White Sox Season Review: Grading the Starting Pitching
Chris Sale: (A)
For the fifth consecutive season, Sale made the American League All-Star team. His final record was 17-10, with an ERA of 3.34. On top of that, Sale struck out 233 while only issuing 45 free passes. To help you understand his strikeout total, hitters failed to make contact on 73.13 percent of his sliders (on swings) down and in to righties (or low and away to lefties).
As for Sale’s velocity, it stayed around the same for all of 2016. His average fastball was just below 94 MPH, not to mention his changeup lost velocity during the season (from 86 down to 84-85 range). The slider was in the 78-79 MPH range all season. The difference between fastball and changeup is another reason for the high strikeout total. That 8-10 MPH difference is very good, not to mention his slider makes him very tough to hit.
Sale has established himself as one of the elite pitchers in the game. Even though he is unlikely to win the Cy Young, there isn’t a single team in all of baseball who wouldn’t want him on their staff. The Sox have a true ace on their roster, and whatever they choose to do with him this off-season is up to them, however he is among the most valuable assets in the game. I say that because if they due trade him, they will get a huge haul in return.