I’m going to keep my ‘cheat week’ short and simple, especially because I knew immediately who I was going to highlight. For my surprise player of April I’m going to stick with the big club and go with the best player of the month: Chris Sale. Sale has simply been incredible through 6 starts, and his metrics (per FanGraphs, as of 5/5/17) are as impressive as the eye test:
I’ve only been exposed to advanced metrics in baseball for a short time, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of analysis to see that these numbers are ridiculous. It's also worth noting that he is averaging exactly as many strikeouts per inning as he is averaging earned runs against per game, 1.38. It doesn't really mean anything, but still interesting. Also notice that his BABIP is only slightly below league average. Even if that trends upward he should still be putting up solid numbers. Even though it’s a small sample, the typical Chris Sale start has looked as such:
7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 10K, 1 BB
The only blemish so far has been his record. This is an obvious issue with run support, which of course is out of his hands. To many his performance may not be a huge surprise. We knew we were getting a talented pitcher. We knew what he was capable of. We knew he was just a little crazy.
But there is no day like Chris Sale Day. His performance admittedly isn’t all that surprising, but the way he has captivated an entire fan base has been nothing short of (dare I say it?) Pedro-esque. He has a long way to go before he reaches Pedro status of course, but he's off to one heck of a start. How long until Sunday?