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August 2, 2013

Raising Aces

What Happened to CC and JJ?

by Doug Thorburn


Last night we recorded episode 10 of TINSTAAPP, and perhaps my favorite segment of the podcast is the “homework” section, in which Paul Sporer and I assign take-home projects to one another that we discuss on the following episode. Typically, my assignments involve a deep-dive into the cases of pitchers who are performing outside of expectations, for better or for worse. To diagnose the symptoms of a struggling pitcher, I plunge into the stats, the PITCHf/x data, and the mechanical trends of the hurler in question. I believe that such an integrated approach is necessary to crawl through the biases that are inherent in each of these three tools, and a clearer picture emerges once we combine the objective data with the subjective experience of watching how those numbers were generated.

I enjoy these assignments so much that I decided to kick off a new series that is inspired by the ]TINSTAAPP homework, and the first two of pitchers under the microscope are both large humans with proven track records of success. CC Sabathia and Josh Johnson are both listed at 6-foot-7 and at least 250 pounds, with CC tipping the scales near three bills, giving them a biological advantage on the mound. However, the 2013 season has been the worst of each pitcher's career to date, and with more than half the season in the books, we have gone past the point where their struggles can be cast aside with excuses of small sample size.

CC Sabathia

Sabathia has been Mr. Consistency throughout his career. He has pitched at least 180 innings in each of the 12 seasons since his rookie campaign, and is on pace to crack that number before rosters expand in September. He threw 230 or more innings every year from 2007-11, and his two DL stints in 2012 effectively doubled his career total. Last season's elbow issues marked the first time in eight years that his left arm required medical attention, and though he has avoided any follow-up trips to the infirmary this season, his 2013 performance leaves one wondering if all is well on CC's port side.

IP

ERA

WHIP

K%

BB%

HR%

2001 - 2012

2564.3

3.50

1.22

20.8%

7.2%

2.1%

2013

147.0

4.65

1.31

20.5%

5.6%

3.7%

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Chad Bett... (08/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: There an... (07/26)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: What Hap... (08/09)
Next Article >>
Manufactured Runs: SAB... (08/02)

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