Thursday, January 10, 2013

CC Slimming Down Again

 (Gettin' into fighting shape... )

You know the offseason is getting close to turning from hot stove to looking ahead to Spring Training when CC Sabathia's weight and conditioning starts becoming a talking point.  It's an annual tradition in Yankeeland, like Old Timers' Day.  He dropped 25 pounds a few years back before the season and then ended up putting it all back on by season's end, but it didn't negatively affect his performance or trademark durability, so who cares, right?

Well after last season's injury problems, the first he's experienced since 2006, CC appears to be back on the health kick.  He showed up at ESPN's headquarters yesterday to make his media rounds for his campaign to be on the cover of the new "MLB The Show" video game looking trimmer than he did this past season and confirmed that he had lost weight.

"I've lost 20 pounds.  Coming off the elbow surgery, I just wanted to be healthy and stay healthy all year."

CC's ability to handle the workload he does at his size has always been one of, if not his greatest strengths as an ace starting pitcher.  But after last year's brush with mortality, and his transition from late 20s into early 30s, it might be time for CC to start taking a more proactive approach towards keeping his body in the best physical condition possible.  Cleaning the elbow out was a good start, and dropping some weight should help keep his legs fresh.  Of course there's no way to guarantee anything health-wise in baseball, but if CC is able to better maintain his weight in 2013 it should increase his chances of staying healthy through a full season's worth of starts and possibly lessen the need to limit his innings.

Yankees 11th In Preliminary Baseball America Farm System Rankings

The official Baseball America organizational farm system rankings don't come out until March, but BA writer Jim Callis released his personal top 10 earlier in the week.  The Yankees weren't included in that top 10, but Callis did confirm via Twitter that he and his fellow BA contributors all had the Yankees ranked 11th in their preliminary rankings.

This comes as a bit of a surprise after such a down year for the Yankee MiL organization.  A lot of their top prospects were hindered by injuries or poor performance, many of them at the higher levels of the system, and the trading away of former top prospect Jesus Montero left the upper levels very light on impact talent.  But there is a lot of low-level strength in the organization, both on the mound and on the field, and those players, guys like Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams, all had very good years.  They're starting to rise, and that crew plus the high amount of mid-tier prospect depth in the system probably worked to get the Yankees that 11th-place ranking.

If the new crop of top prospects continues to progress on the pace they're presently on, if Jose Campos stays healthy in 2013, if Rafael DePaula turns out to be the real deal, and if the Yankees make a big splash with their multiple 1st-round picks in this year's draft, we could be looking at a top 5 farm system this time in 2014.

This would probably be a good time to mention that we're just 4 days away from the start of 2013 Prospect Week at AB4AR, highlighted by the unveiling of the 2012-2013 edition of the AB4AR Top 30.  Mark your calendars, set your watches, and double check your alarms, people, because it's going to be a good time.