Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meet A Prospect : CC Sabathia Edition

The Yankees signed free agent starting pitcher CC Sabathia now four seasons ago to a seven year, $161 million dollar deal. This past offseason the Yankees decided to extend CC, before he used an opt out clause that was written into his contract, for one more year at $25 million with a option of another $25 million (vesting option) for the 2017 season. He was not always the big work horse that the Yankees fans have been asking Brian Cashman for though...

CC Sabathia was born in Vallejo California in 1980. CC, as a teen, lettered in baseball, basketball, and football at Vallejo High School. Also CC played summer baseball in the MLB Youth program Rebuilding Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI). As a senior in high school he posted a 6-0 record with a 0.77 ERA with 82 K's in 46 IP to earn the top prospect honors coming out of North Carolina for the upcoming draft for the 1998 Season. 

As a freshman in high school he already started to draw the attention of many scouts and of his peers, mainly because he was 6'3", breaking over 90 mph, and already growing a beard. Even as good and dominant as he was as a pitcher though CC still thought of himself as a hitter. Mainly playing Left Field and First Base when he was not pitching CC batted in the middle of the order for the team and was easily the team's best slugger. 

Sabathia was drafted in the first round 20th overall in that 1998 draft by the Cleveland Indians and ended up signing a $1.3 million bonus. In 2000 he was selected to be on the United States Olympic team but did not make an appearance on the gold medal winning team because he ended up being called up by the Cleveland Indians after winning the 2000 Minor League Player Of The Year award for the Indians. In that 2000 season, with AA Akron, he was part of the futures game down in Atlanta and was named the Indians #1 Prospect. He also was named the #2 prospect in all of the Eastern League, which is quite the accomplishment. 

In the minor leagues CC Sabathia, much like the way he pitches in the majors, was a pretty straight forward kind of pitcher. CC brings the heat with fastball after fastball mixing in an average sweeping curve and a changeup. He has a deceptive, yet easy, motion  that allows him to throw in the 92-95 mph range and allows the ball to explode out of his hand. CC has always been a good athlete, especially at his size, and I am sure him being a tight end in high school has a lot to do with that. CC was never afraid to field his own position and was surprisingly good at it. The biggest concern for CC was his weight and his maturity, which he seems to have mastered. 

 In 2001 CC Sabathia was the majors youngest player and still ended up winning 17 games and finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year award behind Ichiro Suzuki. CC has done okay as a major league player with 5 all star appearances, 1 cy young award, and a world series ring in 2009 with the Yankees. He has also stayed close to his roots in Vallejo California and they have paid him back, honoring him with 1/27 as "CC Sabathia Day" and renaming their baseball field after him. 

Be sure to check in tomorrow when our next, and final,  special edition of Meet A Prospect is featuring Yankees All Star set up man, Houdini, David Robertson. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)