- Full name Christopher Allen Sale
- Born 03/30/1989 in Lakeland, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'6" / Wt.: 183 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Florida Gulf Coast
- Debut 08/06/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (13th overall) by the Chicago White Sox in 2010 (signed for $1,656,000).
View Draft ReportAn unsigned 21st-round pick of the Rockies out of high school, Sale has developed well at Florida Gulf Coast and gives the program a first-round pick in its first year as a full Division I member. He was hardly good enough as a freshman to get any innings but survived in a relief role thanks to his changeup, which he has always been able to throw for strikes. His velocity jumped in the summer after his freshman season, when he lowered his arm angle to low three-quarters. The switch gave his fastball and change outstanding late life, and he started hitting 90-plus on radar guns. He shined in 2009 showdowns against supplemental first-rounders Rex Brothers and Kyle Heckathorn, then broke into the big time by earning No. 1 prospect status in the Cape Cod League last summer. As a junior, Sale consistently has delivered for scouts, leading the nation with 114 strikeouts while showing excellent fastball command (12 walks in 83 innings). Sale's changeup grades as plus like his fastball, and his slider is a solid-average pitch that's effective against lefthanded hitters. With his low slot, Sale can get on the side of all his pitches, especially his slider, at times leaving them up in the zone. Some scouts are concerned about his durability, due to both his frame (he lost five to seven pounds off his 6-foot-6, 180-pound listed frame due to a bout of food poisoning in May) and upside-down takeaway at the beginning of his arm stroke. But his arm is quick, and Sale repeats his mechanics, as evidenced by his command.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Sale not only became the first player from the 2010 draft to reach the big leagues, he also finished the season closing games for a contender. His quick rise couldn't have been forseen when he came out of Lakeland (Fla.) High. The Rockies selected him in the 21st round of the 2007 draft, but he failed to attract interest from Florida's college powers and wound up at Florida Gulf Coast, which started its program in 2003. He got off to a rough start, with an awful fall ball season where his only usable pitch was his changeup. He worked out of the bullpen as a freshman, then lowered his arm slot that summer and improved the velocity and life on his pitches. He exploded by ranking as the top talent in the summer Cape Cod League after his sophomore season, then went 11-0, 2.01 with 146 strikeouts in 103 innings last spring. Some clubs rated him as the best college pitching prospect in the 2010 draft, but teams also worried about his asking price, making him available to Chicago with the No. 13 overall pick. The White Sox signed Sale for the slot recommendation of $1.656 million--along with the promise that he'd get every opportunity to race through the minors. He made his big league debut on Aug. 6, faster than any draftee since the Reds' Ryan Wagner in 2003. Sale has the stuff and lanky build to be a facsimile of future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, throwing three plus pitches from a low three-quarters delivery. His fastball ranged from 90-95 mph with outstanding late life when he worked as a starter in college, and he averaged 96 mph out of the bullpen in the majors. He hit 100 mph three times in a game against the Royals. Chicago considered his changeup his best pitch when it drafted him--GM Ken Williams compares it to Mark Buehrle's--but he didn't use it much out of the bullpen. Sale used his slider more as a reliever, and it also played up, sitting in the high 80s and topping out at 90. That was important as his slider was questioned coming into the draft. His command is solid, though his arm angle leads to times when he doesn't stay on top of his pitches and leaves them up in the zone. Sale is unusually poised, capable of making adjustments and pitching out of trouble. Some scouts wonder how durable Sale will be because of his skinny frame, arm action and low slot. He has no history of arm problems, however. Despite his immediate bullpen impact, the White Sox plan to develop Sale as a starter. He'll get the chance to make their rotation out of spring training, though it's more realistic to expect him to open the season at Triple-A Charlotte. If he stays healthy, he has the stuff to be a frontline starter or a closer.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the American League in 2013
- Rated Best Slider in the American League in 2012
- Rated Best Changeup in the Chicago White Sox in 2011
- Rated Best Slider in the Chicago White Sox in 2011
- Rated Best Fastball in the Chicago White Sox in 2011