Red Sox: Sale is among the most accomplished lefties ever under thirty

ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 22: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 22, 2018 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 22: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 22, 2018 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
7 of 11
Next
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 10: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 10: Chris Sale /
Player bWAR/IP bWAR IP From To Age SO ERA FIP ERA+ BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
Chris Sale 0.0285 (2nd) 41.1 (12th) 1440.1 (83rd) 2010 2018 21-29 1716 (7th) 2.94 (33rd) 2.91 (29th) 142 (5th) 2.07 (19th) 10.75 (1st) 5.19 (1st)

Chris Sale is only halfway through his age-29-season so it may be fair to expect that bWAR to jump by 3 or 4 wins given the pace he is on this year. Regardless, Sale has absolutely earned his spot as the only Red Sox pitcher in this discussion already.

I mentioned this stats above, but I’ll say it again: that K/BB ratio isn’t just the best of this group; it’s the best for any starting pitcher ever. His SO/9 ratio is also the greatest of any starting pitcher ever.  He’s accumulating bWAR faster than all but one lefty did at this stage in their career and his ERA+ is right up near the tippy-top. He’s the king of rate stats and the only thing holding him back is that innings total.

The rest of the pitchers on this list averaged about 2,106 innings before their age-thirty season. If Sale pitched at the same pace for 2,106 innings his bWAR would eclipse 60, he’d probably move to second on this list, and we could basically start writing up his Hall of Fame plaque.

As it stands, Sale will have to settle for a fifth-place finish. He doesn’t have the hardware or banners to point to like many on this list do, but there’s a case to be made that he’s the most (or, realistically, second most) dominant lefty on this list. And the Red Sox are certainly gunning for some hardware to add to his trophy case.