inning that rolled fair and was bobbled by Sabathia on an attempted bare-handed pickup. The team sent in an appeal to Major League Baseball to try to get the hit ruled as an error, but were unsuccessful.[19] Sabathia struck out eleven in the Brewers' 7–0 win over the Pirates, making Sabathia's ninth complete game in the 2008 season. On September 28, 2008, Sabathia pitched a 4-hitter against the Cubs to win 3–1 in the final game of the season, clinching the wild card for the Brewers—their first-ever postseason berth as a National League club and their first since losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 World Series. It was Sabathia's 10th complete game of the year, the most complete games by any pitcher in a single season since Randy Johnson threw 12 in 1999. In 2008 Sabathia had the most effective slider among major league starting pitchers.[20] When batters swung at his pitches, they failed to make any contact 28% of the time, the highest percentage among major league starting pitchers.[21]

Sabathia started game 2 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Brewers were heavily favored to win behind Sabathia, but Sabathia faltered, surrendering 5 runs in 3​23 innings, including a walk to the pitcher Brett Myers and a grand slam to Shane Victorino. The Phillies would go on to win the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sabathia was sixth in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, behind Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, Ryan Howard of the Phillies, Ryan Braun also of the Brewers, Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers, and Lance Berkman of the Astros.[22] He was also awarded the Warren Spahn Award for the second year in a row and became the first pitcher in history to win the award after being traded to another team during the season.

New York Yankees (2009–present)

2009

CC Sabathia in 2009

On December 18, 2008, Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees. It was the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history until 2013 when Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners signed a seven-year $175 million contract.[23][24] On March 26, 2009, manager Joe Girardi announced that Sabathia would be the Opening Day starter and the starter for the home opener at the new Yankee Stadium.[25] Sabathia won his first championship ring with the Yankees, finishing 19–8 with a 3.37 ERA, 197 strikeouts in 230 innings, a 1.15 WHIP and a .232 opponent batting average in 34 starts (21 quality starts). His 19 wins were tied for the most in the major leagues that year, along with Félix Hernández, Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright, and his 6.2 bWAR was the third highest in the American League amongst pitchers. Sabathia was well noted for his dominant performance after the All-Star break; in 15 starts he went 11–2 with a 2.74 ERA in ​101 23 innings, striking out 102 and giving up only 7 home runs. He was also awarded the August 2009 AL Pitcher of the Month Award, posting a 5–0 record in 6 starts with a 2.64 ERA and 49 strikeouts in ​44 13 innings. The Yankees finished the regular season with a 103–59 record, the best in the Major Leagues, including an MLB best 52–22 record after the All-Star break.

Sabathia got his first career postseason victory with the Yankees in the first game of the 2009 ALDS; against the Minnesota Twins Sabathia gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in ​6 23 innings with 8 strikeouts as the Yankees swept the series in three games. Sabathia also won the American League Championship Series (ALCS) Most Valuable Player Award for his performance in the 2009 ALCS; in two starts against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he went 2–0 with a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings, striking out 12 and walking three. In both of those starts, Sabathia pitched eight innings of one-run ball as the Yankees beat the Angels in six games to advance to their first World Series since 2003. Despite failing to pick up a win in either of his World Series starts, Sabathia was effective, posting a 3.29 ERA in ​13 23 innings to help lead the Yankees to a series win over the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, in six games, the Yankees' 27th World Series title, their first since 2000 and the first of Sabathia's career. In five postseason starts, Sabathia went 3–1 with a 1.98 ERA in ​36 13 innings with 32 strikeouts and limiting hitters to a .209 batting average. Sabathia finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Zack Greinke, Félix Hernández, and Justin Verlander, and 21st in the AL MVP voting. He also received the Warren Spahn Award for the third year in a row, becoming only the second pitcher in history to achieve this distinction after Randy Johnson, who won the award the first four years it was presented (1999-2002), as well as the second Yankee to win the award after Andy Pettitte, who won the award in 2003.

2010

On April 10, 2010, Sabathia took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. With two outs in the inning, former teammate Kelly Shoppach ripped a single to left field, ending the no-hit bid.[26] On July 4, he earned his fourth All-Star selection, and his first as a Yankee. At the time of the All-Star break, Sabathia was 12–3 with a 3.09 ERA in 131 innings (19 starts). On August 22, Sabathia recorded his 16th consecutive start of at least six innings allowing three earned runs or less, breaking a tie with Ron Guidry (from his Cy Young Award-winning 1978 season) for the longest streak in franchise history.[27] His streak was snapped in his next start on August 28, where he allowed five earned runs in seven innings to the Chicago White Sox. On September 18, he defeated the Baltimore Orioles to become baseball's first 20-game winner in 2010. The win also marks the first time he had ever won 20 games in a single season in his career.[28] Sabathia had won 19 games in a season twice previously: in 2007 with the Indians and 2009 in his first season with the Yankees. In 2010, Sabathia had a 21–7 record in 34 starts, recording a 3.18 ERA, .239 opponent batting average, a 1.19 WHIP, 197 strikeouts in ​237 23 innings and a career-high 26 quality starts, as the Yankees won the AL Wild Card after finishing second in the AL East to the Tampa Bay Rays with a 95–67 record. Despite posting a 2–0 record in three playoff starts that year, Sabathia posted a 5.63 ERA across 16 innings as the Yankees were defeated in the ALCS by the Texas Rangers in six games. He finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Félix Hernández and David Price and 13th in the AL MVP voting.

During the offseason, Sabathia was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee, requiring arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. Christopher Ahmad to repair. Sabathia began therapy immediately after the surgery and began his regular routine in preparation for spring training after three to six weeks.[29][30] He lost from 25 to 30 pounds to prevent future problems with his knee.[31]

2011

Sabathia was the opening day starter for the Yankees for the third year in a row, and the sixth consecutive year overall. On May 24 he pitched a complete game in a 5–4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays; it was his first nine-inning complete game victory at Yankee Stadium. On June 25 against the Colorado Rockies at Yankee Stadium, Sabathia twirled eight innings of one-run ball with nine punchouts to record his 10th win of the season, making him one of only a few pitchers in history to record at least eleven seasons of double-digit wins. In addition, it was Sabathia's 50th victory as a Yankee in 85 starts, becoming the fastest pitcher to reach that mark since Chien-Ming Wang recorded his 50th win for the Yankees on April 22, 2008, also in his 85th start. In his next start on June 30 against the Milwaukee Brewers, Sabathia tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts in ​7 23 scoreless innings as the Yankees won 5–0; his 13th strikeout of that game also marked Sabathia's 500th strikeout as a Yankee. Sabathia was named to his fifth career All-Star game, replacing James Shields on the roster, however he elected to pitch the Sunday before the All-Star game and thus his spot on the active roster was given to Alexi Ogando. In his final start before the All-Star break on July 10, 2011, Sabathia pitched a complete game shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium, striking out nine while issuing only four hits and one walk. It was Sabathia's 32nd career complete game and 12th career shutout. Sabathia entered the All-Star break leading the Major Leagues with 13 wins against just 4 losses, posting a 2.72 ERA in 20 starts, with 126 strikeouts against just 35 walks in ​145 23 innings. He became the first Yankee pitcher to have 13 wins by the All-Star break since Andy Pettitte in 1996. On July 26, 2011, Sabathia took a perfect game through ​6 13 innings against the Seattle Mariners, retiring the first 19 batters he faced in a game interrupted twice due to rain. He ended up striking out 14 batters through 7 innings (setting a career high), and pitching another one-hitter, this one, a combined one-hitter. Sabathia was pulled before recording an out in the 8th after walking three batters to load the bases; relief pitchers David Robertson and Mariano Rivera finished the game, with Robertson allowing only one run (charged to Sabathia) on a double-play ground ball that would have ended the inning, but was bobbled by third baseman Eric Chavez.[32] For his performance in July 2011, Sabathia was named the AL Pitcher of the Month. He posted a 4–1 record with a 0.92 ERA in 5 starts, striking out 50 batters and walking 13 while allowing just four earned runs 39 innings. He also pitched two complete games and one shutout.[33] Sabathia recorded his 2,000th career strikeout on September 10, 2011 against Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[34] In 2011 across 33 starts, Sabathia had a 19–8 record, a 3.00 ERA, 230 strikeouts, ​237 13 innings pitched, a 1.21 WHIP, and 22 quality starts. His 230 strikeouts marked the third-highest number of strikeouts in a single season in franchise history, the most since Ron Guidry's franchise record 248 strikeouts in 1978, and the second-most in the American League behind Justin Verlander's 250 strikeouts. Sabathia also became the first Yankee pitcher to strike out more than 200 batters in a single season since Randy Johnson in 2005, as well as the first Yankee pitcher to finish in the top two in the American League in strikeouts since Johnson did so that same year. The Yankees won the AL East once again with a 97–65 record, however, Sabathia struggled in the ALDS, posting a 6.23 ERA in ​8 23} innings in 3 appearances (2 starts) as the Yankees were defeated by the Detroit Tigers in five games. Sabathia once again finished fourth in the AL Cy Young voting behind Verlander, Jered Weaver and James Shields, and 14th in the AL MVP voting.

Though his contract contained an opt-out clause that allowed him to become a free agent after the 2011 season, Sabathia said he had no intention of exercising it as he loves playing for the New York Yankees and his family loves life in New York.[35][36] On October 31, 2011, Sabathia announced via his Twitter account that he would not be exercising his opt-out clause and had signed an extension with the Yankees. The extension was for an additional year on his original seven-year contract, worth $25 million, along with a $25 million vesting option with a $5 million buyout for the following year.[37][38] He finished fourth in Cy Young voting after the season.[39]

2012

CC Sabathia pitching

Sabathia began the 2012 season with bad footing as he allowed a grand slam by Carlos Peña in his first inning of work on opening day against the Tampa Bay Rays.[40] He recovered, however, going 9–3 with a 3.55 ERA in his first 16 starts. He won five straight starts from April 17 to May 10, posting a 2.52 ERA in ​39 13 innings with 38 strikeouts and just five walks allowed. He threw a complete game against the Atlanta Braves on June 18, allowing two runs and one walk while striking out ten. It was Sabathia's 34th career complete game and eighth as a Yankee.[41] Sabathia was named an All-Star for the third season in a row and sixth time in his career, however he was unable to participate as he was placed on the DL on June 27 with a strained abductor muscle. Sabathia returned from the DL on July 17, pitching six scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays to pick up his 10th victory of the season. Sabathia pitched another complete game on August 3 against the Seattle Mariners, striking out ten and allowing three earned runs to improve his record on the season to 11–3. Sabathia was placed on the DL again on August 11 with soreness in his left elbow, but returned on August 24 against the Cleveland Indians pitching ​7 13 innings of one-run, four-hit ball with nine strikeouts. In his final eight starts of the season, Sabathia posted a 2.93 ERA and 57 strikeouts in ​58 23 innings. Despite only making 28 starts due to his time spent on the disabled list, Sabathia finished the 2012 season with a 15–6 record, a 3.38 ERA, 200 innings pitched (his sixth straight season of pitching at least 200 innings), 197 strikeouts, 184 hits allowed, and 19 quality starts. Sabathia led the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.48 K/BB), pitched six or more innings in all but one of his starts and recorded six games with 10 or more strikeouts. Through his first four years with the Yankees, in 129 starts Sabathia had delivered a 74–29 record, a 3.22 ERA, 905 innings pitched, 821 strikeouts, a 3.34 K/BB ratio, a 1.18 WHIP and 88 quality starts. The Yankees won the AL East for the third time in four years with a 95-67 record, the best in the American League.

In the 2012 American League Division Series, Sabathia dominated, winning both the first and fifth (deciding) games against the Baltimore Orioles. After throwing ​8 23 innings and giving up just two earned runs in a win at Camden Yards in Game 1, Sabathia threw his first career postseason complete game in Game 5, allowing one run, four hits, two walks and striking out nine as the Yankees defeated the Orioles in five games. However, Sabathia lost Game Four of the 2012 ALCS, allowing six runs (five earned) in ​3 23 innings to the Detroit Tigers, as the Yankees, who had already lost Derek Jeter for the rest of the postseason in Game 1 due to a fractured ankle, were swept in four games, ending their season. On October 25, 2012, Sabathia underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left elbow to remove a bone spur.[42]

2013

In 2013, Sabathia's velocity decrease caused him to transition into becoming a pitcher that had to rely more on location rather than velocity.[citation needed] He made his eighth consecutive Opening Day start, and fifth for the Yankees, on April 1 in a 8–2 loss against the Boston Red Sox. Sabathia pitched two complete games that season: the first came on June 5 where Sabathia beat the Cleveland Indians, allowing four earned runs with nine strikeouts in a 6–4 win at Yankee Stadium, the other came on July 9 against the Kansas City Royals also at Yankee Stadium, where he allowed just three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in nine innings, but lost the game as the Yankees were beaten 3–1 due to a strong performance by a resurgent James Shields. On July 3, Sabathia collected his 200th career win against the Minnesota Twins.[43] His season ended early due to a strained hamstring, finishing with a 14–13 record and a then career-worst 4.78 ERA in 32 starts; in 211 innings he struck out 175 batters, but also gave up 112 earned runs (the most in the American League), 224 hits, 28 home runs and 65 walks.[44] Most alarming about Sabathia's 2013 season were his home-road and first half-second half splits. In 16 starts at Yankee Stadium he went 10–5 with a 4.06 ERA in ​108 23} innings and striking out 97, but struggled mightily on the road, posting a 4–8 record with a 5.54 ERA in ​102 13 innings and just 78 strikeouts. Similarly, Sabathia went 9–8 with a 4.07 ERA in 137 innings (20 starts) with 117 strikeouts prior to the All-Star Break, but struggled afterwards, going 5–5 with a 6.08 ERA in 74 innings (12 starts) and striking out just 58. Despite his subpar season, it marked Sabathia's thirteenth straight season with at least 11 wins and his seventh straight season (and eighth overall) with at least 200 innings pitched, impressive numbers nonetheless.

Sabathia lost 40 pounds in 2013 and showed up to spring training in 2014 weighing 275 pounds. He admitted to crash dieting after a cousin of his died of heart disease in December 2012.[45][46]

2014

On May 12, 2014, Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to right knee inflammation. Fluid buildup was detected in the knee and the buildup was drained by a shot with no surgery required. Seeking a second opinion with Dr. James Andrews, he received a stem-cell shot in the knee. Sabathia was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on July 1 (retroactive to May 11) being sidelined until early to mid-July or later. After making a rehab appearance with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, Sabathia began to experience swelling in his right knee, putting his season in jeopardy. The Yankees projected that Sabathia might need microfracture surgery, which could potentially end his career. On July 16, it was announced that Sabathia's 2014 season had ended. In only 8 starts in 2014, Sabathia went 3–4 with a 5.28 ERA. He underwent surgery on July 23 to repair his degenerated knee.[47] Luckily, the Yankees announced that although Sabathia would need a total knee replacement when his career was finished, microfracture surgery was not necessary to repair the damage, thus leaving the door open for him to return for the 2015 season.

2015

Sabathia reported to spring training weighing 305 pounds (138 kg), as he believed his decreased weight contributed to his poor and injury-shortened 2014 season.[48] Sabathia pitched a complete game on April 20, his 36th career complete game, giving up two earned runs in eight innings in a 2–1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. During a game against the Angels on June 7, 2015, Sabathia recorded his 2,500th career strikeout, becoming the 31st pitcher in MLB history to reach that milestone, but was later ejected along with Joe Girardi for getting into a confrontation with MLB umpire Dan Bellino following a double play.[49]

Sabathia went on the disabled list after leaving the game of August 23 with right knee soreness. He had a 4–9 record with a 5.27 ERA in 24 games started to that point.[50] He returned to the Yankees on September 9 wearing a knee brace.[51] He pitched to a 2.17 ERA in five starts after returning, including winning the game that clinched the Yankees a playoff berth in the 2015 American League Wild Card Game.[52] Sabathia finished the season with a 6–10 record in 29 starts with a 4.73 ERA in ​167 13 innings, including a 2.86 ERA in his final 9 starts. However, Sabathia missed the playoffs as he checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility; the Yankees would go on to lose the 2015 American League Wild Card Game to the Houston Astros, eliminating them from their first postseason appearance since 2012.

2016

On April 9, Sabathia picked up the win in his season debut after limiting the Detroit Tigers to three earned runs in six innings; this was the first time in eight seasons with the Yankees that Sabathia earned the win in his first start of the regular season, and only the second time in his career (the first being in 2007 where he went on to win the Cy Young Award). On May 6, Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a left groin strain. On May 20, Sabathia recorded his 100th win as a New York Yankee in a 8–3 victory over the Oakland Athletics, going six innings, allowing one run and striking out eight.[53] He became the eighth pitcher in baseball history to win 100 or more games with two different teams, and the first to reach said milestone since Mike Mussina in 2007. Making 30 starts in 2016, Sabathia finished 9–12 with a 3.91 ERA in ​179 23 innings (16 quality starts) with 152 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP. His strongest stretch of the season came in his last eight starts, from August 23 to September 29 Sabathia posted a 2.37 ERA in ​49 13 innings with 42 strikeouts and limiting opponents to a .227 batting average. On October 11, Sabathia underwent surgery on his right knee, described as a routine cleanup.[54]

2017

Sabathia experienced a career renaissance in 2017, finally having transitioned successfully from a pitcher who relied on power and velocity to one with impeccable command and pinpoint control, as he managed to post his best numbers since 2012. From May 16 to June 7, Sabathia won five straight starts for the first time since 2012; during this span he posted a 1.11 ERA in ​32 13 innings. Sabathia's best start of the season came on June 7 against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Facing off against reigining AL Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello, Sabathia pitched eight scoreless innings, scattering five hits, striking out five and walking none as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8–0. This marked Sabathia's first start where he completed eight innings since April 20, 2015, a span of 67 starts, and his first start with eight or more scoreless innings since September 21, 2012, a span of 112 starts. On June 13, Sabathia left the game after an apparent left hamstring injury. It was eventually revealed that his left hamstring was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain, landing him on the disabled list.[55] He returned on July 4, starting against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.[56] On July 21, Sabathia earned a win on his 37th birthday, throwing five innings of one-run ball against the Seattle Mariners in a 5-1 Yankee win.[57] On August 1, Sabathia made his 500th career start in a losing effort, against the Detroit Tigers.[58] He was the second player in Major League history to make 500 starting pitching appearances in the regular season without ever appearing as a reliever; the feat was previously achieved by Tom Glavine.[59] On August 8, he was taken out of a game after the third inning after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right knee.[60][61] On August 11, Sabathia landed on the 10-day disabled list again due to the lingering knee problem. After returning from the DL on August 19, he went 5–0 over his last eight starts with a 2.91 ERA in ​46 13 innings, allowing three earned runs or less in all but one of those starts as he helped the Yankees clinch the top Wild Card spot. Sabathia finished the season 14–5 with a 3.69 ERA, 120 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP in ​148 23 innings (27 starts), his best numbers in five years. Sabathia was especially dominant in the role of the Yankee's stopper. In games following a Yankee's loss, Sabathia went 9–0 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts, by far the best stats in both categories among pitchers who made at least seven starts following a team loss.[62] In addition, Sabathia was the best pitcher against the best offensive team of 2017, the Boston Red Sox. In four starts against the Yankee archrivals, Sabathia went 4–0 with a 1.01 ERA in 26 innings, giving up 15 hits, striking out 18 and not allowing a single home run. Perhaps more impressively, in three of his four starts against the Red Sox, Sabathia faced either Rick Porcello or two-time All-Star game starting pitcher Chris Sale, posting a microscopic 0.90 ERA in 20 innings in games where he was opposed by either Porcello or Sale.

In the playoffs, Sabathia started Game 2 and Game 5 of the ALDS, first giving up two earned runs in ​5 13 innings and then striking out nine in ​4 13 innings as the Yankees advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 2012.[63][64] Sabathia started Game 3 of the ALCS, earning the win after throwing six shutout innings and allowing only three hits.[65]

On December 16, Sabathia re-signed with the Yankees on a one-year contract for $10 million. The deal became official on December 26.[66]

2018

On April 6, 2018, Sabathia surrendered 3 solo home runs, and ended up leaving the game due to hip tightness. The next day, on April 7, he was put on the 10-day disabled list due to a right hip strain.[67] From June 5 to July 9, Sabathia was especially dominant, posting a 4–3 record with a 2.89 ERA in ​43 23 innings, striking out 37 batters and allowing three earned runs or less in six out of seven starts. On June 12, Sabathia recorded his 1,500th strikeout as a Yankee in a 3–0 win over the Washington Nationals, joining Andy Pettitte, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry and Red Ruffing as the only pitchers in Yankee history to do so. On June 29, Sabathia earned his 125th victory with the New York Yankees, defeating the Boston Red Sox with seven innings of one-run, six hit ball with five strikeouts. He became the 12th pitcher in Yankee history to achieve this milestone. Entering the All-Star break, Sabathia was 6–4 with a 3.51 ERA in 18 starts with 100 innings pitched. On August 7, Sabathia struck out a season-high 12 batters in ​5 23 innings as the Yankees beat the White Sox 4–3 in 13 innings. This marked Sabathia's 39th career game with double-digit strikeouts and his 20th with the Yankees. On August 13, Sabathia went back on the disabled list due to right knee inflammation.[68] After missing just one start and having his knee drained again, Sabathia returned to the Yankees on August 24: scattering five hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight batters and giving up just two earned runs in six innings, Sabathia received a no-decision (his 12th of the season) as the Yankees went on to beat the Orioles 7–5 in 10 innings.

On September 27, Sabathia was ejected for intentionally hitting Rays catcher Jesús Sucre with a pitch, after Andrew Kittredge threw at Austin Romine's head in retaliation for Sabathia hitting Jake Bauers on the arm earlier in the game. He was only two innings shy of reaching a $500,000 bonus if he reached 155 innings pitched for the year.[69] Sabathia received a 5-game suspension for throwing at Sucre, to be served in 2019; he announced his intention to appeal.[70]

Awards and Highlights

Player profile

CC Sabathia (left) and Mark Teixeira during the 2009 World Series parade.

Despite throwing with his left hand as well as batting from the left, Sabathia is right-handed.[71] Sabathia has six pitches: a cutter (89–92 MPH), a more used two-seam/sinker fastball (88–93 MPH), a four seam fastball (89–94 mph), a curve ball (74–76 MPH), a slider (78–82 MPH),[72] and changeup (82–84 MPH).[73] Once ahead in the count, he primarily uses his changeup to strike out right-handed batters, and his slider to strike out left-handers.[74] He also exhibits good command of his pitches, posting a 5.65 K/BB ratio in 2007 and a 4.48 K/BB ratio in 2012.[75] Throughout most of his career, Sabathia's four-seam fastball sat in the 93–96 mph range (touching 100 mph) and his sinking fastball averaged 91–94 mph (topping out at 98 mph), thus making him a power pitcher. Notably, in Sabathia's first four years with the Yankees (2009 to 2012), his four-seamer averaged 94.4 miles per hour, one of the fastest in baseball. Since 2013, however, Sabathia has become accustomed to being a control pitcher, in 2017 he cut down his usage of the four-seamer (88–92 mph topping out at 96 mph) and favored the sinker and cutter. Commentators and stat analyists have marveled at the transformation, as Sabathia has managed to find success since 2016 albeit with significantly less velocity than in his 20s and early 30s (since he started wearing his protective right knee brace, Sabathia's four-seamer averages just over 90 mph). Coaches all over the major leagues have cited Sabathia as one of the most adaptable and hardworking pitchers the game has ever seen.

Sabathia holds a lifetime postseason record of 10 wins and 6 losses in 23 games (22 starts). He has pitched a total of ​126 13 postseason innings, giving up 132 hits, 61 walks and 59 earned runs resulting in a 4.20 ERA. He has also struck out 120 batters.[76]

As of the end of the 2018 season, Sabathia has acquired 25 hits in 118 at-bats (124 plate appearances),[77] making him one of the more successful pitchers from a hitting standpoint. On one occasion, Sabathia hit a 440-foot home run on June 21, 2008, off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park.[78] He commented later, saying "I told everybody I was trying to hit homers today because I had two singles last year and everybody was all over me, saying I was a singles hitter. It was awesome."[79] On July 13, 2008, in his second game with the Brewers, Sabathia hit his second home run of the season off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, becoming the third pitcher in history to homer in both leagues in the same season and the first since Earl Wilson did it in 1970 with Detroit and San Diego.[80]

Sabathia's reputation of pitching a high number of effective innings each season has led to sports broadcasters often referring to him as a workhorse; discounting his injury-shortened 2014 campaign Sabathia has averaged over 200 innings a season in his career (he has reached the benchmark eight times, including seven consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings pitched from 2007 to 2013).[81] Sabathia has the most lifetime complete games (38 including 12 shutouts), innings pitched (3,470) and strikeouts (2,986) of any active pitcher as of September 27, 2018.

Personal life

Sabathia and his wife, Amber, have four children: a son Carsten Charles III (born 2003), a daughter Jaeden Arie (born 2005), a daughter, Cyia (born 2008), and a son Carter (born 2010). The family lived in Fairfield, California outside his hometown of Vallejo, California near San Francisco until he signed with the Yankees. Then the family moved to Alpine, New Jersey. The family loves life in New Jersey and being so close to New York City.[82] Nevertheless, Sabathia remains connected to his hometown. On January 27, 2012, Vallejo High School honored Sabathia by declaring it "CC Sabathia Day" and renaming the school's baseball field in his honor.

Sabathia also appeared on a promotional video for Battlefield Bad Company 2 against "Random Grenade Throws" which showed him doing a public service announcement about random grenade throws. It spoofs the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 public service announcement with Cole Hamels. Sabathia remains very close friends with former teammates Cliff Lee and Prince Fielder.[83] Sabathia is a supporter of Crutches4Kids. He is an Oakland Raiders fan.

Sabathia operates a charity, the PitCChIn Foundation, which supports inner city children. In 2014, the foundation supported a team of runners in the 2014 New York City Marathon, consisting of Amber, the wife of Amar'e Stoudemire, Tiki Barber and Angie Martinez.[84]

On October 5, 2015, Sabathia announced that he was checking himself into an alcohol treatment center.[85] During the previous weekend, Sabathia had been binge drinking in the hotel while the Yankees were on the road in Baltimore, including drinking in the clubhouse after a game that had been cancelled due to rain.[86][87]

See also

References

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External links

  • Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
  • CC Sabathia's official website
  • The PitCCh In Foundation
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
José Contreras
American League Pitcher of the Month
May 2006
Succeeded by
Johan Santana
Preceded by
Johan Santana
Players Choice AL Outstanding Pitcher
2007
Succeeded by
Cliff Lee
Preceded by
Dan Haren
National League Pitcher of the Month
July 2008, August 2008
Succeeded by
Johan Santana
Preceded by
Alex Rodriguez
Pepsi MLB Clutch Performer of the Year
2008
Succeeded by
Andre Ethier
Preceded by
Pedro Martínez
AL hits per nine innings
2001
Succeeded by
Pedro Martínez
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