Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly how the 28-year-old has pitched to begin his first season in a Red Sox uniform.
When Dombrowski acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox on December 6, he sent away four prospects in exchange. Infielder Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech were the main pieces in the package. Moncada was Boston’s #1 prospect and the 5th overall in baseball entering 2016, and the 105-mph throwing Kopech was the organization’s top pitching prospect.
Needless to say, when you have a chance to acquire a stud like Sale you’ll have to give up something big in return. Dombrowski took that chance, and it’s safe to say it’s working out so far for Boston.
Through his first 12 starts with the Red Sox, Sale’s 7-2 and has averaged exactly seven innings when he takes the mound. He’s among the AL leaders in ERA (2.89, sixth), BAA (.201, fourth), WHIP (0.93, third), innings pitched (84, second) and strikeouts (119, first in MLB).
Simply put, this is just more of the same for the overpowering lefty. In each year since he became a starter in 2012, Sale’s finished in the AL top-10 in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Just once was he not in the top-10 in BAA (2015), and twice in innings pitched (2012, 2014- limited to 26 starts).
Currently Sale’s on pace for 338 strikeouts. That would be the most in a season since Randy Johnson punched out 372 in 2001.