Chris Sale | Chicago (AL) | RP | 5 percent Yahoo ownership.
YTD: 0.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12.06 K/9, 5.74 BB/9
MLS MLE: 8.45 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, 18.00 K/9, 7.50 BB/9
Like most White Sox bullpen guys this year, Chris Sale throws hard, with an average fastball velocity of 96 mph in the majors. This has translated to plenty of strikeouts (21 in only 15.2 innings). The walks are outrageously high (10 in 15.2 innings) but as a reliever and a high strikeout pitcher, those walks can be easily masked (see Carlos Marmol and The Joker’s bank robbery crew. Masks. Get it? Never mind).
Along with those high strikeouts comes a decently high propensity to get ground balls with a 46.9 GB percentage and a 1.15 GB/FB percentage. High strikeouts + a lot of grounders = fantasy (and I guess reality) success. This is Sabermetrics 201 (I teach the advanced class).
I view the fact that Sale has not given up a home run as a bad sign. I know it’s the Gambler’s Fallacy to say someone “is due,” especially in baseball, but Sale still has a decent propensity for fly balls and I don’t really trust any pitcher with a decent fly ball percentage (currently 40.6 for Sale) who calls The Cell home (it’s second among major league parks in home runs given up. And unfortunately I don’t have access to super secret THT data about fly ball suppression and such, so I have to go off what ESPN’s Park Factors tell me. Also, Paul Konerko is not the only one hitting those dingers).
So I think Sale will give up at least one home run before the year ends and with the small sample he will pitch on the year, I expect that ERA to go up. But how bad is it really to have your ERA go up from .57 to 2.00? Just ask Ubaldo Jimenez; he’s good with it. …
UPDATE: Golebiewski @ FG:
Sale, slinging his fastball at an average of 96.2 MPH while mixing in low-80′s sliders and upper-80′s changeups, has struck out 23 batters in 17.2 IP. While he has issued 10 walks to go with all those K’s, the Florida Gulf Coast product has a 3.19 xFIP in a tiny sample.