The Red Sox made a big trade and acquired ace pitcher Chris Sale in a five-player trade. What can we expect from him in the American League East?
The Boston Red Sox made what could be the biggest offseason trade in a while. They seemed to have come out of nowhere and traded for ace starting pitcher Chris Sale. While he remains in the American League, the move to the East could raise an eyebrow. How much does the trade impact his fantasy value?
To start off, Sale is still in my top five among starting pitchers. No matter where he went, and the Chicago White Sox were adamant about trading him, he is still a dominant pitcher. The things that could change are his win totals and ratio stats.
Sale has five straight All-Star game appearances. He finished in the top five for AL Cy Young voting in four straight years. Can he continue that success with the Red Sox in 2017?
Sale had another great season with the White Sox. In 32 starts, a career high, he posted a 3.34 ERA, 1.037 WHIP and 17-10 record. His K/9 dropped by 2.5 strikeouts, 11.8 to 9.3, while his BB/9 remained at 1.8.
The Red Sox now have a dangerous 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Sale and David Price. Backing them will be Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz and Clay Buchholz. I do think one of them get traded before Opening Day.
Sale has had some success in pitching against the other four AL East teams. Throughout his career, he has pitched in 39 games, 25 of them were starts. He has a combined 14-9 record with 2.60 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 214:58 K:BB ratio.
Now, he will be pitching against those teams on a more frequent basis. The Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays ranked first, fourth and sixth in home runs, respectively. Expect the New York Yankees to be up there next season with the rise of their younger talent.
The Washington Nationals were the likely frontrunners in acquiring Sale over the last couple of days. I would have liked him even more if we went to the National League, especially the NL East. Facing pitchers two times per game would have greatly helped his ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.
Not to forget, but the White Sox got some good pieces in return. They received prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz. Moncada is the biggest name here. He was previously ranked as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball.
In 45 games with Double-A Portland last season, Moncada hit 11 home runs, 28 RBI and .277. He also stole 45 between Double and High-A. Pairing him with Tim Anderson makes them a nice duo in the middle infield.
Kopech has a lot of upside. He pitched a 2.25 ERA, 1.038 WHIP and 14.2 K/9 in 11 High-A starts. He’s reached triple digits on multiple occasions and has a mid-90s slider to offset batters waiting for the fastball. Unfortunately, it’ll be another season before we see him on a big league mound.
The White Sox may not be done making moves. Chicago GM Rick Hahn is reportedly open to trading anyone with fewer than four years of service time, which is all of their star players.
Sale shipping up to Boston isn’t going to shake up the rankings, but it does benefit everyone around him. He’s still a top-five starting pitcher on Draft Day.