White Sox Draft Countdown: Top 10 picks from past 25 years (#2)

We’re down to two names on our countdown, and the next guy on the list has been one of the game’s top pitchers in the past 13 years.  The anchor of the White Sox rotation for over a decade, our #2 certainly earned his due over the years in the Windy City.  It is hard to believe that 1138 players were taken over him in the 1998 draft, as he turned out to be one of the biggest steals in MLB history.

Coming in at #2….

#2 Mark Buehrle: 1998 38th rd pick (1139th overall)

Mark Buehrle was drafted by the White Sox in the 38th round of the 1998 draft out of Jefferson College (MO).  Despite being picked so low in the draft, Buehrle skyrocketed his way up the system by making his MLB debut on July 16, 2000.  He would pitch mainly out of the bullpen during his rookie season, as he only made three starts.  Buehrle compiled a record of 4-1 that season with a 4.21 ERA.  The following year, Buehrle would lead the White Sox with 16 wins on the season.  The lefty also compiled a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts, which was good enough for fourth in the American League.  He also recorded a stretch of 24 1/3 innings without allowing a run, which was the longest streak by a White Sox pitcher since 1967.  Buehrle would make his first all-star appearance in 2002, as he once again led 127410426_display_imageChicago in wins (19) and ERA (3.58).  No one had more wins in a W’hite Sox uniform than Buehrle during the 2000s, as he definitely solidified himself as the team’s ace for most of the decade.  Over the next nine seasons, Buehrle would record double-digit wins in each year, totaling 122 victories, and an average ERA of 3.91.  He would rank in the top ten in the league in ERA on four different occasions (2004, 2005, 2007).  Buehrle would also finish top ten in wins three times in that stretch (2004, 2005, 2008), and he’d show off his defensive ability by winning a Gold Glove in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  Only seven pitchers recorded more wins than Buehrle in the first decade of the new millennium, and few could boast the consistency that he brought to the table.  The staff’s ace also stepped up big when his team needed him most.  During the 2005 playoff run that saw Chicago win their first World Championship since 1917, he compiled a 2-0 record in 23 1/3 innings of work.  That same season, he was named to his third all-star game, and he was chosen to start for the American League after Roy Halladay was scratched with an injury.  Buehrle was also selected for the all-star roster in 2004 and 2009—totaling four career selections.  One of the finest moments of his career came on April 18, 2007, as he threw a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers.  It marked the first time in U.S. Cellular Field history that a n0-no had been thrown in that park.  He bested the no-hitter two seasons later, on July 23, 2009, as he tossed the eighteenth perfect game in MLB history against Tampa Bay.  Buehrle joined an exclusive list of five other hurlers who threw a perfect game and a no-hitter that included hall of famers Cy Young and Sandy Koufax.  Future hall of famers Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay have also completed this feat.  Buehrle also took the ball for the White Sox in a franchise record eight games, and he also is the only pitcher to ever throw multiple no-hitters and win multiple Gold Gloves.  Upon entering free agency following the 2011 season, Buehrle would not re-sign with the team that drafted him.  Instead, he inked a four-year $58 million deal with the Miami Marlins.  In 12 seasons with Chicago, he recorded 161 wins–which is the sixth highest total in franchise history.  He also notched 1396 strikeouts for the Southsiders, good enough for fourth all-time in White Sox history.  In his first and only year as a Marlin, Buehrle finished 13-13 with an ERA of 3.74.  He then was traded to the Tornoto Blue Jays that winter in a blockbuster twelve player deal.  At the age of 34, Buehrle is currently on pace to have his worst season of his career.  Right now, he only has a record of 2-4 with a 5.42 ERA in 12 starts.  Although Mark Buehrle is no longer a member of the White Sox, his legacy will never leave U.S. Cellular.  His Chicago resume of 160+ wins, two no-hitters, three Gold Gloves, four all-star appearances and a World Series title marks one of the best the franchise has ever seen.  If one were to assemble a starting rotation with the pool consisting of every White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle would certainly be a part of it.

Only one name remains on our countdown….and he will be revealed later this afternoon.

Top 10 White Sox draft picks from past 25 years

#10: Addison Reed

#9: James Baldwin

#8: Joe Crede

#7: Chris Sale

#6: Aaron Rowand

#5: Mike Cameron

#4: Ray Durham

#3: Robin Ventura

#2: Mark Buehrle

#1: TODAY (DRAFT DAY!)

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