Prediction Three: Chris Sale Will Reach the Coveted 300 Strikeout Mark
Jul 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
White Sox ace Chris Sale has undoubtedly been a bright spot in this otherwise bleak 2015 season.
Sale has a 3.20 ERA on the season, but his league leading 2.37 FIP shows he’s been much better than his earned run average suggests.
The story for Sale however has been the strikeouts. In fact, fans from the K-Zone have filed arm fatigue grievances. Okay, that’s a joke, but the following metrics are not.
Sale owns a 12.0 SO/9 ratio and a 6.54 SO/W ratio, which are both tops in all of baseball.
He also leads the American League in strikeouts with 229.
Despite that resume, 300 strikeouts in a single-season is still a tall task to meet. Per Baseball Reference, the last time it was done was in 2002 when both Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling accomplished the feat.
Chris Sale could be in line for seven more starts this season and it wouldn’t be a stretch if he managed to go at least seven innings in each of them. Apply his 12.0 SO/9 to those seven innings and Sale should average about nine strikeouts per game from here on out.
That may be conservative because remember there was a stretch in which Sale struck out over ten batters in eight consecutive starts earlier this year, which tied a major league record.
A nine-strikeout average over his remaining starts would lead to an additional 63 strikeouts, placing his total at 292.
Remember, that in his last three starts, Sale’s posted strikeout totals of fifteen, fourteen, and seven respectively, meaning that for every start in which his totals lag, he’s also capable of making up the difference in short order.
It’ll be difficult, but Sale is an unrivaled competitor and I think as he gets closer to the achievement, his adrenaline will drive him over the finish line. Needless to say, an opposing hitter may whiff on a Sale slider but I don’t think I’ll whiff on this prediction.
Next: More time for Trayce Thompson?