Chris Sale has been named to his sixth consecutive All-Star team, although his first as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The honor is clearly well deserved.
Chris Sale is an All-Star. While such a statement may seem ludicrously evident, it is an assertion for which he deserves recognition, nonetheless. While Sale has represented the American League in the Mid-Summer Classic, as a member of the Chicago White Sox every season since 2012, this will be his initial appearance as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
While Sale has produced prodigious statistics in past seasons, this season may ultimately go down in the baseball annals as one of the all-time greatest pitching campaigns in Major League Baseball history.
This season, Sale is breaking and establishing new Major League pitching records at the speed of light. It appears that each time Sale toes the rubber another record falls and, in the immortal words of the “late,” great Al Davis, “it not only goes down, but it goes down hard.”
For instance, no American League pitcher has ever struck out more batters, 166, in his first seventeen starts of the season, any season.* In addition, no pitcher in baseball history, with a minimum of seventeen games started, has ever produced a WHIP under 0.9, and a K/9 ratio of greater than 12. Sale’s WHIP currently sits at 0.895, while his K/9 ratio is a ridiculous 12.4.*
Sale’s 2017, 12.4 K/9 ratio, were he to maintain that rate, would be the single-greatest mark ever produced in American League baseball history, amongst all qualifying individuals.*
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On June 27, 2017, Mike Lupica authored the article, “FOUR OF A KIND: ACE CLUB IS EXCLUSIVE.”
As Lupica so eloquently states in his composition, “You don’t simply measure an ace statistically, by earned runs or strikeouts or even won-loss records. As Buck Showalter said the last time we addressed the subject, you know one when you see one.”
Lupica followed up said comments with this, “An ace is what Sale has been from the time he pitched his first game for the Red Sox. An ace pitches the way Sale pitched on Monday night at Fenway Park against the Twins after the Red Sox had just lost two of three at home to the Angels. An ace goes to 10-3 and strikes out nine as his team wins the game.”
With all of the fanfare dispensed of, allow me to elucidate, as if it were necessary, just how nonsensically, Chris Sale has lapped the field of other American League starting hurlers.
While it might be less time-consuming to list the AL categories in which Sale does not lead the league, I will perform the laborious task of listing the categories in which he does.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Sale leads the American league in Quality Starts (15), Games Started (17), Innings Pitched (120.2), Strikeouts (166), FIP (2.00), WHIP (0.895), Hits/9 (6.4), Strikeouts/9 (12.4), and Strikeouts/Walk (7.55).
Sale is 2nd in the American League in Wins (11), ERA (2.61), and BB/9 (1.64).
In addition, According to Baseball-Reference.com, Sale is not merely edging out his competitors by infinitesimal margins in the categories that he leads. His WHIP is 0.16 ahead of the runner-up, Carlos Carrasco of the Indians. His FIP is 0.70 ahead of the runner-up, Lance McCullers of the Houston Astros. It should be noted that the 10th best FIP in the AL belongs to Boston’s own Rick Porcello, and that value is 3.99, nearly double that of Sale’s. To place this in its proper perspective, there are only nine AL pitchers whose FIP is less than double that of Chris Sale’s!
His 166 strikeouts are 35 ahead of 2nd place’s Chris Archer of the Tampa Rays, and only eight pitchers in the league have attained at least 100 strikeouts. Sale’s Strikeout/Walk ratio is 1.73 ahead of 2nd place’s Josh Tomlin of the Cleveland Indians. Another overwhelming statistic is that only seven American League pitchers have a Strikeout/Walk ratio that is within one-half of the ratio produced by Sale! These comparisons are unreservedly offensive.
Nothing more necessitates mention regarding Chris Sale’s utter dominance of the poor hitters who are required to face him. His left arm has spoken loudly and without the slightest of hesitance.
Chris Sale is an All-Star and I would be shocked were he not to start said contest. A quick perusal of his statistics would render any other decision senseless and unjustifiable.
* Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com