White Sox

Why the White Sox hardly celebrated when they drafted Chris Sale

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Why the White Sox hardly celebrated when they drafted Chris Sale

White Sox officials couldn’t celebrate too enthusiastically when they selected Chris Sale with their first-round pick five years ago.

Sale, the lanky left-hander from Florida Gulf Coast, was projected by Baseball America to be picked fourth overall by Kansas City in 2010. He was on the White Sox radar, but the feeling in the club’s draft room was that he wouldn’t fall out of the Top 10. The White Sox had the No. 13 pick in that year's MLB Draft.

“We certainly expected him to be gone when we started off that day and in the days leading up,” general manager Rick Hahn recalled. “He was a guy who our scouts and the people in the room pointed to as someone who could certainly help us at the big league level soon but in all probability was not going to be available to us.”

[MORE: White Sox see Chris Sale sliding back into ace form]

Under normal circumstances, when Sale fell to the White Sox, it would’ve led to plenty of high fives and cheers. But MLB Network cameras were following the White Sox around that summer for the TV show “The Club,” and were in the team’s draft room when Sale was picked.

Last week, Hahn — then the team’s assistant GM — recalled the muted reaction.

“When we made the selection of Chris we were all excited that we got Chris but at the same time, there were some signability concerns so there was at least a chance that he wasn’t going to sign,” Hahn explained. “There was all this footage of our exuberance and (if he didn’t sign) it was then going to be shown as the kid goes back to school. We found ourselves with the cameras in the room a little bit reserved in terms of all our excitement level because we didn’t want to look too foolish if things wound up going south.”

Those concerns were short-lived. The White Sox and Sale quickly agreed to terms, and less than two months later, he made his major league debut as a reliever in Baltimore. Two years later, Sale was in the White Sox rotation and earned his first of three All-Star appearances (it could very well be four this year).

Five years removed from the 2010 draft, no player selected that year has been worth more WAR than Sale (24.4) — and that’s a draft class that includes, among others, Bryce Harper (14.4 WAR), Manny Machado (12.6 WAR) Matt Harvey (8.6 WAR) and teammate Adam Eaton (6.0 WAR). Only five White Sox first-round picks have been worth more WAR in their career than Sale: Frank Thomas (73.7), Robin Ventura (56.0), Harold Baines (38.5), Alex Fernandez (28.9) and Jack McDowell (28.2).

[MORE: White Sox front office mocks Monday's amateur draft]

Since 2000, only Clayton Kershaw (42.3 WAR), Justin Verlander (41.4 WAR), Jered Weaver (36.7 WAR), Adam Wainwright (36.4 WAR) and David Price (24.6 WAR) have amassed more value than Sale among first-round pick pitchers. The second-highest WAR totaled by a player drafted in 2010 or later is Harper at 14.4.

Entering his start Monday night against Houston, Sale has a 2.81 ERA with 816 strikeouts in 740 2/3 major league innings. So while the White Sox weren’t able to celebrate immediately after drafting him, they’ve done plenty since.

“We were able to speak to him directly fairly quickly and his dad and the agent,” Hahn said. “We worked something out fairly quickly and it worked out okay since then."

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Eloy Jimenez homers, Seby Zavala goes to the DL

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Eloy Jimenez hit his eighth home run of the season in a 7-3 loss. Zack Collins and Matt Rose each had a hit, a walk and a run scored. Ian Clarkin gave up five runs and walked five in his five innings. Seby Zavala, who leads the Southern League with 10 homers, went on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Triple-A Charlotte

Jordan Stephens had a good second outing at the Triple-A level, allowing just one earned run in his 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits and walked two, striking out four batters. In his two starts with Charlotte, he's got a 2.19 ERA with three earned runs allowed in 12.1 innings. Charlie Tilson doubled in the 12-6 win. Thyago Vieira gave up two runs in his lone inning of work, and his ERA stands at 5.85 on the season.

Class A Winston-Salem

The bats seem to have gone a tad cold for the Dash, who suffered a 4-1 loss. The top five hitters in the lineup — Joel Booker, Alex Call, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo and Gavin Sheets — combined to go 2-for-18.

Class A Kannapolis

Lincoln Henzman gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing a pair of home runs. Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 5-3 loss.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: