This is the most obvious choice since pitching tends to dominate and few can dominate like Chris Sale. He’s a perennial candidate for the Cy Young Award and in 2017 Sale may finally grab that most coveted brass ring of pitching.
What makes one shudder is in season success does not necessarily coincide with second season success. Teammate David Price is certainly the most notable example and one way to enrage the petulant Price is to mention just that. Another example is the very dominant Clayton Kershaw, who manages playoff fur balls. Price and Kershaw get you there and then shut off the engine.
The criticism on Sale is centered on his career performances in September. Does he wear down or is he just bored that his team has folded? I choose worn down, but 90% of pitchers would sell their first born to have Sale’s September numbers for their entire career. Sale will be ready to roll.
Sale has a clean slate going into the playoffs since he is relaxing in October and not pitching. During his first season with Boston, Sale was described as “intense” on the day he sauntered to the mound. Sale is a no excuse professional with a world of personal pride who if he gets a solid victory in his first playoff rodeo may just gather in multiple awards.