There are a few reasons to be careful with Chris Sale. The number one reason of course is the new town, new catchers, new teammates etc. But there is more than just the obvious. Last year his strikeouts went down, 26% his lowest since 2012, his FIP went up considerably from 2.73 in 2015 to a glaring 3.46 last year. He also has been giving up more HR’s. His HR/9 was 1.1 last year with most other years it was around 0.8.
His ERA and WHIP were still very solid and his numbers overall were about the same but rumor is the White Sox were very willing to trade him and there might be an underlying reason for it.
His ERA last year was 3.34 now moving to the AL EAST and to Fenway we obviously would expect that to go up. In June, July and SEPT his ERA was above 3.93, in July alone it was 4.85. In all (3) of those months batters hit over .254. Hitters had an OPS of .714 at home vs Sale last year that is a glaring stat. For someone who is considered one of the best pitchers in the league these stats are quite alarming and if you consider being on a new team, new division and all that we could see some further regression. Sale will still be dominate vs lefty heavy lineups but when the lineup has plenty of righties he could be very vulnerable.
We will likely see plenty of -200 lines or higher when Sale is pitching and that will present value for us who like to bet dogs. Sale SO/9 was 9.3 last year the two years prior was 11.8 and 10.8. Buyer Beware?