Doug Laumann and Co. didn’t surprise by drafting a college pitcher, but it wasn’t supposed to be Chris Sale.
Not that that’s a bad thing.
Baseball America called Sale, a lefty out of Florida Gulf Coast University, the fourth-best prospect in the draft, originally slotting him to go to the Kansas City Royals with the corresponding pick. But the Royals drafted shortstop Christian Colon instead, and that knocked Sale down a few pegs. The teams looking for college pitchers opted for guys with more traditional deliveries.
So the Sox opted for Sale and his unusual three-quarter arm slot, and that suited Laumann just fine:
“We’ve talked in previous conversations about the unpredictability of this draft in particular, but yeah, I was surprised,” said Laumann of the team’s ability to select Sale. “We had this guy targeted to a certain degree, but a lot of projections had him going ahead of us. We are very happy to get him in this position.” […] “In terms of coming into focus of a shot to get him, that didn’t come together until sometime today,” Laumann said.
The skinny on Sale
I chose that word on purpose, as Sale is 6’6″, 175ish pounds, having lost five pounds recently after a bout with food poisoning.
As a junior at FGCU this season, Sale went 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA over 15 starts, holding opponents to a .218 average and striking out 146 batters to just 14 walks over 103 innings. And that followed up a terrific summer at the Cape Code League, as Baseball America named him the best prospect there.
He throws a fastball that sits at 90-92 with sink, scouts like his changeup just as much, and his slider has some promise, at least against lefties.
So what’s the reason for concern? The arm slot. You can see his delivery in this video. It’s unique, and looks a little scary due to his slight frame, and when considering that a three-quarter arm slot isn’t usually a starter’s technique, it made a lot of teams pass on him.
But he hasn’t had any health concerns, and when you think about it, he doesn’t have much of a different look or repertoire from Clayton Richard. And he’s got a few years on Richard when it comes to full-time pitching experience.
Last year, the Sox drafted a guy who referred to himself as “very, very signable.” Jared Mitchell wasn’t lying — he was the first first-round pick to sign by a large, large margin.
There’s no such billing with Sale (ANOTHER ONE! BOOM!). He’s saying the right things, but leaving the door open for some hardball:
“I hope I can sign soon,” Sale said. “I’m ready to play. No one is getting better working out a deal but we’ll see.”
If he does sign, you can probably consider him the fourth- to sixth-best prospect in the White Sox system, and it gives the Sox another starting southpaw in a system that’s short on them, especially since Charles Leesman hasn’t impressed. It’s basically David Holmberg and little else.
The last time the Sox drafted a lefty, Aaron Poreda started his White Sox minor-league journey in Great Falls, but Laumann suggested that Sale will start in Kannapolis.
The White Sox are for sale, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Combining his various tweets:
Heard this from multiple executives: The White Sox have made it clear they are open for business, and ready to trade off parts from what has been a very disappointing team. The perception of other teams is that Paul Konerko is available right now, and as we know, Chicago GM Ken Williams is a deal-maker,someone who will move quickly — as he did with the Contreras and Thome deals last fall.
Some rival executives find these to be the most interesting White Sox, in possible trades:Thornton, who they assume is probably unobtainable; and Andruw Jones, a cheap power hitter ($500,000 base) in a year in which teams are starved for offense. Some teams like Konerko but shudder at taking on $8 m still owed for this year; Peavy considered by some flat-out untradeable.
This should come as no surprise, but I’m fine with the Sox moving Thornton if somebody knocks them over. He’s in his 30s, and next year is the last year of his contract. I love watching him go to work, but you can’t get anything unless you give up something.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Carlos Torres should be the last man in the bullpen, sayeth Larry.
*We’re nearing 100 years since the opening of Comiskey Park, and here are some cool clips from the Chicago Tribune covering the Baseball Palace’s grand opening.
*Oral Sox has a new podcast up.
*What are the odds that the White Sox draft Ozney Guillen?
Minor league roundup:
- Lehigh Valley 1, Charlotte 0
- Tyler Flowers went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. The Knights only had three hits total.
- Brent Morel went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Jordan Danks went 0-for-3 with a walk.
- Dayan Viciedo struck out twice during a hitless four at-bats.
- Clevelan Santeliz threw two scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out two.
- Birmingham 5, Mobile 1
- C.J. Retherford went 2-for-5 with a solo shot and two strikeouts.
- Christian Marrero went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Anthony Carter struck out five of the six batters he faced.
- Myrtle Beach 4, Winston-Salem 3
- Brandon Short went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
- Jon Gilmore doubled and struck out twice over five at-bats. He also committed error No. 18.
- A better outing for Nathan Jones: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
- Savannah 4, Kannapolis 3 (Game 1, 11 innings)
- Brady Shoemaker went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBI.
- Miguel Gonzalez and Kyle Colligan combined to go 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.
- Nick Ciolli singled three times and struck out twice.
- Savannah 7, Kannapolis 1 (Game 2, 7 innings)
- Shoermaker went 1-for-2 with a walk, continuing his fine night.
- Colligan continued to struggle, going 0-for-3 with another strikeout.
- Justin Collop allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk over five innings, striking out three.
- Jimmy Ballinger allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in an inning of work.