Anarchy reigns in Major League Baseball. The players have all left their teams, owners have headed for the hills, and general managers have vanished.
You have suddenly become a decision-maker in baseball, and you find yourself as the general manager of one of the thirty MLB franchises (hopefully not the Cubs). Three MLB aces are willing to join your team, but you can only choose one. However, the only way to ensure a fair process is to keep these hurlers anonymous.
So, wanna’ play a game (Jigsaw voice)?
Contract: 7 years/$215 million (2014-2020), roughly $30.7 million a year.
Career statistics: 81-48, 2.63 ERA, and a 1.03 K/9
This season: 4-2, 43.1 IP, 3.32 ERA, 40 H, 16 ER, 55 K, and a .241 BAA
Contract: 5 years/$32.5 million (2013-2017) with a (2018-2019) team option, roughly $6.5 million a year.
Career statistics: 37-25, 2.85 ERA, and a 1.06 K/9
This season: 5-0, 45.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 19 H, 8 ER, 52 K, and a .126 BAA
Contract: 7 years/$175 million (2013-2019) with a 2020 team option, roughly $25 million a year.
Career statistics: 118-87, 3.17 ERA, and a .94 K/9
This season: 8-1, 91 IP, 2.57 ERA, 78 H, 26 ER, 91 K, and a .229 BAA
After carefully examining all three of the pitchers' credentials, you finally settle on Pitcher #2 as the best choice. Congratulations, you've decided to build your future pitching staff around left-hander Chris Sale.
Well, if Chris Sale was the best option of the group, the other two pitchers must not be that great, right? Wrong! Pitcher #1 goes by the name of Clayton Kershaw, and Pitcher #3 is known as “King Felix”.
Has Chris Sale actually surpassed two of the league's best in Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez? Yes, yes he has. The time has come; Chris Sale is now the best pitcher in baseball.
When judging a pitcher, or any baseball player in general, usually stats, contract details, and durability are of the most importance. Chris Sale is at the top of those lists when it comes to premier pitchers in today’s league.
While he doesn’t have as large a sample size as the other two - or a lot of other established aces - his numbers have “best in the league” written all over them. Playing for the White Sox means Chris hasn’t always gotten the necessary run support, hence his marginal win/loss percentage. However, for a 25-year-old kid, the ERA and strikeout totals aren’t too shabby. Not to mention he’s practically unhittable against lefties. Seriously - lefties are 0/32 against him this season.
You mean I can essentially have Clayton Kershaw’s numbers for 1/5 of the price? You’d have to reside in Ward C of Shutter Island if you’d say no to that. Chris’ contract is the kicker in this debate. An argument can go any which way when looking only at stats, but there’s just no denying the bang for the buck you get with taking Sale.
A lot of people have incorrectly given Sale an injury-prone label. Maybe it’s because it looks like his arm is going to eject from his lanky body every time he throws one of those bending sliders, but Chris has been far from frail. He has experienced soreness here and there like all pitchers, but this year was his first trip to the DL. He’s just been a mediocre 2-0 with 23 K, yielding three hits and one earned run over 18 innings since returning from the disabled list. I’d say he’s going to be just fine.
With baseball's best pitcher, you're currently on your way to building a sure-fire contender. Just make sure you stay away from any players last named De Aza - heard they stink.
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