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Where Does 2024 Rank For This Former Ace?

We are a quarter of the way through the 2024 MLB season. The term “small sample size” is being used less to make up for players’ shortcomings. It is a tough pill to swallow but some superstars are falling short of expectations i.e. Francisco Lindor, Corbin Carroll, Jackson Holliday; the list goes on. With every player having a down season thoughthere are players exceeding expectations.  So is it time to start calling Chris Sale an ace again?

Where Does 2024 Rank For This Former Ace?

There were mixed emotions when it was announced that Chris Sale was headed to the Atlanta Braves this offseason. The Boston Red Sox sent the former all-star and Cy Young candidate to the Braves for cash considerations and infield prospect, Vaughn GrissomWhile many Boston fans were sad to see a member of their 2018 World Series championship team and former ace leave, most were glad to be rid of the injury-prone LHP.  On the flip side, Braves fans felt like they were getting a dead arm and losing a homegrown prospect in Vaughn. Regardless of how fans feel about players, MLB is a business and this was a business move.  This was a low-risk/high reward for the Braves.  There was no room for Vaughn to play and progress and the Red Sox were going to pay the Braves to take Sale.


Braves Magic

Enter Alex Anthopoulos, Braves General Manager. The work that is being done in Atlanta is nothing short of magic.  The superstars are locked up on this team for years to come. The veterans always end up back to form. The resurgence of Marcell Ozuna and the trades that brought over Matt Olson and Sean Murphy should be credited to the Braves administration as well. So far this season Chris Sale is pitching like it is 2017. But how accurate is that statement?  Just how good has Chris Sale been this season compared to the rest of his career? Has Chris Sale returned to ace form?

For argument’s sake, we are only looking at 2012 through 2024.  Sale pitched out of the bullpen for the White Sox in 2010 and 2011 and recorded no starts.  Despite being a menace out of the pen we are only looking at the first eight games started in each season.  Sale also did not play in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season and only registered two starts in 2022.

Where Does 2024 Rank in Chris Sale’s Career So Far?

Through Sale’s first eight starts he ranks second in the National League in wins (6) and is in the top five in WHIP (0.89) and batting average (.198.) So how does this type of start stack up to his All-Star seasons? Through eight games Chris Sales’ six wins this year are second to his 2016 season where he won his first eight games.  Despite having a top-ten ERA (2.54) in the National League, Sale has posted a lower ERA four other times.  These were the same four seasons that Sale also had a lower WHIP.



What Braves fans should be excited about is Sale’s strike-out numbers. Sale has 61 through eight games, third to only 2017 and 2018, which was prime Sale. Based on these stats Sale’s season is within a few points of this being a top-four start for him and the Braves.  2017, 2018, and 2019 were all-star caliber years with votes for a Cy Young award.  It is safe to say that Chris Sale has reemerged as an ace. If Sale stays healthy expect his name to come up at the end of the season for award voting.



Main Photo Credits: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports





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