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Weight loss to blame for CC Sabathia’s woes?

Aug 4, 2013, 11:10 PM EDT

In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo cites a “talent evaluator”, who thinks CC Sabathia‘s weight loss is to blame for his lack of success in 2013.

Some players just perform better carrying more weight. Sabathia seems to be one of them. Some think such a theory is silly, that Sabathia is merely showing wear and tear after being a workhorse for so many years. But doesn’t it make some sense?

“The weight loss has created a balance problem for him,“ said one talent evaluator. “He’s all over the place. He’s learning how to pitch in that body, a body he’s really never had. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him other than that. Sometimes you pitch at a certain weight all your life and then someone has the brilliant idea that you should lose weight because it’s putting stress on your knees, you do it, and then you’re dealing with something else.”

Sabathia has a 4.78 ERA in 152.2 innings over 23 starts this season, easily the worst season of his career. His average fastball velocity is below 91 MPH for the first time dating back to 2002, when FanGraphs’ pitch speed data begins. The 24 home runs he has allowed thus far is already a career-high, surpassing the 22 surrendered last year. The Yankees are nearly through the second year of Sabathia’s five-year, $122 million contract.

  1. beefytrout - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Remember on “The Sopranos” when the guy playing Vito lost a ton of weight? He had a distinct waddle when he walked afterwards, because the body is accustomed to certain weight shifts.

    • yahmule - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      I remember they focused way too much on him during that final terrible season when David Chase and James Gandolfini were already sick to death of doing the show.

      • beefytrout - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        Too soon.

      • yahmule - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Too soon to say David Chase wanted to do four seasons of that show at the absolute maximum and fan pressure and HBO’s millions caused him to do two more when his heart clearly wasn’t in it?

        I was saying that while it was happening. Go watch all six seasons in a row. The dropoff in quality begins in season four and accelerates rapidly. Season six, devoted so lovingly to Vito and AJ, was an unmistakable message from Chase that he didn’t want to be there anymore.

      • youngyankee - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        too soon on the “…James Gandolfini were already sick to death.. ” , you ass.

  2. thebadguyswon - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Bull

    • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      WEIGHT LOSS the cause of his woes = nah

      AGE GAIN as the cause of his woes = yeah

  3. nyyankeefanforever - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Are you listening Quaker Oats?? Ship that man a truckload of Cap’n Crunch right NOW!!

  4. missthemexpos - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    If you are a fan of Oakland, you do not want to hear about Bartolo Colon loosing weight.

    • einjzmolf - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      Quick! get him a juice box! oh wait~!

  5. hittfamily - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Some people perform better because of extra weight.

    Sweet! Against my wife’s wishes, I’m going to have a second Klondike Bar tonight, and if this theory is true, she will thank me multiple times later.

  6. dickclydesdale - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Babe Ruth was a fat slob during his prime so I agree with this theory. If Babe would have been limited to salad he would not have dominated.

    • largebill - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:01 AM

      Actually, that is a common misconception about Ruth. Film was not common early in his career so majority of the action shots of Ruth are from later in his career. However, still shots from first half of his career are prevalent and show him to be a fit athletic man. After his prime he put more weight on.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:10 AM

        Why you gotta dispel that myth and take away fat people’s athletic role model?

        Fine, I’ll just start a new myth. Willie Mays actually weighed 400 pounds. The Giants uniforms we just very sliming.

      • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:01 AM

        Fat people still have Charles Barkley, and Prince Fielder, and David Wells…all kinds of fat athletes to look up to

      • yahmule - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        Ruth averaged roughly 12 triples and 10 SB’s a season between the ages of 23 and 28.

      • bigharold - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        cohnjusack …

        Can you tell me where I can get one of those Giant uniforms?

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    Cc had some elbow surgery this off season, he will be more then fine. Anyone with any ounce of common sense knows this. Look at he guy’s K numbers? Next year he will be in the top 4 of Cy young voting. Only the fools out there and haters see something else and god knows we got TONS of those people!

    • dan1111 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:02 AM

      I think next year he’ll have only one win.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM

        I think next year you will have 1 brain cell, oh wait….

      • nbjays - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM

        That’ll put him even with you, harry.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        I only have two brain cells. I’m ok as long as I can keep them from fighting.

  8. moogro - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Pitchers are not robots. They make adjustments constantly. This is a dumb concept.

  9. Sports King of this world - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    Lmao!! This is hilarious

  10. alexb64 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Wasn’t he fairly slim when he first came up though?

  11. spacemaker101 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    He’s having a bad year ppl.. Nothing to do with weight loss lmao.. Baseball players go they things called slumps… CC will be fine fat or skinny.

  12. spacemaker101 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    He’s having a bad year ppl.. Nothing to do with weight loss lmao.. Baseball players go they things called slumps… CC will be fine fat or skinny.

  13. sportsfan18 - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    I don’t think weight has to do with.

    He’s thrown a lot innings for many consecutive years now and he is a work horse to be sure, like that about him… but still

    2007 241.0 reg season innings. 15.1 postseason innings. Total 256.1 innings.

    2008 253.0 reg season innings. 3.2 postseason innings. Total 256.2 innings.

    2009 230.0 reg season innings. 36.1 postseason innings. Total 266.1 innings.

    2010 237.2 reg season innings. 16.0 postseason innings. Total 253.2 innings.

    2011 237.1 reg season innings. 8.2 postseason innings. Total 246.0 innings (just missed 5th consecutive season with over 250 innings pitched by a lowly 4 innings)

    2012 200.0 reg season innings. 21.1 postseason innings. Total 221.1 innings. (only made 28 starts in 2012 vs between 33 & 35 starts the previous 5 seasons so he “only” pitched 221 innings).

    And the man has pitched on 3 days rest several times in the seasons above.

    Over the past 6 seasons, CC has thrown the most innings in all of MLB. And if CC remains healthy and makes his scheduled starts from now until the end of this season, he’ll make it the most innings pitched in the big leagues over the past 7 seasons.

    Work horse or not, it will catch up with you eventually.

    Greg Maddux threw over 200 innings in 17 out of 18 seasons during part of his 23 yr career. The one yr in that 18 season stretch, he “only” threw 199.1 reg season innings. He was over with the post season total added to that. But Maddux never threw hard.

    CC has lost speed off his fastball for several yrs in a row and he is learning how to pitch differently due to that more than his weight loss.

    This season, Sabathia has averaged, according to Pitch/FX data from Fangraphs, only 90 m.p.h. on his fastball, a drop of more than 2 m.p.h. from last season, and the slowest average of his career. Only two years ago, Sabathia averaged 94 m.p.h. Furthermore, he has thrown his changeup more this season — almost 25 percent of the time — than he has the past two seasons (13 percent).

    With his fastball the slowest of his career, Sabathia is relying on his changeup more than ever. But the speed difference between the two pitches — only 5 m.p.h., according to Fangraphs — is decreasing in almost every start. Goldschmidt’s home run came on an 82-m.p.h. changeup.

    Sabathia threw just four fastballs in his final three innings. Meanwhile, his first four pitches of the game were fastballs, none harder than 89 m.p.h. Clearly, he no longer trusts his fastball the way he once did. He credited his survival to “smoke and mirrors.”

    “It’s the reality,” Sabathia said. “I’ve never been through anything like this, so I don’t know. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’ve been pitching for a long time. Eventually, this was going to happen.”

    • yahmule - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      This post should be required reading for all baseball writers before they throw in their own two cents. Somehow I find the research that was done by sportsfan18 to be far more compelling then Cafardo’s “Fat CC good, not as fat CC bad” theory.

    • dlhouse18 - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      This was the article I was looking for. I’d rather see the facts before jumping to some superstitious conclusion that weight would make a difference. There are some guys (well, a lot of them) that are smaller than C.C. and can throw much faster. This is more than a problem with his mechanics.

  14. busifriend - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    Weight loss should be a personalized goal. How much one should lose depends on the person’s activity and lifestyle. http://green-coffee-bean-max-review.webs.com/

  15. s2mikey - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Another out of shape, under performing, overpaid baseball player. Aren’t they all? The ones in shape are on steroids. Baseball has become the biggest joke in pro sports. There’s only like five good teams. Even .200 hitters and .500 pitchers with 5.00 era’s make huge money. Each hitter steps out of the box after every pitch to make 27 adjustments to their glove and shirt. How do you people even watch this crap?

    • nbjays - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Begone, troll. Back to PFT with you.

    • yahmule - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      You suck at this. You’re all over the map. Pick one inflammatory issue and hammer it home in some uniquely stupid way. Only then will you realize your potential as a troll and find the true fulfillment that has evaded you in real life.

      You’re welcome.

    • stex52 - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      I am looking forward to the start of the football season when all of these guys migrate back to PFT. I’ll bet the average IQ on HBT will go up 20 points.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        DipweedHarry brings the collective IQ down on these blogs. He’s one of the most ignorant sports fans EVER! Skip his stupid, hateful posts to avoid the dumbing down that goes with reading bullshit.

  16. eshine76 - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    I’m assuming that CC lost his weight the right way, through diet and exercise, rather than starving himself and taking hydroxicut. Therefore, he’d have as much muddle, of not more to throw around less weight. That could lead to some control issues in the spring, I suppose, but I can’t see how that would less to decreased velocity.

  17. xujudadyveg - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

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  18. mrpinkca - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Does this “talent evaluator” also happen to do some lobbying for the fast food industry on the side?

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