The Chicago White Sox selected left-handed pitcher Chris Sale (SAIL) of Florida Gulf Coast University with their first-round pick (13th overall) in tonight’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Sale, a 21-year-old junior, went 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA (23 ER/103.0 IP), 14 walks and 146 strikeouts in 17 games (15 starts) with the Eagles in 2010. He leads all Division I pitchers in strikeouts, ranks fifth in wins and 10th in ERA.
“Chris is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the country,” said Doug Laumann, White Sox director of amateur scouting. “He pitched in a smaller conference but had outstanding numbers and showed very well against high-level competition. We believe Chris is not real far away from contributing at the big-league level.”
The 6-foot-6, 185-pounder was named the 2010 National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation’s best amateur player.
Sale was listed by Baseball America as the No. 4 overall prospect in the draft behind catcher Bryce Harper, left-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon and infielder Manny Machado. He also was ranked by the same publication as possessing the Best Command among draft-eligible college players, and as the Second-Closest to the Majors.
Sale was named by Baseball America as the No. 1 Prospect in the 2009 Cape Cod League after going 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA (9 ER/55.0 IP) and 57 strikeouts for Yarmouth-Dennis.
The Sox have taken a player from the collegiate ranks in the first round in each of the last eight drafts.
Sale joins outfielder Jared Mitchell (2009, 23rd overall), infielder Gordon Beckham (2008, 8th) and pitchers Aaron Poreda (2007, 25th) and Kyle McCulloch (2006, 30th) as the Sox last five first-round picks. Sale was recommended by White Sox scouts Jose Ortega and Nick Hostetler.