Chris Sale is a tall, lanky left-handed pitcher from Florida Gulf Coast University. Sale came to Florida Gulf Coast from Lakeland High School in Lakeland, Florida, the school that fellow Draft Notebook prospects Yordy Cabrera and Eric Arce attend as high school players this year. Sale was a solid prospect with big projectability in high school, but his current stuff was rather short, and the Rockies justifiably took him in the twenty-first round of the 2007 draft. He didn’t sign, and he headed to a small school that has since transitioned to Division 1 status. 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
explanation of MLBBB’s rating system, 1B2 for Sale, inside
13. Chris Sale – White Sox. Another talent that arguably should’ve gone in the top ten. He’s the owner of a couple of my favorite draft-day stats: Only one walk against a lefty all year, and an identical 31/5 groundball/flyball out ratio against lefties in both 2009 and 2010. You have to make some allowances for his level of competition at FGCU, but after his performance in the Cape last summer, there’s no doubt he’s an elite guy.
Sale gets an 1B2 rating from MLBBB:
My Seiler Rating system is designed to give a quick snapshot about a player without knowing a lot about them. It’s broken down into three sections, and it goes like this:
The first digit is a snapshot of the round range I expect a player to go in. A 1 is a player expected to go in rounds 1-3, 2 is rounds 4-6, 3 is rounds 7-10, 4 is rounds 11-15, and 5 is rounds 16-25.
The second piece is a letter that gives a player’s ceiling. An A is a superstar position player or true number one starter/elite closer. A B is an occasional all star/above-average position player or number two starter/above-average closer. A C is a solid-average starting position player or a number three/four starter/setup man. A D is a potential bench player or fifth starter/swing man/middle reliever.
The third piece is a digit that tells you the likelihood of a player reaching their ceiling. A 10% chance is just changed to a 1, 20% to a 2, etc. I’m very conservative with this part of the grade, because there are a ton of variables that go into reaching a ceiling, and it’s harder to reach a ceiling the higher you go up in your ceiling.