Chris Sale comes into spring training as a starter for the first time since being drafted in 2010. Sale has seen success out of the bullpen over the last 2 seasons, earning a 2.58 ERA over 94.1 IP. This season he hopes to carry that success into the rotation.
His goal for 2012 is to work 200 innings saying, “It’s not a matter of whether I think I can. I want to.” Clearly, as is typically the case, Sales velocity will drop as he prepares to start. With an average fastball velocity of 95 MPH his average velocity should drop to the 92-93 MPH which is a bit above average for a southpaw. The question is how will that velocity drop affect his deception, which as manager Robin Ventura points out is key to Sale, “That’s a bad matchup for lefties,”
The other question is how will he strengthen his stamina. In order to prepare for the heightened workload the lefty took to swimming in the offseason to work on endurance. Also, it is something he will work on during spring which Ventura spoke about, “Obviously the velocity is there, and now he has to build up the strength.”
Much has also been made of the violent motion and arm angle which Sale throw with, which Don Cooper and Kenny Williams have insisted since day one should be a issue.
On watching the lefty pitch this week in spring training Ventura noted, “He looks great. He looks like he’s throwing nice and easy and free.