Photo Credit: WEEI

When Chris Sale was acquired in a December 2016 trade with the White Sox, many knew of his on-the-field accolades. Sale was a perennial Cy Young candidate and a 5 time All-Star.

More impressively, Sale became the second American League pitcher in the last 20 years to strike out 300 in a season.

Despite Sale’s many contributions on the mound, it’s his reputation off the field that is just as important.

Former White Sox teammate Jose Quintana claimed that Sale was the best teammate he’s ever had, and has credited his fellow lefty with helping him to emerge from relative obscurity. Similarly, Eduardo Rodriguez praised Sale for his influence on helping him, especially during Rodriguez’ comeback from knee issues suffered early in the season.

Jay Groome was Boston’s first-round pick in the 2016 draft and has some of the best stuff of any pitcher in the upper-levels of the Red Sox Minor League system. The Sox prospect is supremely talented, but ended up slipping in the draft order due to some maturity questions.

In his first season as a pro, Groome faced numerous obstacles, including dealing with injuries late in the year. Numerically, he didn’t produce between Low A and High A, going 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA. Those ugly numbers are likely to be a bi-product of dealing with injuries and being a 19 year old pitcher.

Once the Red Sox season ended, Sale who makes an off-season home in Naples, invited the young left-handed pitcher to train with him.

The impact that Sale may have on Groome is unknown, but if he can help at all like he did with Quintana, and briefly with ERod then both the short-term as well as long-term futures of Groome, as well as the Red Sox are looking good.

Chris Sale is the pitcher that you would hope to have mentor a young pitcher and there is little doubt that his continual influence will pay dividends for the Red Sox.

Between Groome, Tanner Houck, and Alex Scherff, the Red Sox are beginning to re-stock the farm system.