Fantasy Baseball Winter Meetings Reaction: Chris Sale changes Sox – CBSSports.com
Chris Towers is covering the prospects joining the White Sox while this piece will focus on what the move from Chicago to Boston will mean for Sale.
Sale has been among the best pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons, but in 2016 he really took a leap in terms of Fantasy production because of a career high in innings and wins. I generally view wins as one of the least predictive statistics for pitchers, but now Sale is joining an offensive behemoth that just helped Rick Porcello win 22 games and a Cy Young (sorry, Kate).
Of course, David Price will tell you that Fenway Park isn’t exactly a left-handed pitchers dream. Price posted his worst ERA since his rookie season at least partially because of a 4.11 ERA at home. Then again, Sale is coming from Guaranteed Rate Field, which has been one of the top HR parks in baseball. Sale will also be going from the AL Central to the AL East, which may seem like it has more difficult lineups to face. But when you take the Red Sox and White Sox out of the equation, the offenses in the two divisions were pretty close to even in 2015, and we still don’t know where Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista will land.
The only concern I could see is that Sale implemented a small change last season, choosing to pitch more to contact. This helped Sale to throw 18 more innings than he had ever thrown before but also led to a career low 9.3 K/9. That strikeout rate is still elite but more games in better hitters parks could call into question whether that’s still a great idea.
Sale was ranked as top four starting pitcher by both Scott White and me before this trade. I can’t speak for Scott, but I don’t think that’s going to change with the change of scenery. Sale is more likely to continue his positive win trend in Boston, but he’ll face slightly more difficult pitching conditions.
You’re still drafting Sale in the second or third round as a sure-fire ace and one of the top five pitchers off the board.
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