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Saturday, February 28, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: CHRIS SALE FRACTURED FOOT THREATENS OPENING DAY

Oft-injured Chicago White Sox ace SP Chris Sale suffered a fractured left foot in a home accident Friday that officially will have him missing three weeks of spring training.  The missed preparation time threatens Sale's availability for the start of the season as he will essentially have to start over again in ramping up his conditioning.  No stranger to injury, Sale has been a guy whose appeal centers on him perennially being a top five starting pitcher in fantasy baseball, one who combines one of the stingiest hit rates in the game to go along with immense 220-plus strikeout ability.  Over the last three seasons as a member of the White Sox rotation, Sale has compiled the following monster numbers while seemingly fighting through at least one injury per year:

2012:  17-8 3.05 ERA 1.14 WHIP 192 K/192 IP
2013:  11-14 3.07 ERA 1.07 WHIP 226 K/214.1 IP
2014:  12-4 2.17 ERA 0.97 WHIP 208 K/174 IP

Looking at the numbers, it is easy to see why Sale is deserving of praise as a slam dunk fantasy baseball power ace starter and a guy who is right there in the conversation of the next four guys in the pecking order behind Clayton Kershaw.  The strikeout rate is ridiculous at times and the stuff beyond potent.  The problem of course are the injuries as Sale has dealt with ongoing shoulder/elbow trouble over that three-year span.  In fact there was once talk of moving Sale to closer in order to lessen the strain on his shoulder/elbow.  The move was held off however and Sale proceeded to toss only 174 frames in 2014 due to some DL time. 

Heading into 2015, Sale once again was a boom or bust kind of guy along the lines of Troy Tulowitzki or Jose Reyes due to his immense ability but also very high injury risk.  This time around it was his foot and not his arm which was nice but still is a situation that now threatens Sale's Opening Day and possible early April.  Consider the fact that after three weeks it will be around March 21 which gives Sale only two weeks to get himself ready to go for Opening Day.  Not going to happen.  Figure on Sale missing the first week or two as he ramps up his workload in extended spring training.  The White Sox want to go places this season after a massive overhaul this past winter and they won't do anything to jeopardize their aces health. 

As far as how this impact's Sale 2015 fantasy baseball value?  Push him down past the top ten as a result.  Sale figures to miss 2-3 starts and that doesn't even factor into the threat of more shoulder/elbow trouble flaring up during the next 5-plus months.  We love the arm but not the body.

 

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