Christopher Allen Sale (born March 30, 1989) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Chicago White Sox, with whom he made his major league debut on August 6, 2010. As a power pitcher, Sale excels at achieving high numbers of strikeouts, and has set a number of strikeout-related records. He bats and throws left-handed, stands 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m), and weighs 180 pounds (82 kg).
A seven-time MLB All-Star from 2012 to 2018, Sale is a two-time American League (AL) leader in strikeouts, including in 2015 and 2017. As of 2017, he is MLB’s career leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.32), and reached 1,500 strikeouts in the second fewest innings pitched (1,290). After reaching 300 strikeouts in a single season for the first time in 2017, he was selected as the AL Sporting News Starting Pitcher of the Year. Although he has yet to win a Cy Young Award, in each of his All-Star seasons, he has placed in the top six.
A native of Lakeland, Florida, located within the Tampa Bay Area, Sale played college baseball for Florida Gulf Coast University. The Chicago White Sox selected him 13th overall in the 2010 amateur draft. He was a key member of the Red Sox pitching rotation that helped the team win the 2018 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Under contract with Boston through 2024, Sale underwent Tommy John surgery in late March 2020 and is expected to require 14 to 15 months for recovery and rehabilitation. Sale was born in Lakeland, Florida. He graduated from Lakeland Senior High School, where he played basketball and baseball. After his senior year for the Dreadnaughts, Sale was drafted in the 21st round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Colorado Rockies, but chose not to sign and instead attended Florida Gulf Coast University.
Sale played college baseball for the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles baseball team under head coach Dave Tollett. During the 2010 season at FGCU, Sale posted an 11–0 win–loss record and a 2.01 ERA over 17 games. Sale pitched 103 innings while recording 146 strikeouts and 14 walks. He led the NCAA in strikeouts at the end of the regular season. He was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year and the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. He is one of four Eagles to play in the major leagues, along with pitchers Jacob Barnes, Richard Bleier, and Casey Coleman.
Like many top college players, Sale spent the NCAA offseason pitching in wooden bat summer leagues. In 2008, he was an All-Star for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, and it was during his time in Wisconsin that coaches suggested he adopt his now distinctive low three-quarter arm angle. In the summer of 2009, Sale pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He had a record of 4–2 and an earned run average of 1.47 with Yarmouth-Dennis, with 57 strikeouts as well. Sale was named the MVP of the East Division squad in the Cape Cod All-Star Game, and received the league’s Outstanding Pitcher award. Sale was drafted by the White Sox with the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Once Sale signed with the White Sox in 2010, he was assigned to the White Sox’ Class A affiliate Winston-Salem Dash. Sale pitched in four games for the Dash with a 2.25 ERA in four innings. Sale gave up three hits and one earned run while walking two and striking out four during his tenure with the Dash. Sale was then promoted to the White Sox’ triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights. While there, Sale pitched in seven games for the Knights with a 2.84 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. Sale gave up three hits and two earned runs while walking four and striking out 15 while with the Knights. Sale relies on four pitches — a fastball at 93–100 mph, a changeup at 85–89 mph, a sinker at 90-94 mph, and a slider at 77–84 mph. The slider, which carries a career whiff rate of 43%, is Sale’s most common 2-strike pitch to hitters from both sides of the plate.
Sale throws with a “funky” sidearm throwing motion. He is nicknamed “The Condor” because his unorthodox delivery makes him resemble a California condor. His moniker was first coined on SB Nation’s South Side Sox site on April 17, 2012.