As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.
Question: How many games will CC Sabathia win, and what will his ERA be?
Andrew Marchand: Only six starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball gave up more home runs than Sabathia in 2013. Only five starters had a worse ERA than Sabathia's 4.78. When Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Sabathia wasn't an ace, he probably was being kind.
That is not to say Sabathia can't reinvent himself, which he is trying to do. He is adopting Andy Pettitte's cutter so hitters can't sit on his slowing fastball. But this is all new territory, making his success hard to predict.
Sabathia is a very smart pitcher, so there is a chance he could be pretty good with this new approach. He will be better than last year, but not the ace he once was. I think 14-12 with a 4.15 ERA is realistic.
Wallace Matthews: In his past two starts of the spring, Sabathia has shown what I and a lot of other people expected from a pitcher of his caliber: The ability to adapt to a changing, and less intimidating, repertoire. He has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings with a fastball that rarely tops 91 mph, and is back to using his changeup as an out pitch, something he did effectively in 2009.
I think Sabathia can go 16-10 with an ERA just under 4.00.