Boston Red Sox Pitcher Chris Sale to Miss Start of Season
It keeps getting worse for the Red Sox, but that could end up being a blessing for fantasy owners. We learned on Thursday afternoon that ace Chris Sale would start the season on the injured list. Considering Sale’s erratic 2019 season (and coupled with his lingering arm injuries), we’re going to assume that this latest setback will have some fantasy owners removing the starting pitcher from their list of targets. Of course, that’d be a bit ignorant, and if you’re willing to keep an open mind, you may be able to capitalize on a discounted ace.
For starters, Sale’s latest issue has nothing to do with his elbow, arm, shoulder, or really anything that has to do with his throwing motion. Rather, the veteran is still recovering from an illness that knocked him out of the early part of camp. Instead of rushing Sale through an abbreviated Spring Training, the team will instead be cautious and keep him on his proper timeline. As a result, he’ll have to miss the first week or two of the regular season, but there’s no reason to think that Sale won’t be at full health by the time he’s activated.
Furthermore, Sale’s 2019 season wasn’t as bad as it may have looked. Sure, his 4.40 ERA was nearly a run-worse than this previous career-worst mark (which should be indicative of an outlier, anyway), but all of his other stats suggest that he was still among the elite pitchers.
Sale’s 35.6% strikeout was second in the league, proving that he’s still got what it takes to contribute in that category (it’s also a skill that helps him get out of any jams). While his WHIP was worse than usual, it was still more-than-fine, especially for fantasy owners. He also had a great walk rate, his FIP was among the best in the American League, and he racked up his fair share of wins.
If anything is to blame for Sale’s unsightly ERA, it’s the juiced ball. Sale was allowing HR/9 at a career-high rate, and that naturally has an impact on his numbers. If power is down next season, Sale will automatically see his numbers return to normal. Sure, considering the Red Sox probably won’t be contending next season, the team could end up resting Sale for stretches. Still, considering the discount you’ll get on the starting pitcher, he still seems worth the investment.