Previously the ace of the New York Yankees, CC Sabathia is pitching like an ace while leaving many fans astonished.
However, not enough emphasis has been placed on the hardcore results the left-hander is producing which put him in AL Comeback Player Of The Year candidacy.
Yankee fans and the organization in general would have jumped at an opportunity to peer at a 4.00 ERA from Sabathia this year. With his latest masterpiece, they are peering at a 2.28 ERA, or his lowest through 10-plus starts of his big league career.
In addition, his 0.71 ERA over his last six starts has led to a jaw drop with regards to the common fan.
A man who struggled with a severe case of alcoholism, had to opt himself out of the AL Wild Card Game, and saw the majority of his 2015 season go down the drain is now resolidified as one of the most finessed pitchers in baseball.
That purely sounds like an exceptional comeback story for a guy who has had his on the field and off the field life out of whack since the end of 2012.
Major league baseball has witnessed some great cases take home this award, but it is all based on subjectivity. Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey, the AL and NL winners a year ago, had stories of perseverance following injuries that decimated their seasons the year prior.
From Buster Posey to Jacoby Ellsbury to Mariano Rivera, the comeback award has truly been injury-based. It makes sense given that injuries can wipe out a season full of production and true star power.
With that said, the MLB should seize an opportunity to bring a unique twist to this award.
CC Sabathia certainly did pitch a full season for the Yankees in 2015. However, his performance was extremely subpar and can easily be tied to his disease.
Even most diehard fans cannot come close to enduring what Sabathia had on his plate just a year ago. Hopefully for the general human being and sports fan, they never have to experience what the big man had to encounter.
Question marks rode over whether the former horse of the staff would be ready for 2016, whether he would perform better or worse than 2015, and how long the Yankees could possibly bare this underperformance.
CC has put all of those questions to bed. It only took two months for fans to eagerly await his starts, believe he is an asset, and admire his change in repertoire and poise.
The same attitude has been present with management. Joe Girardi let CC go back out for a seventh with 98 pitches, something that never would have been a remote possibility just a month ago. A short leash was tied to the 6’6″ veteran that was not removed until his most recent eye-popping outings.
Faith was an enormous question mark, making his story one that went completely against all odds.
Through patience, discipline, refining, readjusting, and ultimate fortitude, CC Sabathia has turned back into the force he once was. To put the icing on the cake, the results have been lustrous.
Taking all of the factors into consideration and putting perspective on him when put against other candidates, Carsten Charles Sabathia is your American League Comeback Player Of The Year.
While a large portion of the season waits to unfold, the case to hand over a feel-good honor is only strengthening for a man that can use it for tackling the obstacles that came in his direction.