The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery early last year, keeping him sidelined for all of the 2020 season and most of the 2021 campaign.
He was able to return to game action down the stretch of the 2021 season, and the results weren’t bad, but there was certainly room for improvement.
The hope is that he’ll look like his vintage self in 2022.
That would be huge for Boston, as Sale is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball when he’s at his best.
Chris Sale, Devastating 80mph Slider…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/dhySzpdxOU
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 13, 2019
Let’s take a look back at some of his top seasons so far.
There are plenty of good ones to choose from.
3. Sale’s 2014 Season With Chicago White Sox
Before Sale was a member of the Red Sox, he was a star for the Chicago White Sox.
He spent seven seasons with Chicago before being traded to Boston.
Of those seven seasons, his 2014 campaign stands out as an elite one.
Across 26 starts in 2014, Sale posted a 2.17 ERA, 2.57 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP.
He also registered an ERA+ of 173, which was the best mark in the league in 2014.
For reference, a 173 ERA+ is 73 percent better than league average.
The seven-time All-Star fanned 208 batters in 174 innings of work along the way, giving him a league-best K/9 of 10.8.
He finished third in the Cy Young race when all was said and done.
2. Sale’s 2018 Season With Red Sox
Sale will probably never forget his 2018 campaign.
Sure, it was a fantastic individual season for him, but it became unforgettable when the Red Sox claimed the World Series title.
It was the first championship of Sale’s MLB career.
Boston probably wouldn’t have gotten the job done without him, as he was a massive part of the team’s success.
In the regular season, the southpaw maintained an impressive 2.11 ERA over 27 starts.
He also pitched to a 1.98 FIP, 0.86 WHIP, and 2019 ERA+, all of which are ridiculous marks.
But he didn’t stop there.
He also made a big impact in the playoffs, and he capped off his stellar year by recording the final out of the World Series.
One last time before we crown a new champion…
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 22, 2019
After the season ended, Sale’s name popped up on a handful of awards ballots.
He finished fourth in the AL Cy Young race and 22nd in the AL MVP race.
1. Sale’s 2017 Season With Red Sox
While Sale missed a few outings due to injury in both of his other seasons on this list, that wasn’t the case in 2017.
He was able to make 32 outings in 2017, and the results were incredible.
For starters, he struck out 308 batters.
Only 19 pitchers have fanned 300 batters in a single season in the modern era.
Unsurprisingly, Sale’s 300 strikeouts led the AL in 2017, and his K/9 of 12.9 was also a league-best.
He pitched to a 2.90 ERA, 2.45 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP throughout the season.
He was named an All-Star and earned some lofty finishes in the awards races.
The superstar landed in second place in AL Cy Young voting and ninth in AL MVP voting.