As usual, there were plenty of last second rumors and shocks in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but when the dust settled the White Sox snatched left-handed pitcher Chris Sale from Florida Gulf Coast.
As expected the Sox stayed the college route. Sale marks the ninth straight college player selected by the Sox with their first pick. The Southsiders haven't taken a high schooler with their first pick since RHP Kris Honel from Chicago area Providence Catholic High School in 2001.
The 21 year-old junior went 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA, 146 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 103 innings. He allowed 83 hits (.218 baa). Florida Gulf Coast plays in the Atlantic Sun so Sale's competition isn't
top tier, but he put up terrific numbers regardless. FGC was in their first season as a D1 program so Sale's selection is a huge feather in their cap.
Jeff Buchanan's college pitchers preview said this about him:
A 6'6" lefty, Sox fans may think Aaron Poreda, but his change up separates him from the 2007 first-round pick. Sale should be able to succeed against right-handers and remain a starter due to his change and has a quality curve.
As a sophomore Sale struck out 104 against 27 walks in 89.1 innings and had a 2.72 ERA. Last summer he pitched in the Cape Cod League and had a dominant 57:9 strikeout to walk ratio in 55 innings with a 1.47 ERA. Any questions about his competition can be answered with his excellent showing in the Cape.
Andy Seiler has his profile of Sale up on his website:
After pitching fairly well in the bullpen as a freshman,
he graduated to the rotation as a sophomore, having gained a few ticks
on his fastball between the two years. The success he had as a sophomore
was carried over on to the Cape, where he was the best pitching
prospect in the league, vaulting him to likely first round status. With a
second dominating year in the rotation, he's cemented himself as one of
the top pitchers available, and he has upside as a number two starter.
His fastball is a plus pitch that generally sits 91-94, touching 96, and
he commands it with plus precision. He gets a lot of life on it due to
his three-quarters release point, and it's one of the best left-handed
fastballs in this class. His best secondary pitch is a plus changeup
with excellent depth and fade, and it's a Major League-ready pitch. His
third pitch is an average slider that isn't commanded nearly as well,
and there are concerns about his inability to spin a breaking ball.
However, with his track record of success and the attrition of other
pitchers in this class, he is a likely top ten pick, where he should
sign in the neighborhood of slot money.
Baseball America's scouting report (as well as reports for the rest of the round) is available here for subscribers. The highlight: "Sale's changeup grades as plus like his fastball, and his slider is a
solid-average pitch that's effective against lefthanded hitters." BA ranked Sale as their No. 4 prospect entering the draft.
Right now Sale looks like a top 5 prospect in the system. You could argue top 2. This pick shows that the Sox have indeed shifted their draft philosophy. If Beckham and Mitchell weren't enough to show the Sox are going after high upside/talent picks, Sale should confirm it.
If you want to play amateur scout, see his MLB.com video.
Tomorrow the draft resumes at 11 am CST with rounds 2-30. Stay with FutureSox for more frantic draft action while we get into the meat of the draft. The White Sox have pick 63 to kick off their day in the second round.