Sale will begin at Class A Winston-Salem, where he will work out of the bullpen under the watchful eye of pitching coach Bobby Thigpen, quite possibly the greatest reliever in White Sox history. If Sale proves himself capable of handling the role, he will get promoted up the system’s ladder. The ultimate target is working behind Matt Thornton as another left-handed relief option, with general manager Ken Williams speaking highly of Sale’s polish and talent.
“He’s a left-handed pitcher with a plus arm and a power changeup,” Williams said. “Mark Buehrle has what we call, we grade on a 20 to 80 scale, and Buehrle has a 65 or 70 changeup when he throws good and so does John Danks. This guy starts his career with a 70 changeup, and sometimes plus. Right-handers are going to have to take notice of that. When he gets on top, he comes from a little different arm slot, so he’s going to have to work to stay on top of his breaking ball, and when he does, it’s a darn good, plus Major League pitch. What you worry about with young players is command. Well, he walked 14 guys in 100-plus innings and showed us that command to both sides of the plate. What you are developing in the Minor Leagues is that touch and feel for your fastball location and your secondary pitches and if he shows that he’s capable of doing that, certainly not on a starting basis, but if you look to him to begin his career as a reliever and then graduate into that starting role, as he gets more experience and a little more weight and strength.
“You can start to look at the rotation possibilities,” Williams said. ” But early on, if he can handle the relief role and show he’s ready, then you can look to put him into the equation sooner rather than later.” …
BTW, Sale signed his $1.6 million contract today.