“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”


 
2016-PRESENT
#14   CRAIG KIMBREL

Chris Sale (born March 30, 1989), was selected 13th overall in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago White Sox and made his MLB debut with them in 2010. He is a six-time MLB All-Star, and he led the American League in strikeouts in 2015. Sale was born in LakelandFlorida. He graduated from Lakeland Senior High School. After his senior year for the Dreadnaughts, Sale was drafted in the 21st round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Colorado Rockies, but chose not to sign and instead attended Florida Gulf Coast University.

Sale played college baseball for the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles baseball team under head coach Dave Tollett. During the 2010 season at FGCU, Sale posted an 11–0 win–loss record and a 2.01 ERA over 17 games. Sale pitched 103 innings while recording 146 strikeouts and 14 walks. He led the NCAA in strikeouts at the end of the regular season. He was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year and the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year

In 2008, he was an All-Star for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, and it was during his time in Wisconsin that coaches suggested he adopt his now distinctive low three-quarter arm angle. In the summer of 2009, he pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He had a record of 4–2 and an earned run average of 1.47 with Yarmouth-Dennis, with 57 strikeouts as well. He was awarded the MVP in the Cape Cod All-Star Game.

Sale was drafted by the White Sox with the 13th overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft. Once Sale signed with the White Sox in 2010, he was assigned to the White Sox' Class A affiliate Winston-Salem Dash. He pitched in four games for the Dash with a 2.25 ERA in four innings. He gave up three hits and one earned run while walking two and striking out 4 during his tenure with the Dash. He was then promoted to the White Sox triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights. While there, he pitched in seven games for the Knights with a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings. He gave up three hits and two earned runs while walking four and striking out 15 while with the Knights.

Sale was called up to the majors for the first time on August 4, 2010, and made his MLB debut August 6, 2010, against the Baltimore Orioles in the 8th inning. He was the first 2010 draft pick to be promoted to the majors. He got his first major league save on September 1, 2010, against the Cleveland Indians. In 21 appearances in his rookie year, he went 2–1 with a 1.93 ERA, 32 strikeouts, and 4 saves.

On December 6, 2016, the White Sox traded Sale to the Boston Red Sox for Yoan MoncadaMichael KopechLuis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. 

Sale began the 2017 season by striking out 10 or more batters in eight consecutive starts, tying the major league record shared by Sale and Pedro Martínez. After going 11–4 with a 2.75 ERA and an MLB leading 178 strikeouts in the first half of 2017, he was named the American League's starting pitcher at the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season, the first pitcher to do so since Randy Johnson started for the National League in 2000 and 2001 and the first for the AL since Dave Stieb in 1983–84.

In his second start after the All-Star break, Sale joined Johnson, Martínez and Nolan Ryan as the only four pitchers to have struck out 200 batters in their first 20 starts of a season. Pitching against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 29th, he recorded his 1,500th career strikeout, becoming the fastest to do so in terms of innings pitched. He reached 300 strikeouts for the season when he struck out 13 batters on September 20th. It was the first 300 strikeout season since Clayton Kershaw in 2015, and the first in the American League since Martínez in 1999. In 32 starts of 2017, Sale finished with a 17-8 record, a 2.90 ERA, and an MLB-leading 308 strikeouts.

On May 5, 2018, facing the Texas Rangers, Kimbrel recorded his 300th career save. He achieved this milestone in fewer games (494), fewer save opportunities (330), and at a younger age (29) than any other pitcher. On July 8th, Kimbrel recorded his 27th save of the season, and was named to the MLB All-Star Game. Shortly after midnight on October 24th, Kimbrel retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning of the first game of the 2018 World Series Los Angeles Dodgers.