Chris Sale
Chris Sale
29-Year-Old PitcherSP
Boston Red Sox
2018 Fantasy Outlook
A late fade took some of the shine off Sale's first season in Boston, but he was excellent for most of the year, finishing as a top-three pitcher in terms of earned 5x5 fantasy value. The lefty didn't just add back to his strikeout rate; he posted the highest K/9 of his career (12.9), boosted by 18 double-digit strikeout performances. He also had the sixth-lowest walk rate among qualified starters and kept the home runs in check at home, resulting in the best FIP among all pitchers with at least 70 innings. Sale's consistency over the years and (surprising) durability should keep him near the top of starting pitcher rankings in 2018. The only real question is: where does he fit in among the entire player universe? A case can be made for anywhere in the 10-25 range, even though he pitches in a tough division, as he has the tools to be the most valuable pitcher in fantasy baseball in 2018. Read Past Outlooks
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$The Red Sox picked up Sale's $15 option for 2019 in October of 2018.
Not expected to require surgery
PBoston Red Sox
November 1, 2018
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday that Sale is unlikely to need surgery on his shoulder this offseason and should be "100 percent" by spring training, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.
The Red Sox are hopeful that Sale only requires a little rest in order to completely heal the shoulder injury that bothered him from late July through early September. Even though the left-hander was able to work his way back for the home stretch of the regular season and the playoffs, it was evident that Sale wasn't fully operational. Earlier this week, Boston exercised its club option on Sale for the 2019 season, which was an obvious decision given that he was owed just $15 million for next year.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .191 374 124 12 67 8 0 8
Since 2016vs Right .211 2001 654 110 390 82 9 54
2018vs Left .170 107 41 3 17 3 0 0
2018vs Right .183 510 196 31 85 19 3 11
2017vs Left .203 132 41 6 25 1 0 3
2017vs Right .209 719 267 37 140 33 3 21
2016vs Left .197 135 42 3 25 4 0 5
2016vs Right .232 772 191 42 165 30 3 22
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
Even Split
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 3.19 1.01 256.2 20 10 0 11.5 1.9 1.3
Since 2016Away 2.60 0.93 342.1 26 12 0 11.8 1.8 0.7
2018Home 2.11 1.00 64.0 4 2 0 13.4 2.4 0.4
2018Away 2.11 0.77 94.0 8 2 0 13.6 1.6 0.8
2017Home 3.16 1.00 88.1 7 3 0 11.9 1.8 1.3
2017Away 2.71 0.95 126.0 10 5 0 13.6 1.8 0.8
2016Home 3.88 1.04 104.1 9 5 0 10.0 1.6 1.8
2016Away 2.87 1.04 122.1 8 5 0 8.6 2.0 0.4
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Stat Review
How does Chris Sale compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
94.7 mph
Strand %
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Chris Sale
Farm Futures: A Dose of Reality for Padres Fans
November 29th
James Anderson considers what kind of prospect haul might realistically bring Noah Syndergaard west to San Diego.
Collette Calls: Does the Opener Strategy Work?
November 16th
Jason Collette analyzes 'The Opener' strategy and how it relates to the times-through-the-order penalty. Would it have benefited Robbie Ray?
The Z Files: Historical Top 200
November 10th
Todd Zola takes a look at the end-of-season top-200 performers over the last five years and thinks Charlie Blackmon's being discounted too heavily in early drafts given his track record.
The Z Files: Early Top 15 Pitchers
November 1st
Todd Zola offers his initial list of the top arms heading into 2019, and doesn't think Luis Severino's second half is a good enough reason to keep him out of the top 10.
MLB DFS: Sunday Cheat Sheet
October 28th
Sunday's slate of one game features a road matchup for Chris Sale against Los Angeles.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
There was a great disturbance in the fantasy baseball force at the start of 2016 when Sale declared he was looking to be more efficient in 2016 with his pitches. By season's end, Sale struck out at least 10 batters just four times, matching his career low from 2012 when he threw 34 fewer innings and made three fewer starts than in 2016. This came on the heels of 2015, when he struck out 10 or more 13 times. He still carried a 9.3 K/9 and was as stingy as ever with walks. How does moving from The Cell to Fenway Park affect him? Fenway is also hitter-friendly, but he's pitched in dangerous conditions for home games throughout his career. Of course, his numbers won't rival those of the top NL aces, considering he's had an ERA over 3.30 in back-to-back seasons. He is the best real-life rotation arm in the American League, which makes him good enough to scrape the top five or, more comfortably, top 10 fantasy starters.
Sale was one of the best starting pitchers in the American League in 2015, finishing in the top five in the Cy Young vote for a third straight season. His 2.73 FIP led the league, and his 11.8 K/9 was best among all qualifying pitchers. He had a record eight consecutive games with double-digit strikeout totals, and walked more than two batters in just four starts. His slider is nearly unhittable, and his high-90s fastball is also a very good pitch. Sale's unconventional delivery will continue to trigger injury concerns, but he has averaged over 197 innings since becoming a full-time starter in 2012. The anchor of the White Sox’s staff, he will likely be among the league’s elite once more.
Sale led the AL with a 10.8 K/9 and 178 ERA+, but a month-long stay on the disabled list with a flexor strain curtailed his innings in such a way that he only finished third in the Cy Young race. Still, opposing left-handed batters managed just a meager .393 OPS against him, while hitters of all stripes only hit .137 against his slider. He allowed one run or fewer in 14 of his 26 starts, and struck out eight or more in 14 of his 26 starts. Sale looks to be the ace of the White Sox staff for the 2015 season, and should continue to be one of the top AL starters on the board.
Sale's win total dropped from 17 in 2012 to 11 in 2013, but the rest of his repertoire was impressive enough to lead him a fifth-place finish in the AL Cy Young race. His 9.5 K/9 was tops among the league's left-handed starters, and his walk rate fell to a career-best 1.9 BB/9. Opposing batters hit a measly .138 off his slider, and the pitch was virtually unhittable for left-handed batters. Sale was pegged as a reliever in his early days in the league because of durability concerns, but he threw 214 innings in 2013 and led the league with four complete games. There should not be much cause for concern about regression in 2014. Sale will potentially be an injury risk to some due to his "inverted W" delivery, but he has yet to hit the disabled list through his first 512 professional innings. Look for him to lead the White Sox's rotation again in 2014.
The White Sox drafted Sale in 2010 as a starter, but it looked like he was shaping up to be the team's closer of the future through his first two professional seasons. He threw nearly 200 innings after throwing fewer than 100 in 2010 and 2011 combined. The extra workload may have worn on him as the season progressed, as he had a sub-1.00 WHIP and 3.92 K/BB leading up to the All-Star break, and he allowed 14 home runs in the second half. Opposing left-handed hitters had a mere .601 OPS against him, and he only issued 46 unintentional walks over his 192 innings. Sale will open 2013 as the White Sox's 24-year-old ace, and he should continue his ascent into the league's top tier of starters.
Sale squandered his chance to be the White Sox's full-time closer in 2011, but he made for one heck of a setup man/sometime closer. He struck out 79 batters in 71 innings in his first full professional season, and he increasingly utilized his plus-slider and change-up. It looks like Sale will finally make the move to the rotation in 2012, and there may be some growing pains as his innings total reaches triple digits. If he were staying in the bullpen, Sale may have been the first in line to close with the team's decision to trade Sergio Santos to Toronto in December.
Just one year ago, Sale was pitching at Florida Gulf Coast University and rated as one of the top amateur pitchers. His funky delivery caused him to fall to the White Sox at No. 13 overall in the June 2010 draft, and he was in the majors by August. He started in college but was used in a relief role in the pros. That funky delivery helped him strike out 32 major league batters in 23.1 innings, and he struck out 51 over 33.1 across three levels. The White Sox insist they will give him a shot to start in 2011, but his name will also be in the closer mix.
More Fantasy News
Has 2019 option picked up
PBoston Red Sox
October 30, 2018
Sale's club option for 2019 was picked up by the Red Sox on Tuesday, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.
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Cedes Game 5 start
PBoston Red Sox
October 28, 2018
Sale will not start Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers on Sunday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
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Tabbed for Game 5 start
PBoston Red Sox
October 27, 2018
Sale will start Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports.
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Recovered from illness
PBoston Red Sox
October 20, 2018
Sale is feeling better Saturday after battling an illness during the ALCS, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports.
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Draws Game 1 start
PBoston Red Sox
October 19, 2018
Sale (illness) will start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, WEEI 93.7 FM reports.
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