Right now, we’re hedging our bets on Chris Sale, projecting that 29% of his innings come in relief. We have him throwing 129 IP with a 3.60 ERA, 9 wins and 15 holds. In this role he generates an impressive 9.8 K/9 with his 94.5 mph fastball. This line give him $9.30 of fantasy value making him our 72nd ranked pitcher.
But what if you don’t think Sale will make the rotation?
We give Sale 64 IP as a set-up man, Steamer forecasts a 3.34 ERA, a superb 10.5 K/9 and a fastball averaging 95 mph. Unfortunately, even with a handful of saves this line only provides $3.00 of fantasy value, making him roughly the 112th best pitcher available.
And if we let him face 850 batters over 30 starts and 200 innings? His strikeout rate falls to 9.5 K/9 and his ERA ticks up a bit to 3.74. He also wins 13 games, however, and throws his fastball at 94.3 mph. This makes him a $15.60 player, 22nd in our pitcher rankings.
Of course, Steamer doesn’t know how well his fastball will hold up over a full season and doesn’t know about his excellent changeup. But, based on what it does know, Steamer is bullish on Mr. Sale.