Chris Sale still strikes fear into Major League Baseball’s batters.
That’s the conclusion of ESPN’s Buster Olney, who included the Boston Red Sox ace on his list of MLB’s top starting pitchers Thursday. Although Sale failed to crack Olney’s top-10, presumably because of the injury-plagued season he endured in 2019, the southpaw still is considered among the “best of the rest.”
“His body of work is so exceptional, he’s earned a mulligan for his struggles last year,” Olney wrote. “Sale has said he doesn’t have a tear in his elbow ligament, but keep in mind: Players aren’t required to disclose every piece of their medical information (nor should they be), and we aren’t required to believe exactly what they say. If he is, in fact, working his way back from a tear, then both Masahiro Tanaka and David Price have demonstrated that a bounce-back from that sort of injury is possible.”
After receiving clearance to begin throwing, Sale assured the Naples Daily News last month he’ll be ready to participate in Red Sox spring training.
His mission in 2020 will be to re-establish himself and the Red Sox as American League forces. Doing so will all but guarantee him a spot in Olney’s and others’ list of baseball’s top-10 pitchers.