Today the Chicago White Sox purchased the contract of LHP Chris Sale from
Triple-A Charlotte, with Sale due to join up with the big club in
Chris Sale was the first round pick of the Sox in the 2010 draft, he was selected at #13 overall and signed on June 20 for a reported $1.656m, which is the recommended slot bonus for the 13th pick. Baseball America ranked him as the #2 college pitcher in the draft class and #5 overall prospect.
Many were surprised that Sale signed as quickly as he did, and for as little money as he did, but the deal could work out great for both parties. From the White Sox’ perspective, they save a little money in the short run, and they are prevented form having to break MLB’s slotting recommendations (which, for some reason unbeknown to me, is oh so important to them). On the other side of things, Chris Sale gets to start his professional career quickly, reaching the Majors in double quick time and getting him that much closer to arbitration (and the real money).
After signing, Chris Sale was sent to High-A Winston-Salem to pitch out of the bullpen. He made 4 appearances with the Dash, throwing 4 innings, allowing 1 ER (2.25 ERA), walking 2 batters and striking out 4. In mid July he was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte where he pitched 6.1 IP in 7 appearances. In those 6.1 IP Sale struck out a ridiculous 15 batters while walking 4 and giving up 2 home runs. Overall for his stint in the minors Sale posted a 2.61 ERA, with a 1.16 WHIP and 16.55 K/9.
Chris Sale’s ascent to the Majors isn’t quite record setting though, as Jim Callis points out, 2003 Reds first-rounder Ryan Wagner made his first appearance for Cincinnati on July 19, 2003, but it is extremely impressive nonetheless.
It is unknown what role Sale will occupy out of the bullpen, but a Scott Merkin Tweet indicates that he could be in for some high leverage situations. Whatever the role Chris Sale finds himself in may be, I’m sure his combination of plus stuff and plus command, which you can read more about here, will stand him in good stead.