1. Chris Sale
Going into what will be his fourth year with the Red Sox, the only question marks over Chris Sale’s head are in connection with his injury problems. The lefty’s talent can be compared to that of Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez‘s, but injury woes leave some doubts. There aren’t many starters who can generate as much excitement as Sale, and that is exactly what he does.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
- Red Sox exec claims Mookie Betts loss changed management style, but actions say otherwise
- How realistic are the Boston Red Sox/Chris Sale trade rumors?
- Giants’ desperation post-Carlos Correa debacle highlights Red Sox’ lack of urgency
In terms of sheer ability, Sale is up there at the very top. The Sox were right to trade a haul of prospects to the White Sox in 2016 for him, and they were right to give him the 5-year/$145 million extension that they gave him earlier this year. We’ve just got to hope that his injury troubles don’t take away more than they already have.
Sale is now 30-years-old and has made seven straight All-Star teams. His strikeout of Manny Machado to seal the 2018 World Series win remains his defining moment in Boston, but there has been an abundance of other ones to go with this. Even with his struggles through 2019, he was able to toss not just one but TWO immaculate innings.
The Condor’s first year in Boston saw him pitch the most innings in the majors, and record the most strikeouts with 308 (just five short of Pedro’s all-time Sox record). In 2018 Sale recorded an ERA of 2.11 with 13.5 SO/9 – blowing opponent after opponent away. He continued to be the ace that the Sox needed both on and off the field.
The injury troubles hindered his 2019, but when he was locked in he was on another level to pretty much anyone else. Sale was one of the main factors in winning it all in the fashion that they did in 2018, and hopefully he can become that for future Sox sides.