White Sox Draft Countdown: Top 10 picks from past 25 years (#7)
The second current Chicago White Sox player is next up on our list. To be honest, this was one of the toughest guys to rank for our top ten because he hasn’t necessarily been around the league that long. But, for the year’s he has been in the majors, it is safe to say that he’s already established himself as one of the top pitchers in the game.
Coming in at number seven…..
#7 Chris Sale: 2010 1st rd pick (13th overall)
It may be hard to imagine a guy with less than three years of major league experience cracking our top ten (let alone number seven), but Chris Sale is just that good. Drafted by Chicago in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, Sale quickly rose up the ranks in the White Sox organization after only one full year in the minor leagues. Sale played his college ball at Florida Gulf Coast University, and upon being drafted, he was immediately sent to Advanced A Winston-Salem—completely bypassing the first two levels in the system. In 11 games total between Winston-Salem and AAA Charlotte (all out of relief), he threw 10 1/3 innings of three-run ball. In a rare feat, he would actually make his big league debut only a few months after he was drafted (the first of his class to make the big leagues), as he was called up to pitch out of the bullpen September 1, 2010. He would go on to pitch in 21 games over the course of the remainder of the season–appearing in 21 games with a sub-two ERA. The following season, Sale made the White Sox Opening Day roster–once again as a reliever. Over the course of 58 games that season, Sale would throw 71 innings and boast an ERA of 2.79. His strikeout numbers were phenomenal, as the southpaw totaled 79 of them (10 K’s per nine innings). It was clear after his rookie year, that Sale was not being used to his full potential, so to no one’s surprise in the spring of 2012 he was named to the rotation. To say that the White Sox made the right call by making him a full-time starter is probably a huge understatement. Sale dazzled opposing hitters last season by finishing up with a 17-8 record, a 3.05 ERA and 192 strikeouts. He helped anchor a rejuvenated White Sox staff along with former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy and was also named to his first career all-star team. Sale’s stellar season also earned him some recognition with voters for the American League’s top pitching honor, as he finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting. Only four starting pitchers finished above the 23-year old in the voting: David Price, Justin Verlander, Jared Weaver and Felix Hernandez. That’s not too bad for a guy in his first season as a major league starter. This season, Sale has picked up right where he left off in 2012. Through nine starts, the lefty sits at 5-2 with a 2.53 earned run average. That 2.53 certainly looks good as we head into the month of June, but how about we look at it a little more closely. Sale had a rough 4 1/3 innings outing on April 13 against Cleveland in which he allowed eight earned runs. If you take away that start, he would be looking at an ERA of 1.51. Sale also has only walked 15 batters in 64 innings—a rate of only 2.1 BB/9. It is almost incredible to think about how much Chris Sale has already accomplished at such a young age. At 24 years young, the future is looking bright for a kid that was just finishing up college ball less than three years ago. He’s well on his way to another all-star appearance, and is under team control until 2019. It is safe to say that when Chicago let their best pitcher in almost twenty years–Mark Buehrle–walk away after the 2011 season that they envisioned Chris Sale to take the reins and become the staff’s ace. It appears that is exactly what he is doing–setting himself up for a long and successful career.
Tomorrow, we check in with the number six player on our list.
Top 10 White Sox draft picks from past 25 years
#10: Addison Reed
#9: James Baldwin
#8: Joe Crede
#7: Chris Sale
#1: THURSDAY (DRAFT DAY!)