From BR Bullpen
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 6", Weight 172 lb.
- School Florida Gulf Coast University
- High School Lakeland High School
- Debut August 6, 2010
 Biographical Information
Chris Sale was a first-round draft pick in the 2010 amateur draft and reached the majors almost immediately.
Out of high school in Florida, Sale was picked in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies but he opted for college. He was 2-0 with two saves and a 3.47 ERA as a freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University, fanning 46 in 36 1/3 innings. As a sophomore, Chris had a 7-4, 2.72 record and set 104 batters down on strikes in 89 1/3 innings. He finished second in the Atlantic Sun Conference in ERA (.18 behind Chad Jenkins), was second in strikeouts and tied for second in wins (one behind Jenkins). He made All-Conference.
Chris really improved his stock with a superb showing in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2009. He was 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA with a league-best 57 whiffs in 55 innings. He allowed just 37 hits and 9 walks. He was third in the loop in ERA, .05 behind #2 Kyle Blair. He was named the league's Outstanding Pitcher. Baseball America rated him the best prospect in the league, right ahead of Zack Cox and Alex Wimmers.
As a junior, Sale was named Pitcher of the Year in the A-Sun, going 11-0 with two saves, a 2.01 ERA ERA and 146 K with only 14 walks, tops in NCAA Division I in strikeouts at the end of the regular season. Collegiate Baseball named him a first-team All-American as well as their Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. Prior pitchers to take that award were Greg Swindell, Andy Benes, Ben McDonald, Bobby Jones, Lloyd Peever, Kris Benson, Kip Bouknight, Mark Prior, Jered Weaver, Wes Roemer, David Price and Stephen Strasburg.
Chris was taken by the Chicago White Sox with the 13th selection of the 2010 amateur draft. He made his pro debut on July 2nd for the Winston-Salem Dash, with one shutout inning of relief. On August 4, the White Sox brought him to the major leagues with barely 10 professional innings of experience. He had struck out 19 in 10 1/3 innings for the Dash and Charlotte Knights, though he had walked six. He became the second Florida Gulf Coast player to make the majors, doing so just four days after Casey Coleman was the first.
In his major league debut, Sale relieved John Danks with a 1-1 tie in the 8th against the Baltimore Orioles. He walked Brian Roberts on four pitches, then gave up a Nick Markakis single before leaving in favor of Tony Pena. He was the first player form the 2010 draft to reach the major leagues. He pitched 21 games with the Sox that year, with an excellent 1.93 ERA, a 2-1 record and 4 saves, and only 15 hits allowed in 23 1/3 innings, against 32 strikeouts; his performance comforted the Pale Hose that they had made the right decision in rushing him to the Show. He continued to pitch well in 2011, spending the entire season in the Sox's bullpen, where he went 2-2, 2.79 in 58 games. Mainly working as a set-up man for closer Sergio Santos, he still collected 8 saves and continued to display superior stuff, striking out 79 against 52 hits and 27 walks in 71 innings.
Even though Santos was traded before the 2012 season, opening the closer's job, Chicago had different plans for Sale. In the winter, they announced that he would be moved to the starting rotation for the next season. To prepare, he was worked on improving his change-up, which he had barely needed until then. he did spend the first month of the year as a starter, and the results were quite good, as he went 3-1, 2.81 in 5 starts. However, on May 4th, manager Robin Ventura made a complete turn-around, saying Sale would be the team's new closer. he explained that it was not because of dissatisfaction with the job done by Hector Santiago in the role since the start of the season, but in order to preserve Sale's health, as the pitcher had chronic soreness and tightness in his elbow. Indeed, a week later, he was sent to undergo an MRI on the elbow, but it came out clean, and then the Sox reversed themselves, deciding to make him a starter again. He had only pitched one game as closer, blowing the save. On May 28th, he demonstrated why he was such a hot prospect as a starter, as he came within one strikeout of the White Sox franchise record in beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1; he struck out 15 in 7 1/3 innings in picking up his sixth win, one fewer than the total Jack Harshman had achieved on July 25, 1954. It was the highest strikeout total ever achieved at Tropicana Field, however. He was named the American League's Pitcher of the Month for May, with a record of 4-1, 1.71. His teammate Jake Peavy had won the honor in April. In his next start on June 3rd, he pitched his first career complete game in defeating the Seattle Mariners, 4 - 2. He was selected as a member of the American League squad at the 2012 All-Star Game and two days later, on July 3rd, earned his 10th win of the year in a 19-2 demolition of the Texas Rangers. In the All-Star Game, he relieved Jered Weaver with a 8-0 deficit in the 6th. He retired Rafael Furcal then gave up back-to-back singles to Chipper Jones and Andrew McCutchen but recovered to get Jay Bruce on a fly and got David Freese swinging. Ryan Cook replaced him on the mound in the 7th. He earned his 15th win of the year with another gem on August 22nd, beating the New York Yankees, 2-1. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up just one run while fanning 13 to improve to 15-4 on the year. He finished the year at 17-8, 3.05 with 192 strikeouts in exactly as many innings. He was among the 2012 AL leaders in ERA (4th, after David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver), wins (tied for 4th with Verlander), WHIP (1.14, 5th, between Price and CC Sabathia), strikeouts per 9 IP (4th after Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish and Verlander) and strikeouts (9th, between Matt Moore and Jake Peavy). He finished 6th in voting for the 2012 American League Cy Young Award.
In spring training of 2013, Sale signed a five-year contract extension with the White Sox for $32 million, with an option for the next two seasons as well. On May 12, 2013, Sale recorded his first career shutout with a 3-0 one-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He took a perfect game into the 7th inning before Mike Trout singled with one out, and needed only 98 pitches to complete the gem, striking out 7 opponents in the process. It was the third major league one-hitter in three days, following similar efforts by Jon Lester and Shelby Miller on May 10th, interspersed with a two-hitter thrown by Adam Wainwright on May 11th. He lost two potential wins in June because of poor defensive play by his teammates: on June 14th, he struck out 14 Houston Astros batters in a complete game effort, but lost, 2-1, on two unearned runs both resulting from errors by SS Alexei Ramirez. June 25th was even more frustrating: Addison Reed was one out away from saving a 4-3 win over the New York Mets, when he induced Daniel Murphy to hit a routine pop-up in front of the mound. 3B Conor Gillaspie was camped under it, but 2B Gordon Beckham rushed in from his position, tripped on Reed's foot, fell down and bowled over Gillaspie in the process, allowing the ball to fall to the ground and David Wright to score the tying run all the way from second base. The lack of support meant that Sale was only 6-8 at the All-Star break, in spite of a 2.85 ERA. American League manager Jim Leyland was able to look past the won/loss record and see how well Chris had actually pitched, and selected him for the 2013 All-Star Game. In the game on July 16th, he succeeded Scherzer on the mound in the 2nd inning and proceeded to retire all six batters he faced (Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Yadier Molina, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper); the AL scored its first run in the bottom of the 3rd and he got credit for the 3-0 win. He was in fact the only American League pitcher to go more than one inning and his dominating performance could well have earned him the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, except that it went to Mariano Rivera in appreciation of his outstanding career on top of pitching a perfect inning in the contest. He continued to get poor support after the break and finished 11-14 despite a 3.07 ERA; he fanned 226 in 214 1/3 IP. He finished among the AL leaders in ERA (7th, between Félix Hernández and James Shields), WHIP (3rd, 1.07, behind Scherzer and Hisashi Iwakuma), innings (tied for 5th with Scherzer), whiffs (3rd behind Darvish and Scherzer), complete games (4, tied for first with Price), K/BB ratio (4.91, 2nd to Price), losses (tied for third with teammate John Danks, Phil Hughes and Joe Blanton), hit batsmen (tied with Ivan Nova for 4th with 14) and ERA+ (140, 5th, between Bartolo Colon and Iwakuma).
Sale started the 2014 season red hot, winning his first three starts, and then giving up a single run in 7 innings in a no-decision in the fourth. He was 3-0, 2.30 when he went on the disabled list on April 18th with a muscle strain in his pitching arm. He missed over a month of action, but was sharp in a minor league rehabilitation start, then in his return on May 22nd, he was brilliant against the Yankees. In 6 innings of work, he retired 18 of the 19 men he faced, the only exception being Zoilo Almonte's two-out single in the 6th. His bullpen gave up a couple of 9th-inning runs, but the Sox held on for a 3-2 win. On June 1t, he did not need any help as he tossed a complete game two-hitter in defeating the San Diego Padres, 4-1. He walked nobody and struck out 9 in another vintage dominant performance. Thus in site of the trime missed, he was named to the AL All-Star squad for the third straight year. He continued to dominate opposing hitters in the second half and on September 11th, he pitched 8 shutout innings in defeating the Oakland A's, 1-0. That performance lowered his season's ERA to 1.99 to go along with a 12-3 record.
He arrived in spring training on crutches in 2015, the victim of what he described as a freak accident at home which resulted in a broken bone in his right foot. As he explained it, he was unloading stuff from the back of his truck, then jumped off and landed awkwardly, causing the injury. As a result, he was not able to be the White Sox's starter on Opening Day. He did not miss too much time, as his first start came on April 12th, and he was as sharp as ever, as he gave up one earned run in 6 innings on his way to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. He had the worst start of his career against those same Twins on April 30th, however, giving up 9 runs in just 3 innings in a 12-2 loss, his first of the season. It was a different story on June 8th, as he was facing the Houston Astros on the day vaunted prospect Carlos Correa was making his major league debut for Houston; Correa had a nice day, collecting a hit and a RBI, but it was Sale who truly shined, striking out 14 batters in 8 innings in picking up a 3-1 win. That day, he became the first pitcher in White Sox history to fan 10 or more batters in four straight games. On June 19th, he recorded 14 strikeouts in 8 scoreless innings before David Robertson blew a 1-0 lead in the 9th, turning his gem into a 2-1 loss to the Texas Rangers. However, he set another mark that day, becoming only the third pitcher in major league history to record 12 or more strikeouts in 5 consecutive starts, joining Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. He was also the first White Sox pitcher to strike out 14 while walking none. On June 30th, he struck out 12 batters in 8 innings, giving up only one run to the St. Louis Cardinals to tie a record set by Martinez in 1999 with 10 consecutive games of 10 or more strikeouts. He also collected his first career hit and scored a run in the game, but it was the only one the Sox scored in regulation time, as he left with the game tied, 1-1. The White Sox eventually won, 2-1, in 11 innings. Over the 10 starts, he was 5-3, 1.78 with 115 Ks and only 12 walks. His 75 strikeouts in June set a new club record and was the most by any pitcher since Nolan Ryan had struck out 87 in June of 1977; in fact, he was only the fourth pitcher to collect that many strikeouts in a month, after Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Sam McDowell. Not surprisingly, he was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for June; he went only 2-2, but his strikeout numbers and 1.83 ERA were tokens of his dominance. On August 16th, he matched his career high with 15 strikeouts in 7 scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the crosstown Chicago Cubs. When he recorded his 270th strikeout of the year on October 2nd, he broke the White Sox team record of 269 set by Hall of Famer Ed Walsh in 1908; he ended the year with 274 Ks, leading the AL, and a 13-11 record with a 3.41 ERA.
Sale began the 2016 season red hot, as he won his first four starts, becoming the first four-game winner in the majors with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 20th. In that game, he gave up only a pair of singled to Mike Trout in 7 innings, before leading off the 8th by plunking Kole Calhoun; he was removed from the game but an error by 3B Todd Frazier led to Calhoun scoring an unearned run. He made it five win in five starts by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, 10-1, on April 26t, and then six with a 7-1 win over the [2016 Orioles|Orioles]] on May 1st. On May 13th, he made it 8 wins in 8 starts with a 7-1 defeat of the New York Yankees. Jon Garland had been the last White Sox pitcher to win his first 8 starts, in 2005. He made it 9 wins in 9 starts with a complete game 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on May 19th. He was the first major leaguer since Brandon Webb in 2008 to start off with 9 wins in 9 starts. With the White Sox, the last had been Eddie Cicotte, who had started the 1919 season with wins in his first 12 starts. While his streak of winning starts ended there, he continued to win, as on June 21st, a 3-1 win over the Red Sox made him the first 12-game winner in the majors. On July 23rd, in a bizarre incident, he was kept from making a scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers for what GM Rick Hahn described as a "clubhouse incident"; he had apparently been upset about the team's choice to wear throwback uniforms from the 1970s, including the infamous dark blue long-collared jersey and destroyed these with scissors before the game in a radical sartorial criticism. Matt Albers took his place on the mound, and the Sox wore their 1980s jerseys instead. He was handed a five-game suspension by the team for "violating team rules, insubordination and destroying team equipment." The strange incident came at a time when something equally puzzling was happening: trade rumors were swirling around Sale, something that would have been unthinkable even a few weeks earlier given his history of strong performance and his very team-friendly contract. Sale explained himself a few days later, stating that the White Sox had "put business over winning", by forcing players to wear uncomfortable jerseys and called out manager Robin Ventura for not sticking up for his players by overruling the decision to wear these uniforms. Chris's father explained separately that the jerseys' fit hampered his son's pitching mechanics. Commentators were quick to take the pitcher's side in the controversy, explaining that your ace pitcher's desires should be abided in such a matter and that the White Sox had shot themselves in the foot over a "silly controversy". On August 20th, he recorded his first win in 49 days when he defeated the Oakland A's, 6-2, pitching 8 scoreless innings. When he recorded his 200th strikeout on September 11th, he became the first pitcher in White Sox history with four consecutive such seasons; he also topped 200 innings for the third time in that game. He finished the season at 17-10, 3.34 with 233 strikeouts in 226 2/3 innings.
The trade that was rumored during the 2016 season finally happened at the winter meetings on December 6th. He was sent to the Boston Red Sox in return for four prospects: Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech.
 Notable Achievements
- 5-time AL All-Star (2012-2016)
- AL Strikeouts Leader (2015)
- 2-time AL Complete Games Leader (2013 & 2016)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (2012 & 2016)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (2013, 2015 & 2016)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 4 (2013-2016)
 Further Reading
- Ted Berg: "The White Sox suspended Chris Sale over MLB's silliest controversy", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, July 25, 2016. 
- Scott Merkin: Sale suspended five days by White Sox: Left-hander penalized for 'violating team rules, insubordination, destroying team equipment'", mlb.com, July 24, 2016. 
- Phil Rogers: "Sale announcing his presence with authority in 2016: White Sox lefty is making a run at winning his first Cy Young Award", mlb.com, April 27, 2016.