Chris Sale
Chris Sale
32-Year-Old PitcherSP
Boston Red Sox
60-Day IL
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 7/10/2021
2021 Fantasy Outlook
The 2019 season did not end well for Sale as he showed a drop in velocity and for the second consecutive season, failed to avoid the injured list. He reported to camp in February and by mid-March, he was on the table having Tommy John surgery. Mind you, this all happened in the first year of his new five-year, $145 million contract extension. Management has already said they do not expect Sale back on the active roster until "mid-summer." Ignore what Sale says, because management has 145 million reasons to handle his comeback with care. Unless you are drafting in a keeper league, his value on draft day should be considered negligible given the statistical track record of pitchers pitching the season following TJS. Even mid-summer is still just 15 months out for him, and command is always the last thing that comes back for a pitcher. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#329
ADP
$Signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension with the Red Sox in March of 2019. Contract includes an opt-out clause after 2022 and $20 million vesting option for 2025.
Impresses in bullpen session
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
June 11, 2021
Manager Alex Cora was impressed with Sale (elbow) during the lefty's bullpen session Friday, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports.
ANALYSIS
The manager expressed strong optimism when talking about the southpaw's Friday bullpen, but also hinted at the fact that he still has a ways to go before he's back in the Red Sox rotation, saying, "We need to not get too excited... but it was just that good." Cora's comments indicate a July return to the Red Sox continues to be a realistic possibility for the veteran left-hander, though Boston will continue to monitor his rehab very closely.
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-13%
BAA vs RHP
2021
No Stats
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
-13%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2019vs Left .247 95 28 4 22 6 1 1
Since 2019vs Right .216 517 190 33 101 24 1 23
2021vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Left .247 95 28 4 22 6 1 1
2019vs Right .216 517 190 33 101 24 1 23
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-7%
ERA at Home
2021
No Stats
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
-7%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2019Home 4.22 1.07 70.1 2 4 0 14.7 2.6 1.2
Since 2019Away 4.56 1.10 77.0 4 7 0 12.0 2.0 1.8
2021Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home 4.22 1.07 70.1 2 4 0 14.7 2.6 1.2
2019Away 4.56 1.10 77.0 4 7 0 12.0 2.0 1.8
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Chris Sale
MLB Barometer: Risers & Fallers
Yesterday
Erik Halterman takes a look at this week's risers and fallers, leading off with Vladimir Guerrero, who's leading the league with 21 homers and sits tied for second with a .344 average.
Bernie on the Scene: Corner Infield Trade Targets
57 days ago
Bernie Pleskoff analyzes some trade targets at the corners who could help fantasy teams, including the Royals' Hunter Dozier.
Rounding Third: Lindy Stats
80 days ago
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80 days ago
Chris Liss takes stock of his seven fantasy baseball rosters which include five shares of Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.
Mound Musings: A Look at Pitching in the AL East
82 days ago
Brad Johnson wraps up his bullpen series with a look at the American League East, where in Tampa, Tyler Glasnow leads the Rays pitching.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
Heading into 2019, Sale's shoulder was the concern after he missed time down the stretch in 2018 (32.1 innings total in August, September and October of that year). Tests showed no structural damage and Boston signed Sale to a five-year extension prior to Opening Day, which helped alleviate fear amongst fantasy owners. However, after the Red Sox slow-played him in spring training, Sale's velocity was still down when the regular season began and he started the year by going 0-5 with a 6.30 ERA in his first six starts. Things improved greatly, with Sale posting a 0.98 WHIP and 150:22 K:BB over his subsequent 15 outings, but elbow trouble popped up and Sale was officially shut down Aug. 19. Tommy John surgery was deemed unnecessary and the team said he would be fully healthy for the start of spring training. That was not the case and it was announced in early March that Sale was headed for another MRI on his elbow.
Sale somehow raised the bar in 2018, with career-best marks in ERA (2.11) and WHIP (0.86) buoyed by outstanding indicators, namely a 32.9 K-BB% and 0.63 HR/9 that ranked first and fourth, respectively, among all hurlers who tossed 150-plus frames. His bid for his first Cy Young lost momentum, however, when shoulder inflammation set in, requiring two separate DL stints and limiting Sale to 29 second-half innings. He returned in time for Boston's World Series run, but clearly wasn't in top form. His average fastball velocity sat at 93.2 mph from September onward, per Brooks Baseball, nearly five ticks below its mid-summer peak. The lefty fortunately avoided offseason shoulder surgery, leaving the team optimistic he'll be back to full strength after extended rest and rehab. Sale's health still warrants a check-in during spring training, but if reports surrounding the southpaw are positive, he can be drafted with confidence as a fantasy staff ace.
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.
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
May face hitters soon
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
June 7, 2021
Sale (elbow) is scheduled to throw another bullpen session this week, and he could be ready to face hitters soon after, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic reports. "Things are trending up," manager Alex Cora said, regarding Sale's recovery from Tommy John surgery.
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Throws 20-pitch bullpen
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
June 2, 2021
Sale (elbow) threw 20 pitches off the mound Wednesday, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.
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Continues progress toward return
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
May 31, 2021
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Monday that Sale (elbow) continues to increase the intensity and length of his throwing sessions as he progresses toward rejoining the starting rotation sometime this summer, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports.
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Throws bullpen session
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
May 22, 2021
Sale (elbow) threw a bullpen session at the Red Sox's spring training facility Saturday, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports.
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Happy with rehab progress
PBoston Red Sox
Elbow
May 18, 2021
Sale (elbow) has been satisfied with his recovery between throwing sessions, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports.
ANALYSIS
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