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Old 04-17-2014, 10:32 AM  
Sure-Oz Sure-Oz is offline
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Passan highlights Royals passing on Chris Sale

Seems like he starts with the Royals and drives it home at the end with them, other teams passed his ass too when he was labeled a 'reliever'.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-whi...045421128.html

How White Sox's Chris Sale went from anomaly to ace
By Jeff Passan


Quote:
When it came time to talk about the tall, skinny kid who threw like nobody else, the debate wasn't much of a debate at all. The Kansas City Royals held the fourth pick in the 2010 draft. The top three picks were gimmes: Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado. Where they would go at No. 4 they weren't sure. They just knew it wouldn't be the tall, skinny kid.

Everyone in their draft room, recalled people privy to the conversation, agreed: Chris Sale was a relief pitcher. They loved what he did at Florida Gulf Coast, where he enfeebled batter after batter. They appreciated how hard he threw, the action on his changeup and slider, everything about him. They just weren't taking a reliever with the fourth pick in the draft. That would be like picking a utilityman.

The greatest beauty of Sale, who may well be the best left-handed pitcher alive not named Clayton Kershaw, is the very thing that frightened off the Royals and the eight teams that followed them: that he is a complete anomaly, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound pipe cleaner with an 82-inch wingspan, a delivery that looks wrong bordering on painful and a way of combining the two to make hitters look perpetually foolish. Now in his fifth big league season – yes, it's been that long – he is one of baseball's unquestioned aces, a high-inning, high-strikeout, high-groundball, low-walk, homer-scarce, left-handed monster. His success is an ode to the cooperation of scouts and major league personnel, and an organization that bucked conventional thinking to rely on its own wisdom.

Sale is baseball's worst nightmare: the player with no comps. Scouts like to give their bosses comparable players, if only to give a general outline as to who he resembles. Sale's closest comp may be Randy Johnson, who's only the biggest freak baseball ever has seen. Nobody else fits Sale's mixture of body, sidearm action and mean stuff. And so in the days leading up to the 2010 draft, his name came up in another room, as an answer to the question: "Who can help this team win now?"

Kenny Williams, now the Chicago White Sox’s president and then their general manager, wanted help for what ended up an ill-fated playoff push. Someone pulled up video of Sale, though the White Sox, picking at No. 13, didn’t expect him to drop to them. Only the Royals skipped past him, as did others because of the body or arm action or maybe both. Kids named Barret Loux (Arizona) and Karsten Whitson (San Diego) and Deck McGuire (Toronto) went ahead of Sale. He is the classic draft second-guess, every team jealous that Chicago guessed right.

The White Sox's front office and evaluators used slow-motion video of Sale's delivery to assess different potential danger areas: where his arm sat at foot strike, how well he cleared it, where it was upon landing. That allayed fears. Pitching coach Don Cooper, respected across the sport for his historically healthy rotations, broke down the same video of Sale and gave his seal of approval. As long as the White Sox could get Sale on board with their shoulder-intensive exercise program – and he has proven among the team's most diligent with maintenance work – they believed his arm would hold up despite not looking the part.

"Given the upside and the impact he could have," said Rick Hahn, now the White Sox's GM, "it was a risk we were willing to take."

And one, it turns out, well worth taking. After debuting as a reliever for the last two months of 2010 and sticking in the role the next season, Sale has spent 2012-13 as a starter, made a pair of All-Star teams, received Cy Young votes, averaged more than a strikeout an inning over 406 1/3 frames and left hitters more confused than anyone.

The scary part: Only now is he truly unleashing his full arsenal. In an effort to save his arm from excessive wear and tear, Sale is throwing far more changeups than he has at any point in his career – nearly 30 percent of his pitches in his first three starts, compared to less than 14 percent in his first season as a starter. His fastball and slider proved such great weapons that he treated them as security blankets; the evolution of the changeup is simply another step for the 25-year-old in his quest to grow even further past the rap hung on him in college.

"I've never put too much thought into what other people think," Sale said. "It either happens or doesn't. There were guys who weren't supposed to pitch in the big leagues who have long careers. You have guys drafted in the 30th round that become perennial All-Stars and lead teams. You can't pay attention to what everyone else is saying. Be your own guy."

He is very much that. Sale isn't the sort to embrace his own success, especially numerically. Sale said he never looks at his statistics until the end of a season. He worries about letting his ERA get into his head. Even after the year ends, the advanced metrics that put him up there with Kershaw and the rest of the best pitchers in the game don't resonate.

"All I know I've got to do is give up less runs than we score," Sale said. "I don't care about anything else. Not the numbers. Not the ISPFMLBLSSRs and whatever else Brian Kenny has come up with to define what makes a good player or not."

Reminded the numbers love him, Sale said: "I don't love them back."

Nobody said love needed to go both ways. So long as his arm keeps pumping two-seam fastballs in the mid-90s and grants him the confidence to throw changeups to left-handed hitters, Sale could profess his love for the Gatorade cooler in the dugout, and nobody would flinch.

"He wants to be great," Hahn said. "He wants to be that No 1. He wants to be out there for all nine. He has embraced that."

As the White Sox rebuild, Hahn can at least take solace in that. It's a luxury to know in a game against the defending champion Red Sox in Boston, with the great Jon Lester on the mound, Chicago can come into the game as favorites because Sale is pitching. He'll do so Thursday night, looking to bump his record to 4-0 and lower his ERA from 2.66.

In the meantime, a 24-year-old infielder will continue playing at Triple-A, where he's hitting .224 with a .637 OPS. His name is Christian Colon. The Royals took him with the fourth overall pick. If he ever makes it to the major leagues, scouts believe he'll be a utilityman.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:17 AM   #2
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Sale was my #1 pitching target in FBB this spring because of his stuff, but it's hard to lampoon the Royals for passing on a guy with really funky mechanics. It's far more likely they end up like Dontrelle Willis than a multi-year horse.
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:51 PM   #4
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Any highlights when we signed Bubba and passed on that Springer dude that got called up by Houston yesterday?
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
Sale was my #1 pitching target in FBB this spring because of his stuff, but it's hard to lampoon the Royals for passing on a guy with really funky mechanics. It's far more likely they end up like Dontrelle Willis than a multi-year horse.
Yes. Most in baseball were wrong about him.

What's particularly painful is that the Royals were linked to him so much leading up to that draft, even on draft day.

Colon was a very risk averse pick that should have been safe. (A Clark Hunt-stamp-of-approval type). He obviously hasn't worked out (and nice subtle reference to utility player in there by Passan, as that's the upside for Colon at this point).

The 2010 and 2011 drafts are painful. Lot of great players in the 2011 draft taken after Starling (Rendon, Jose Fernandez, Springer, Archie Bradley, Francisco Lindor).
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stonedstooge View Post
Any highlights when we signed Bubba and passed on that Strange dude that got called up by Houston yesterday?
Bubba Starling...............

I'm willing to bet he never see's any time with the Royals at the MLB level..
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:13 PM   #7
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown View Post
Bubba Starling...............

I'm willing to bet he never see's any time with the Royals at the MLB level..
It's looking less and less likely.

I have seen 20 and 30 grades on his hit tool this spring.

40 is MLB replacement/average (.255ish).

I understand why they took him (highest ceiling in that draft, local kid - can you imagine the outcry if he'd been drafted by, say, St. Louis, and turned into a monster?). But damn, it has not worked out so far. And damn, I wish they'd had the guys to not take him.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
It's looking less and less likely.

I have seen 20 and 30 grades on his hit tool this spring.

40 is MLB replacement/average (.255ish).

I understand why they took him (highest ceiling in that draft, local kid - can you imagine the outcry if he'd been drafted by, say, St. Louis, and turned into a monster?). But damn, it has not worked out so far. And damn, I wish they'd had the guys to not take him.
Not to be pedantic, but I can't even remember the last player with a profile similar to Starling that the Cardinals targeted in the draft. They almost always target polished college hitter like Wong or Brett Wallace if they take a position player early. The last time they didn't, they ended up with a MIF asshat like Pete Kozma.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
It's looking less and less likely.

I have seen 20 and 30 grades on his hit tool this spring.

40 is MLB replacement/average (.255ish).

I understand why they took him (highest ceiling in that draft, local kid - can you imagine the outcry if he'd been drafted by, say, St. Louis, and turned into a monster?). But damn, it has not worked out so far. And damn, I wish they'd had the guys to not take him.
I was pretty much always convinced they ultimately took him because he was local.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:28 PM   #11
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I was pretty much always convinced they ultimately took him because he was local.
A crazy good athlete as well. If nothing else he can run.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:33 PM   #12
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Not to be pedantic, but I can't even remember the last player with a profile similar to Starling that the Cardinals targeted in the draft. They almost always target polished college hitter like Wong or Brett Wallace if they take a position player early. The last time they didn't, they ended up with a MIF asshat like Pete Kozma.
Weren't the Cardinals going to take Trout until Shelby Miller fell to them?

That's a similar guy. 5-toolsy, somewhat raw, from a area of the country that limited his experience and exposure to other high level players.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:33 PM   #13
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Why are you guys so down on Starling?

He's batting a mighty .114 with 1 HR in Wilmington. Bunch of negative Nancies around here.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:38 PM   #14
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Just perusing the stats from our minor league affiliates, the only hitter that looks like anything promising is Eibner. He's mashing right now.

Giavotella is hitting. Colon is awful.

In AA, Cuthbert is average. Bonifacio is struggling.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
Weren't the Cardinals going to take Trout until Shelby Miller fell to them?

That's a similar guy. 5-toolsy, somewhat raw, from a area of the country that limited his experience and exposure to other high level players.
I have never heard that story, so I can't comment on its veracity. I know the Yankees were going to take him. I did, however, once come across an Angel scout's comments about Trout...when he was 17:

“Best athlete. Best player in the world—period. Best player on the planet.”


FWIW, some Cardinals fans still bitch about passing on Rick Porcello when he dropped due to signability issues. That's the draft we took Kozma's worthless ass in.
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