Tag:Chris Sale
Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Which top prospects could impact majors in 2011?

By Evan Brunell

CBSSports.com's Top 100 prospect list is out, casting light on players that will eventually become household names. But until that happens, these prospects need to tap into their potential and prove they can hack it at the big league level.

Below is a list of top prospects that could make an impact on the majors in 2011. Before getting into the list, "impact" is defined as those who are projected to break camp with the team and play an important role with the club. Others, such as Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, Brandon Belt, all will have an impact once the hit the majors -- but that's likely to come in the summer months, and are listed at the end of the article.

BrownNo. 3. Domonic Brown, PHI
Age (all ages as of April 1, 2011): 23
Position: RF
Bats/Throws: L/L

Brown is battling for the starting right field job and although Ben Francisco is proving to be a stiffer challenger than thought, Brown will still get ample opportunites in the majors. There's some thought he could return to Triple-A, but he has nothing left to prove at that level and progression will only come with playing time in the bigs. Philly may have to swallow hard and deal with the growing pains, but the payoff will eventually be huge.

HellicksonNo. 6. Jeremy Hellickson, TB
Age: 23
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Hellickson could step in and replace Matt Garza without batting an eye, as the youngster is fully prepared to pitch in the cauldron that is the AL East. Hellickson will turn 24 on April 8, but already has 36 1/3 innings of major league experience under his belt. He walked just eight (plus two intentional) plus whiffing 33, which is an impressive debut but only underscores just how ready he is for prime time.

ChapmanNo. 9. Aroldis Chapman, CIN
Age: 23
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

Chapman won't be closing in Cincinnati, but will put pressure on Francisco Cordero as the setup man. We all saw what Chapman could do last season and he should continue to baffle hitters. The Reds considered making him a starter but opted to keep him in the bullpen which may unfortunately preclude a move to the rotation. It is difficult for teams justify moving young players that succeed in the 'pen back to the rotation.

DrabekNo. 16. Kyle Drabek, TOR
Age: 23
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Of all the names on this list, Drabek has the most tenuous hold on a roster spot but the team seems excited about his potential and wouldn't rule out a run at 200 innings. He shouldn't have too much trouble cracking the rotation and even if he starts in Triple-A, it won't be for long. One can't project Drabek to replace the man he was traded for (Roy Halladay), but he should eventually anchor the rotation.

FreemanNo. 19. Freddie Freeman, ATL
Age: 21
Position: 1B
Bats/Throws: L/R

As mentioned in the Top 100 list, Freeman lacks the ceiling of other first baseman such as No. 18's Brandon Belt, but is ready for the majors now and is locked in at first base. He figures to have a couple All-Star appearances in his future but not much beyond that. He should settle in as a valuable first baseman over his first six years, largely thanks to being under team control.

MinorNo. 29. Mike Minor, ATL
Age: 22
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/L

Minor doesn't have the ceiling of other top pitching prospects (similar to Freeman and first base), but he's also ready for the majors and was noticeably effective in the majors last season before he tired and lost velocity at the end of the season. If Minor can withstand the rigors of a full 162-game season, he should be an excellent No. 4-5 starter for the Braves, with the potential of more.

SaleNo. 33. Chris Sale, CHW
Age: 22
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

Sale is similar to Chapman in that he could start, but the White Sox have opted to keep Sale in the bullpen. He could vulture a few saves, but Matt Thornton is still expected to be the closer. That opens the door for Sale to play an important role in the late innings. He may be asked to switch to the rotation for 2012.

DominguezNo. 66. Matt Dominguez, FLA
Age: 21
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: R/R

Dominguez can't quite hit, but boy, he can sure pick it. Already compared to Mike Lowell at the tender age of 21, Dominguez is expected to open the year at third for the Marlins. It appears Florida understands Dominguez will be a non-factor on offense and is willing to take that risk. But why start the service clock of an impact player when he could use more seasoning? Dominguez will never be a great hitter, but an extra year in the minors could go a long way. Read more from Scott Miller.

ArencibiaNo. 71. J.P. Arencibia, TOR
Age: 25
Position: C
Bats/Throws: R/R

Arencibia had quite an introduction to Toronto, but quickly faded after inconsistent playing time. Now finally handed to the keys to the starting job, there appears to be no question that Arencibia can hit. Catching, however, is another matter. The Jays have a couple other catchers in the system that could supplant Arencibia before long, which would shift the 25-year-old to first base or DH.

KimbrelNo. 85. Craig Kimbrel, ATL
Age: 22
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Kimbrel is the favorite to open the year as closer, although he may share time with Jonny Venters. Kimbrel posted a ridiculous strikeout rate last year and could quickly rise up the ranks of top closers. Carlos Marmol has proven that walking a ton of batters is OK as a closer as long as you strike out players, bit still, Kimbrel could stand to improve in that area.

EspinosaNo. 86. Danny Espinosa, WAS
Age: 23
Position: 2B
Bats/Throws: S/R

A converted second baseman, Espinosa will start alongside Ian Desmond for the Nationals. He showed intriguing power in his 112-plate appearance look in 2010, but probably showed more power than he will produce over a longer season. The bright side? His .214 batting average was an anomaly. The jury is still out on just how good he can be at the major-league level and it appears likely he will eventually settle in as the top infield option off the bench, although he'll get every chance to prove he can be more.

McGeeNo. 95. Jake McGee, TB
Age: 24
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

McGee has to be considered the odds-on favorite to emerge as long-term closer of Tampa, but will start off setting up whoever wins the gig -- likely Kyle Farnsworth (cringe). McGee has excellent stuff and could have played well in the rotation, but the Rays moved him given his injury and durability issues. He's just as good a bet as Chapman, Sale and Kimbrel on this list to have a nice, long career as closer.

ON THE BUBBLE:
No. 4 Jesus Montero, NYY catcher... No. 8 Dustin Ackley, SEA second baseman... No. 14 Zack Britton, BAL starter... No. 18 Brandon Belt, SF first baseman/left fielder... No. 37 Kyle Gibson, MIN starter... No. 52 Simon Castro, SD starter... No. 57 Yonder Alonso, CIN first baseman/left fielder... No. 74 Chris Carter, OAK first baseman... No. 79 Hank Conger, LAA catcher... No. 82 Zach Stewart, TOR starter... No. 92 Jordan Walden, Angels reliever... No. 96 Brent Morel, CHW third baseman... No. 99 Jeremy Jeffress, KC reliever.

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Posted on: February 17, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Sale will spend 2011 in bullpen

Chris Sale Chris Sale will start the season in the bullpen, White Sox general manager Ken Williams said on Thursday.

"Chris Sale is going to be in the bullpen," Williams told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune 's Mark Gonzales . "This is very important because I had to explain this to my coaching staff as well: the reason we had Chris Sale as starter is because that's what he has done his whole life. So if you tell him to prepare differently, you might not see the guy you last saw in September.

"We want him to prepare as he did so we can expect the same guy to show up. That means using all of his pitchers and building him up as a starter. He has shown he can transfer that to a relief role."

There had been a belief that Sale could start the season as a starter until Jake Peavy is ready. Now, Phil Humber, Lucas Harrell, Jeff Gray and Charlie Leesman will compete for the temporary fifth starter's spot until Peavy's ready.

Peavy threw a bullpen session on Thursday and said it was "just what I expected, because I've been on the mound before. Just nice and easy. Nothing too much. Just a side session."

Sale was drafted last season out of Florida Gulf Coast University and debuted on Aug. 6 against the Orioles. He pitched in 21 games for the White Sox, going 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA and four saves in 23 1/3 innings pitch. He struck out 32 and walked 10.

Despite making the majors as a reliever and spending this season as a reliever, the White Sox still believe he'll be a starter long-term.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Peavy aiming to be ready for opening day

Jake Peavy White Sox starter Jake Peavy doesn't have his full arm strength back, but expects to be ready for opening day, he told reporters on a  conference call on Tuesday.

"I want to be ready for opening day," Peavy said (via the Chicago Tribune ). "That's me. I want to come to camp and be like the other guys and feel like I can do that."

Peavy suffered a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right arm last July and will undergo an MRI before Chicago's first workout for pitchers and catchers on Feb. 17.

If Peavy isn't ready when the season starts, the team may still use Chris Sale as a starter until Peavy returns. With the extra days off at the beginning of the season, Chicago won't need a fifth starter until April 6 at Kansas City.

What does his manager think?

"You better be ready for spring training, or I'm going to get fired," Guillen said on the  conference call.

"Tell him I'll be ready," Peavy said of Guillen's comment. " I certainly expect things to be smooth. I'm going to get ready and I want to be a guy that Ozzie and the rest of the staff knows I can be sooner rather than later. I can promise you that."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 1:17 am
 

White Sox wooing Garcia

Freddy Garcia Despite reports Freddy Garcia has turned down an offer to return to the White Sox, general manager Kenny Williams said that's not quite the case and the team would still like to bring the 34-year old back.

"I wouldn't describe it as a formal offer, and I wouldn't describe it as a formal rejection," Williams told Scott Merkin of MLB.com . "I had to check in, but I wanted them to know where we stood and how we've got X amount of dollars left."

The White Sox payroll is nearing $123 million, but still have a hole in the rotation -- at least for the first month or two of the season as the team waits for Jake Peavy to return from the rotation.

Garcia went 12-6 with a  4.64 ERA in 28 starts and made $1 million. It's unlikely the White Sox would offer much more than that for 2011. The team would probably ask him to move to the bullpen after Peavy returned to the rotation. He has one career appearance as a reliever, in 200 with the Mariners.

"He is one of my favorite competitors I've ever run across in athletic life," Williams said.

If the White Sox are talking to Garcia about filling the temporary starter role, it likely signals a return to the bullpen for last year's first-round pick, Chris Sale. The team had said it was considering using Sale in Peavy's spot, but also wanted to keep Sale in one role for the entire season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:16 pm
 

Peavy ahead of schedule in rehab

Jake Peavy White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper reports Jake Peavy is throwing off the mound in his recovery from right shoulder surgery, the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales writes.

"It's going well," Cooper told Gonzales. "He's feeling better about his command."

Peavy was originally not supposed to start throwing off the mound until spring training began next month, but he's ahead of schedule despite feeling some "normal stiffness and rustiness at times."

Peavy's status will dictate whether 2010 draft pick Chris Sale starts the season in the rotation or in the bullpen. Sale appeared in 21 games after being called up in August and struck out 32 in 23 1/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 21 appearances.

"Everybody's got to be ready," Cooper said of his relievers. "Let's face it. From the seventh inning on, everyone's got to be on their toes, not knowing who we're going to choose. I want them to be mentally acute."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:28 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 4:43 pm
 

Ozzie Guillen: Dunn to hit third

Dunn Ozzie Guillen held court Monday at the Winter Meetings, and revealed that he plans to hit slugger Adam Dunn third in the order.

"I want him to hit in the first inning," Guillen said of the lefty (pictured). Makes sense, as Dunn will generally either hit a home run or walk, which would extend the first inning. That would leave Paul Konerko in his customary cleanup spot.

How about at closer, where the White Sox no longer have Bobby Jenks after non-tendering him?

Either Matt Thornton or Chris Sale will close, so Guillen seems to want a lefty in the role. Sale is currently preparing to be a starter in the expectation that Jake Peavy won't be able to begin the season, so the job may fall to Thornton. That's not final, however as the team could bring back J.J. Putz to fill the role or opt for another player.

Guillen also had a quip (when doesn't he?) about Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126 million pact with the Nationals.

"I wish I was his agent. Or his wife," he said.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 22, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Sale tops White Sox prospects

Sale The White Sox are among the teams with the worst farm system, thanks to the owner forcing GM Kenny Williams to adhere to bonus slot recommendations from the Commissioner's Office despite no reason not to. Complicating matters is William's eagerness to contend every season, even if that means trading away solid prospects.

However, the ChiSox still have a couple intriguing pieces in the farm system, highlighted by Baseball America 's No. 1 prospect of the system in Chris Sale.

Sale (pictured) was plucked in the first round of the 2010 draft and pitched out of the bullpen down on the farm to get him ready for the majors. He was able to contribute to Chicago down the stretch drive, which tells you everything you need to know about how close Sale is to the majors.

With the season over, however, the White Sox are rightly returning Sale to his starting job. Sale draws comparisons to Randy Johnson given his stuff and overall build, but placing a Hall of Famer tag on someone who hasn't even put in a full year of legal drinking yet is a lot to ask. If Sale can stay healthy, he could emerge as an ace in Chicago. If he can't or has durability issues, the closer's job in his future.

Backing up Sale on the prospect lists are two third basemen in Brent Morel and Dayan Viciedo.

Morel is the player that figures to stick at the hot corner and could win the starting job at third in spring training although he will have to fend off Mark Teahen and Omar Vizquel. Morel's game isn't power, but rather hitting for a high average, although power could eventually develop.

Viciedo, meanwhile is a Cuban defector who has game-changing power but can't draw a walk to save his life. That's not quite an impediment to success (as Vladimir Guerrero can attest to) but it is a major stumbling block and it remains to be seen if "The Tank" can overcome that deficiency. While he has been a third baseman to date, many view his future at first or DH. If Paul Konerko does not return to the club, Viciedo could be the heir apparent at first.

The rest of the list:

1. Chris Sale, lhp
2. Brent Morel, 3b/ss
3. Dayan Viciedo, 1b/3b
4. Jared Mitchell, of
5. Eduardo Escobar, ss
6. Gregori Infante, rhp
7. Jacob Petricka, rhp
8. Brandon Short, of
9. Trayce Thompson, of
10. Anthony Carter, rhp

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 17, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Sale preparing to join White Sox rotation

Chris Sale Chris Sale went from Florida Gulf Coast University to the big leagues in the same season, coming up as a reliever for the White Sox in August after being drafted with the 13th overall pick in June's draft.

He's now looking at making the White Sox rotation next season.

"I feel strong enough to do this," Sale told the Chicago Tribune 's Mark Gonzales on Wednesday. "I shouldn't have to gain 30 pounds."

Gonzales writes that Sale has started a conditioning program to help his stamina and strengthen his legs. The left-hander is 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds, but says he doesn't want to feel like he has to put on much weight to start every dive days.

"I'm not going to get caught up on how big I can get," Sale said. "I want to make sure I'm in shape to start by the start of spring training."

Sale threw 103 innings in college in 2010 and 33 2/3 as a pro in the minors and majors last season.

The White Sox, though, aren't yet set on starting Sale next season.

"Whatever Kenny [Williams] wants to do, we'll do," pitching coach Don Cooper told the newspaper.

Jake Peavy isn't expected to begin the season in the rotation, but the White Sox already have Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd ready for 2011, and Sale could be the fifth member of the rotation.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com