Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers or the Cleveland Indians the trade of starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia means trying to win a championship or looking towards the future, but for fantasy players the trade forces a completely different way to look at the deal.
And for fantasy owners, the trade is a good one for Sabathia. We are not looking at it from a championship point of view, but from what it will do for Sabathia owners.
In general terms, the Milwaukee offense is more potent than the Cleveland offense and the Brewers relief corps, while not great, is still better than the weak Indians bullpen.
Lets look at the numbers.
Milwaukee's offense is averaging 4.61 runs per game against 4.39 runs for the Indians. But if we look closer, the Brewers offense is trending upward. The team batted .248 in April, .253 in May and June and is hitting a robust .296 for the first week in July. To go along with the higher batting average, the Brewers averaged 6.5 runs for the first six July games.
Meanwhile, the Indians have been up and down all season batting .248 in April, .218 in May, .273 in June and just .216 for the first week of July.
While the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen is mediocre, their 16-14 record, with a 4.07 ERA in 85 games is much better than the Cleveland relief staff that is 8-17 and last in baseball with an ERA of 5.14.
Checking the Milwaukee schedule, Sabathia should make about 15 starts, beginning on Tuesday, July 8th. After one of the worst April performances ever by a defending Cy Young Award winner (1-4 ERA 10.28, WHIP 1.78), Sabathia has rebounded nicely. In May he was just 2-3, but had an ERA of 2.44 and a WHIP of 1.11. June was even better as Sabathia went 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA and a WHIP of just 0.95.
All these numbers say Sabathia is back on track and with his new offensive teammates and better bullpen, he should have a very good second half. In his last 12 starts, Sabathia has given up four runs in four outings, three runs once and seven times gave up two runs or less.
Given 15 starts, Sabathia should give up three runs or less 10 times and win eight of the games. In at least one other game the Brewers hitters will bail him out, therefore I'm expecting Sabathia to go 9-3 with an ERA around 2.25 and a WHIP of 1.03 over the second half of the season.