Jul 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale throws a pitch in the second inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
3. Chris Sale LHP
Maybe this is the year …the year that Chris Sale wins the Cy Young award. After finishing third in voting last season due to an elbow injury that limited him to 26 starts, expect Sale to pitch with a chip on his shoulder in ’15.
Since Sale’s unique delivery puts his elbow at risk, and the White Sox are hoping he’ll be needed for a postseason run. Expect them to be judicious with his workload during the regular season.
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Sale’s 2.17 ERA in 2014 was outer worldly, and will be extremely tough to duplicate this season. His 2.57 FIP suggests that he won’t. However, fantasy managers will be happy to get a few extra starts out of the Cy Young candidate in exchange for a few tenths, or even half of a point added to his ERA.
There are few pitchers in the league you can count on year in and year out to pitch like an All-Star. Sale is one of this few, earning a trip to the All-Star game the last three seasons, with ’15 likely being his fourth trip to the mid-summer classic, barring injury.
Chris saw his K/9 rate skyrocket from 9.5 in 2013 to 10.8 in 2014. His career average is 9.8. If he can start 30 games again like he did in ’12 and ’13, his strikeout total should shoot back up into the 220 range. A much improved offense will likely pad his win total as well. Sale is a No. 1 starter on any fantasy team.
I expect Sale to start 30 games during the regular season resulting in a 17-7 record, 198 IP, a 2.75 ERA, and 220 K’s.