The Chicago White Sox have had an absolutely miserable season, to the point where the future looks even more bleak for them than it does for their rivals on the North Side. However, there has been one major positive for the Sox this year, and that has been ace Chris Sale.
Sale is in line for some serious consideration for the American League Cy Young Award. After an excellent first year in the rotation for the White Sox, Sale has been even better in 2013. Sale is up against some stiff competition, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been one of the very best in the AL this year.
Sale’s WAR for the year, according to Fangraphs, is sitting at 4.6, fifth best in the American League. Again, some pretty stiff competition out there. When you compare his 2013 campaign to what he did in 2012, the numbers are even more impressive. He’s boasting a higher strikeout rate and a lower walk rate.
For the year, Sale has a 3.08 ERA. His xFIP for the year, which helps to take fielding out of the equation and adjusts the home run rate, is at 2.96. That’s an excellent figure, and is third best among those top five candidates. Sale has 214 strikeouts on the year, also good for third in the American League.
Not to mention the fact that he’s only walked 44 hitters for the season, a total which is second best in the American League, only three behind Felix Hernandez, who has only walked 41 on the year. Sale might not lead the American League for the most part, but he’s dynamite in virtually every category.
Of course, when you have a 20-game winner in Max Scherzer, it’s going to be tough to knock him off as the Cy Young winner in the American League. It’s probably as simple as that. Don’t let that detract from what Sale has managed to do this year. He’s been one of the best pitchers on the planet, and has done with an absolutely atrocious White Sox club behind him. He deserves serious consideration as a no. 2 or 3 candidate behind Scherzer.