Chris Sale
Chris Sale
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
Boston Red Sox
2019 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$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.
Takes fourth loss
PBoston Red Sox
April 16, 2019
Sale (0-4) took the loss against the Yankees on Tuesday by giving up four runs on seven hits across five innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Sale was finally able to find his fastball velocity Tuesday as he averaged 95.5 mph, according to Ian Browne of, but it didn't translate to a successful outing. The 30-year-old has now lost his first four starts of the season, equaling his loss total over 27 starts in 2018. Sale has a 8.50 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 14:5 K:BB through 18 innings and lines up to face the Tigers next Monday.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .204 251 85 9 48 6 1 3
Since 2017vs Right .202 1301 474 73 242 53 6 37
2019vs Left .500 12 3 0 6 2 1 0
2019vs Right .274 72 11 5 17 1 0 5
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
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Even Split
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 2.94 1.02 156.1 11 6 0 12.4 2.0 0.9
Since 2017Away 2.77 0.91 234.0 18 10 0 13.2 1.8 0.9
2019Home 11.25 1.75 4.0 0 1 0 6.8 0.0 0.0
2019Away 7.71 1.50 14.0 0 3 0 7.1 3.2 3.2
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
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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.
92.5 mph
Strand %
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Chris Sale
Mound Musings: Early Season Trials and Tribulations
2 days ago
Brad Johnson examines pitchers with lofty preseason expectations who have started out the year slowly. On top of his disappointment list is Chris Sale.
SXM Highlights: Can We Relax After Chris Sale's Last Start?
2 days ago
After Chris Sale showed better velocity Tuesday versus the Yankees, can we relax about his rest-of-season forecast?
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
4 days ago
Chris Bennett digs into a deep Tuesday slate and recommends using the red-hot Austin Meadows as the anchor for a Rays stack against the struggling Dylan Bundy.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
6 days ago
Erik Siegrist checks out the waiver options in the American League and thinks it's worth chasing after a possible breakout season from Daniel Vogelbach.
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Double the Fun
7 days ago
Todd Zola's weekly pitcher rankings feature a number of solid two-start options, including Washington's Stephen Strasburg, who faces two the league's weakest lineups.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Gets personal catcher back
PBoston Red Sox
April 16, 2019
Sale will throw to his preferred catcher, Sandy Leon, Tuesday against the Yankees, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
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Getting extra day of rest
PBoston Red Sox
April 11, 2019
Sale's next start will come Tuesday against the Yankees, not Monday against the Orioles as originally expected, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.
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Suffers third loss
PBoston Red Sox
April 9, 2019
Sale (0-3) took the loss Tuesday against the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on seven hits and no walks across four innings. He struck out three.
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Velocity drop linked to illness
PBoston Red Sox
April 9, 2019
Sale was barely able to work between his first two starts of the year due to an illness, potentially explaining his steep velocity drop, Christopher Smith of reports.
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Expected to start home opener
PBoston Red Sox
April 5, 2019
Sale's next start is slated for Tuesday against Toronto, Chris Cotillo of reports.
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