1) Chris Sale, LHP (2010 Performance Scores– Dominance 80; Control 60; HRrate 29; Stamina 27)
We believed Chris Sale was the best college arm available in the 2010 draft. His 2010 College Performance score trailed only Texas A&M’s Barrett Loux. So we were as shocked as the White Sox likely were when he was still available at #13. The Sox fast-tracked Sale to the Big Leagues in a relief role, and he only continued to make favorable impressions once arriving—ending the season as the team’s best option at closer. Coming out of the bullpen allowed Sale to consistently throw his fastball in the mid-90s—a few ticks higher than he had worked as a starter. The relief work also allowed him to focus on his slider—the pitch that offered greatest concerns coming into the draft. What the bullpen did not allow him to do was showcase his plus-plus change—the pitch that is the main reason why we believe that he is ideally suited for a starting role.
At a slight 6’6”, we believe Sale could ‘beef-up’ and work in the mid-90s as a front of the rotation starter with a solid three-pitch repertoire. Unfortunately, word out of Chicago is that Sale is likely to once again find himself in the bullpen in 2011. This isn’t a two-pitch Neftali Feliz, that we advocated a bullpen role for. Therein lies the paradox with the White Sox decision to make a run at the Central division in 2011—as it likely means that Sale is the de facto closer vs. working on being a difference maker at the top of the rotation. Still just 21yo, the White Sox are unlikely to harm his development in any significant way, but this is a special arm that should be developed as such.
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