- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 6", Weight 172 lb.
- School Florida Gulf Coast University
- High School Lakeland High School
- Debut August 6, 2010
Chris Sale was a first-round draft pick in the 2010 amateur draft and reached the majors almost immediately.
Out of high school in Florida, Sale was picked in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies but he opted for college. He was 2-0 with two saves and a 3.47 ERA as a freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University, fanning 46 in 36 1/3 innings. As a sophomore, Chris had a 7-4, 2.72 record and set 104 batters down on strikes in 89 1/3 innings. He finished second in the Atlantic Sun Conference in ERA (.18 behind Chad Jenkins), was second in strikeouts and tied for second in wins (one behind Jenkins). He made All-Conference.
Chris really improved his stock with a superb showing in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2009. He was 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA with a league-best 57 whiffs in 55 innings. He allowed just 37 hits and 9 walks. He was third in the loop in ERA, .05 behind #2 Kyle Blair. He was named the league's Outstanding Pitcher. Baseball America rated him the best prospect in the league, right ahead of Zack Cox and Alex Wimmers.
As a junior, Sale was named Pitcher of the Year in the A-Sun, going 11-0 with two saves, a 2.01 ERA ERA and 146 K with only 14 walks, tops in NCAA Division I in strikeouts at the end of the regular season. Collegiate Baseball named him a first-team All-American as well as their Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. Prior pitchers to take that award were Greg Swindell, Andy Benes, Ben McDonald, Bobby Jones, Lloyd Peever, Kris Benson, Kip Bouknight, Mark Prior, Jered Weaver, Wes Roemer, David Price and Stephen Strasburg.
Chris was taken by the Chicago White Sox with the 13th selection of the 2010 amateur draft. He made his pro debut on July 2nd for the Winston-Salem Dash, with one shutout inning of relief. On August 4, the White Sox brought him to the major leagues with barely 10 professional innings of experience. He had struck out 19 in 10 1/3 innings for the Dash and Charlotte Knights, though he had walked six. He became the second Florida Gulf Coast player to make the majors, doing so just four days after Casey Coleman was the first.
In his major league debut, Sale relieved John Danks with a 1-1 tie in the 8th against the Baltimore Orioles. He walked Brian Roberts on four pitches, then gave up a Nick Markakis single before leaving in favor of Tony Pena. He was the first player form the 2010 draft to reach the major leagues. He pitched 21 games with the Sox that year, with an excellent 1.93 ERA, a 2-1 record and 4 saves, and only 15 hits allowed in 23 1/3 innings, against 32 strikeouts; his performance comforted the Pale Hose that they had made the right decision in rushing him to the Show. He continued to pitch well in 2011, spending the entire season in the Sox's bullpen, where he went 2-2, 2.79 in 58 games. Mainly working as a set-up man for closer Sergio Santos, he still collected 8 saves and continued to display superior stuff, striking out 79 against 52 hits and 27 walks in 71 innings.
Even though Santos was traded before the 2012 season, opening the closer's job, Chicago had different plans for Sale. In the winter, they announced that he would be moved to the starting rotation for the next season. To prepare, he was worked on improving his change-up, which he had barely needed until then. he did spend the first month of the year as a starter, and the results were quite good, as he went 3-1, 2.81 in 5 starts. However, on May 4th, manager Robin Ventura made a complete turn-around, saying Sale would be the team's new closer. he explained that it was not because of dissatisfaction with the job done by Hector Santiago in the role since the start of the season, but in order to preserve Sale's health, as the pitcher had chronic soreness and tightness in his elbow. Indeed, a week later, he was sent to undergo an MRI on the elbow, but it came out clean, and then the Sox reversed themselves, deciding to make him a starter again. He had only pitched one game as closer, blowing the save. On May 28th, he demonstrated why he was such a hot prospect as a starter, as he came within one strikeout of the White Sox franchise record in beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1; he struck out 15 in 7 1/3 innings in picking up his sixth win, one fewer than the total Jack Harshman had achieved on July 25, 1954. It was the highest strikeout total ever achieved at Tropicana Field, however. He was named the American League's Pitcher of the Month for May, with a record of 4-1, 1.71. His teammate Jake Peavy had won the honor in April. In his next start on June 3rd, he pitched his first career complete game in defeating the Seattle Mariners, 4 - 2. He was selected as a member of the American League squad at the 2012 All-Star Game and two days later, on July 3rd, earned his 10th win of the year in a 19-2 demolition of the Texas Rangers. In the All-Star Game, he relieved Jered Weaver with a 8-0 deficit in the 6th. He retired Rafael Furcal then gave up back-to-back singles to Chipper Jones and Andrew McCutchen but recovered to get Jay Bruce on a fly and got David Freese swinging. Ryan Cook replaced him on the mound in the 7th. He earned his 15th win of the year with another gem on August 22nd, beating the New York Yankees, 2-1. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up just one run while fanning 13 to improve to 15-4 on the year. He finished the year at 17-8, 3.05 with 192 strikeouts in exactly as many innings. He was among the 2012 AL leaders in ERA (4th, after David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver), wins (tied for 4th with Verlander), WHIP (1.14, 5th, between Price and CC Sabathia), strikeouts per 9 IP (4th after Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish and Verlander) and strikeouts (9th, between Matt Moore and Jake Peavy). He finished 6th in voting for the 2012 American League Cy Young Award.
In spring training of 2013, Sale signed a five-year contract extension with the White Sox for $32 million, with an option for the next two seasons as well. On May 12, 2013, Sale recorded his first career shutout with a 3-0 one-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He took a perfect game into the 7th inning before Mike Trout singled with one out, and needed only 98 pitches to complete the gem, striking out 7 opponents in the process. It was the third major league one-hitter in three days, following similar efforts by Jon Lester and Shelby Miller on May 10th, interspersed with a two-hitter thrown by Adam Wainwright on May 11th. He lost two potential wins in June because of poor defensive play by his teammates: on June 14th, he struck out 14 Houston Astros batters in a complete game effort, but lost, 2-1, on two unearned runs both resulting from errors by SS Alexei Ramirez. June 25th was even more frustrating: Addison Reed was one out away from saving a 4-3 win over the New York Mets, when he induced Daniel Murphy to hit a routine pop-up in front of the mound. 3B Conor Gillaspie was camped under it, but 2B Gordon Beckham rushed in from his position, tripped on Reed's foot, fell down and bowled over Gillaspie in the process, allowing the ball to fall to the ground and David Wright to score the tying run all the way from second base. The lack of support meant that Sale was only 6-8 at the All-Star break, in spite of a 2.85 ERA. American League manager Jim Leyland was able to look past the won/loss record and see how well Chris had actually pitched, and selected him for the 2013 All-Star Game. In the game on July 16th, he succeeded Scherzer on the mound in the 2nd inning and proceeded to retire all six batters he faced (Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Yadier Molina, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper); the AL scored its first run in the bottom of the 3rd and he got credit for the 3-0 win. He was in fact the only American League pitcher to go more than one inning and his dominating performance could well have earned him the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, except that it went to Mariano Rivera in appreciation of his outstanding career on top of pitching a perfect inning in the contest. He continued to get poor support after the break and finished 11-14 despite a 3.07 ERA; he fanned 226 in 214 1/3 IP. He finished among the AL leaders in ERA (7th, between Félix Hernández and James Shields), WHIP (3rd, 1.07, behind Scherzer and Hisashi Iwakuma), innings (tied for 5th with Scherzer), whiffs (3rd behind Darvish and Scherzer), complete games (4, tied for first with Price), K/BB ratio (4.91, 2nd to Price), losses (tied for third with teammate John Danks, Phil Hughes and Joe Blanton), hit batsmen (tied with Ivan Nova for 4th with 14) and ERA+ (140, 5th, between Bartolo Colon and Iwakuma).
Sale started the 2014 season red hot, winning his first three starts, and then giving up a single run in 7 innings in a no-decision in the fourth. He was 3-0, 2.30 when he went on the disabled list on April 18th with a muscle strain in his pitching arm. He missed over a month of action, but was sharp in a minor league rehabilitation start, then in his return on May 22nd, he was brilliant against the Yankees. In 6 innings of work, he retired 18 of the 19 men he faced, the only exception being Zoilo Almonte's two-out single in the 6th. His bullpen gave up a couple of 9th-inning runs, but the Sox held on for a 3-2 win. On June 1t, he did not need any help as he tossed a complete game two-hitter in defeating the San Diego Padres, 4-1. He walked nobody and struck out 9 in another vintage dominant performance. Thus in site of the trime missed, he was named to the AL All-Star squad for the third straight year. He continued to dominate opposing hitters in the second half and on September 11th, he pitched 8 shutout innings in defeating the Oakland A's, 1-0. That performance lowered his season's ERA to 1.99 to go along with a 12-3 record.
He arrived in spring training on crutches in 2015, the victim of what he described as a freak accident at home which resulted in a broken bone in his right foot. As he explained it, he was unloading stuff from the back of his truck, then jumped off and landed awkwardly, causing the injury. As a result, he was not able to be the White Sox's starter on Opening Day. He did not miss too much time, as his first start came on April 12th, and he was as sharp as ever, as he gave up one earned run in 6 innings on his way to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. He had the worst start of his career against those same Twins on April 30th, however, giving up 9 runs in just 3 innings in a 12-2 loss, his first of the season. It was a different story on June 8th, as he was facing the Houston Astros on the day vaunted prospect Carlos Correa was making his major league debut for Houston; Correa had a nice day, collecting a hit and a RBI, but it was Sale who truly shined, striking out 14 batters in 8 innings in picking up a 3-1 win. That day, he became the first pitcher in White Sox history to fan 10 or more batters in four straight games. On June 19th, he recorded 14 strikeouts in 8 scoreless innings before David Robertson blew a 1-0 lead in the 9th, turning his gem into a 2-1 loss to the Texas Rangers. However, he set another mark that day, becoming only the third pitcher in major league history to record 12 or more strikeouts in 5 consecutive starts, joining Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. He was also the first White Sox pitcher to strike out 14 while walking none. On June 30th, he struck out 12 batters in 8 innings, giving up only one run to the St. Louis Cardinals to tie a record set by Martinez in 1999 with 10 consecutive games of 10 or more strikeouts. He also collected his first career hit and scored a run in the game, but it was the only one the Sox scored in regulation time, as he left with the game tied, 1-1. The White Sox eventually won, 2-1, in 11 innings. Over the 10 starts, he was 5-3, 1.78 with 115 Ks and only 12 walks. His 75 strikeouts in June set a new club record and was the most by any pitcher since Nolan Ryan had struck out 87 in June of 1977; in fact, he was only the fourth pitcher to collect that many strikeouts in a month, after Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Sam McDowell. Not surprisingly, he was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for June; he went only 2-2, but his strikeout numbers and 1.83 ERA were tokens of his dominance. On August 16th, he matched his career high with 15 strikeouts in 7 scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the crosstown Chicago Cubs. When he recorded his 270th strikeout of the year on October 2nd, he broke the White Sox team record of 269 set by Hall of Famer Ed Walsh in 1908; he ended the year with 274 Ks, leading the AL, and a 13-11 record with a 3.41 ERA.
Sale began the 2016 season red hot, as he won his first four starts, becoming the first four-game winner in the majors with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 20th. In that game, he gave up only a pair of singled to Mike Trout in 7 innings, before leading off the 8th by plunking Kole Calhoun; he was removed from the game but an error by 3B Todd Frazier led to Calhoun scoring an unearned run. He made it five win in five starts by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, 10-1, on April 26t, and then six with a 7-1 win over the [2016 Orioles|Orioles]] on May 1st. On May 13th, he made it 8 wins in 8 starts with a 7-1 defeat of the New York Yankees. Jon Garland had been the last White Sox pitcher to win his first 8 starts, in 2005. He made it 9 wins in 9 starts with a complete game 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on May 19th. He was the first major leaguer since Brandon Webb in 2008 to start off with 9 wins in 9 starts. With the White Sox, the last had been Eddie Cicotte, who had started the 1919 season with wins in his first 12 starts. While his streak of winning starts ended there, he continued to win, as on June 21st, a 3-1 win over the Red Sox made him the first 12-game winner in the majors. On July 23rd, in a bizarre incident, he was kept from making a scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers for what GM Rick Hahn described as a "clubhouse incident"; he had apparently been upset about the team's choice to wear throwback uniforms from the 1970s, including the infamous dark blue long-collared jersey and destroyed these with scissors before the game in a radical sartorial criticism. Matt Albers took his place on the mound, and the Sox wore their 1980s jerseys instead. He was handed a five-game suspension by the team for "violating team rules, insubordination and destroying team equipment." The strange incident came at a time when something equally puzzling was happening: trade rumors were swirling around Sale, something that would have been unthinkable even a few weeks earlier given his history of strong performance and his very team-friendly contract. Sale explained himself a few days later, stating that the White Sox had "put business over winning", by forcing players to wear uncomfortable jerseys and called out manager Robin Ventura for not sticking up for his players by overruling the decision to wear these uniforms. Chris's father explained separately that the jerseys' fit hampered his son's pitching mechanics. Commentators were quick to take the pitcher's side in the controversy, explaining that your ace pitcher's desires should be abided in such a matter and that the White Sox had shot themselves in the foot over a "silly controversy". He was the starting pitcher for the American League in the 2016 All-Star Game, played at Petco Park. On August 20th, he recorded his first win in 49 days when he defeated the Oakland A's, 6-2, pitching 8 scoreless innings. When he recorded his 200th strikeout on September 11th, he became the first pitcher in White Sox history with four consecutive such seasons; he also topped 200 innings for the third time in that game. He finished the season at 17-10, 3.34 with 233 strikeouts in 226 2/3 innings.
The trade that was rumored during the 2016 season finally happened at the winter meetings on December 6th. He was sent to the Boston Red Sox in return for four prospects: Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech. He had an excellent debut for the Red Sox on April 5, 2017 as he pitched 7 scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, never letting a runner advance past first base, but he was not involved in the decision as Boston won the game in 12 innings. After another excellent start resulting in a no-decision, he won his first game as a member of the Red Sox on April 15th when he defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, giving up one run in 7 innings and striking out 12. On May 13th, he struck out 12 in a 6-3 win over the Rays, giving him a seventh straight start with double-digit strikeouts. That brought him within one game of the team record of 8 games, set by Pedro Martinez on two occasions. He tied that mark on May 19th when he fanned 10 Oakland A's batters in a game that was lost in extra innings after he had completed his night's work. However, he only struck out 6 in his next start, on May 24th, to end the streak, but he still was credited with a 9-4 win over the Texas Rangers. On June 10th, he defeated Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers, 11-3, for his seventh straight winning decision. Not only was he named to the All-Star team for the sixth straight year, but he was also named the AL's starting pitcher for the second straight. On August 29th, in the course of defeating the Blue Jays, 3-0, for his AL-leading 15th win, he recorded strikeout #1,500 of his career when he punched out Kevin Pillar in the 2nd inning. He was the first pitcher ever to reach the mark in less than 1,300 innings, doing so in 1,290 innings. Kerry Wood previously held the record, having needed 1,303 innings, and Stephen Strasburg bettered the mark in 2019, needing just 1,272 1/3 innings. On September 20th, another brilliant performance, in which he struck out 13 batters and walked none in 8 innings while combining with Austin Maddox on a 9-0 shutout of the Baltimore Orioles, made him the second pitcher in Red Sox history, after Pedro Martinez, to record 300 strikeouts in a season. Pedro had in fact been the last AL pitcher to reach the mark when he had set a team record with 313 Ks back in 1999, and with two starts left in the season, Chris had a chance to exceed that total. He finished the season at 17-8, 2.90 with 308 strikeouts, shy of Pedro's record, and 214 1/3 innings. Both the innings pitched and strikeouts were major league-leading totals, but his innings pitched were the fewest ever by the major league leader over a full season. He made his postseason debut that season, starting and losing Game 1 of the Division Series against the Houston Astros on October 5th, when he gave up 7 runs over 5 innings. He was used again in Game 4, with the Sox facing elimination, this time in relief. Rick Porcello had pitched the first three innings and was not sharp, allowing 2 runs, and with Houston ahead 2-1, manager John Farrell rolled the dice, sending Sale to pitch the 4th. After 3 scoreless innings, during which opposing manager A.J. Hinch tried a similar tactic by also bringing his ace, Justin Verlander, in relief, he managed to strand a couple of runners in the 7th with the score now tied at 2. In the 8th however, he gave up a lead-off homer to Alex Bregman and then a one-out single to Evan Gattis before giving way to Craig Kimbrel. Cameron Maybin, pinch-running for Gattis, eventually came in to score and Sale was charged with the 5-4 loss.
Sale was the AL Pitcher of the Month in June 2018 as he went 3-2 with 60 strikeouts and a 1.76 ERA. He was selected to start the All-Star Game for the third straight year, joining Lefty Gomez and Robin Roberts as the only pitchers to have such an honor. He repeated as Pitcher of the Month in July, after posting an ERA of 0.36 with 43 strikeouts, although he finished the month with a stint on the disabled list due to an inflamed shoulder. He missed exactly a month of action, returning on September 11th when he pitched just one inning in a start against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox had made it clear that they would build his arm strength back gradually, in order for him to be ready for the postseason, as the team had a huge lead in the standings and did not need him to overexert himself for the time being. In all, he made 27 starts and pitched 158 innings, his lowest total since he had become a starter, and went 12-4, 2.11. He started and won Game 1 of the Division Series against the New York Yankees, and also pitched an inning in relief in the cinching Game 4, working as a set-up man for closer Craig Kimbrel. Following a start that lasted just 4 innings in Game 1 of the ALCS, he was hospitalized overnight with a stomach ailment on October 14th. That forced him to push back his next start, but when David Price won Game 5 to clinch the pennant, he was able to wait until Game 1 of the World Series to make his return to the mound. He later explained that the ailment had resulted from irritation caused by a belly-button ring, although this was clearly a joke pulled on journalists. The Red Sox were so dominant that he did not need to make a second start in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but manager Alex Cora used to clinch the final win, in Game 5 on October 28th, as he struck out the side in order in the 9th in relief of Price and Joe Kelly to nail down a 5-1 win.
On March 22, 2019, he signed a five-year extension with the Red Sox, worth $145 million in five years. It came on the heels of similar deals for other top stars like Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Blake Snell, and was clearly part of a wider trend around baseball. However, the Red Sox soon experienced buyer's remorse as Sale struggled badly out of the gate. Starting on opening day against the Seattle Mariners on March 28th, he gave 3 home runs and 3 homers in just 3 innings, and things did not improve as he lost his first four starts, allowing 17 runs in his first 18 innings. Ironically, in his only good outing, on April 2nd against the Oakland Athletics, he gave up only a solo homer to Matt Chapman in 6 innings, but the Sox were unable to score a single run and he was saddled with a 1-0 loss. His velocity was down and his breaking pitches seemed to all hang over the plate. After going 0-5, 6.30 in 6 starts in March and April, he finally flashed his old form on May 3rd while facing his old team, the White Sox. He pitched six scoreless innings, striking out 10 batters, to win for the first time that season, 6-1. In his next start, on May 8th against the Baltimore Orioles, he pitched an immaculate inning in the 7th, striking out the side on 9 pitches and allowed just 1 run in 8 innings while racking up 14 strikeouts, although he had to be content with a no-decision. On May 14th, he set a new personal best with 17 strikeouts in 7 innings against the Colorado Rockies but again ended up with a no-decision as Brandon Workman blew a 3-2 lead in the 8th. Colorado's batters racked up 24 strikeouts in 11 innings that evening, but still came out on top, 5-4. On June 5th, however, he did it all by himself as he blanked the Kansas City Royals 8-0 in a three-hitter in what was his 300th career appearance. He did not allow a runner past first base, did not walk anyone and struck out 12. He pitched another immaculate inning in the 8th - his second in less than a month. Lefty Grove was the only other pitcher to have done it twice in a season, back in 1928. For all that, it was just his second victory of the season. On July 19th, he pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays to earn his first win at Fenway Park in over a year, the last one having come the previous season on July 11th. He had been winless in 14 regular season starts at home in the interim. On August 8th, he reached the 200-strikeout mark for the 7th straight season, becoming just the 5th pitcher to do so. In his next start, on August 13th, he became the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts, needing just 1,626 innings, 75 fewer than previous record holder Pedro Martinez. However, this was also his last outing of the season, as on August 17th, the Sox placed him on the injured list with inflammation in his elbow, then announced two days later that he was being shut down for six weeks. He was 6-11, 4.40 in 25 starts, the worst season of his career by any measure.
He got some more bad news when spring training started in 2020, as he had to undergo an MRI exam on March 3rd after experiencing elbow soreness following his first batting practice session. While he was not prescribed Tommy John surgery, he was shut down for a week, with the hope that the pain would disappear. However, that did not work and on March 19th, he was prescribed the surgery, wiping out his season.
- 7-time AL All-Star (2012-2018)
- AL Innings Pitched Leader (2017)
- 3-time AL Strikeouts Leader (2015 & 2017)
- 2-time AL Complete Games Leader (2013 & 2016)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (2012, 2016 & 2017)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (2013 & 2015-2017)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 7 (2013-2019)
- 300 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2017)
- Won one World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018
- Ted Berg: "The White Sox suspended Chris Sale over MLB's silliest controversy", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, July 25, 2016. 
- Ian Browne: "Say it again, Sale: Ace is in Boston to win: Red Sox's big offseason acquisition has never made the postseason", mlb.com, February 15, 2017. 
- Scott Merkin: Sale suspended five days by White Sox: Left-hander penalized for 'violating team rules, insubordination, destroying team equipment'", mlb.com, July 24, 2016. 
- Phil Rogers: "Sale announcing his presence with authority in 2016: White Sox lefty is making a run at winning his first Cy Young Award", mlb.com, April 27, 2016.