CC Sabathia is closing in on the 200-win plateau, and he’s likely to reach that milestone before the All-Star Game (July 16 on FOX, 7:30 p.m. ET).
The New York Yankees ace is just two shy, with 198 career victories through June 19. He has been one of the top left-handers in the game since debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 2001.
Among active pitchers, Sabathia ranks fourth in wins and second in strikeouts with 2,303. He’s also second in complete games (36) and fourth in shutouts (12).
In 2007, the Vallejo, Calif., native won the American League Cy Young Award after posting a 19-7 record with a 3.21 ERA and 209 strikeouts for the Indians.
But a year later, he was facing free agency and Cleveland traded him in the middle of the season to Milwaukee. There, he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, helping the Brewers to a wild-card berth — they lost to the Phillies 3-1 in a best-of-5 National League Divisional Series.
In the following offseason, the Yankees signed Sabathia to a seven-year, $161 million deal. And the big lefty responded by leading the majors in victories in back-to-back seasons.
He won 19 games in ’09, tying with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, Detroit’s Justin Verlander and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright. In 2010, Sabathia won 21, tying with Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, and won a World Series ring as New York beat Philadelphia in six games.
Now in his 13th major league season, Sabathia features a 198-107 record with 3.52 ERA. Plus, he’s a workhorse, pitching at least 200 innings in each of the past six years.
He’s posted three seasons of 200-plus strikeouts, fanning a career-best 251 during his 2008 combined campaign with the Indians and the Brewers. He also has three seasons of fanning an identical 197 batters in 2009, ’10 and ’12.
As for the postseason, he’s pitched in 19 games, going 9-5 with a 4.53 ERA, including a perfect 6-0 in ALDS appearances with a 3.24 ERA.
Sabathia, who turns 33 on July 21, doesn’t seem to be slowing down, so expect his name to start popping up on some career leaderboards — his 2,303 K’s rank 46th.
When he finally hangs it up, will he be voted into the Hall of Fame?