First Pitch: Assessing Sale

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First Pitch: Assessing Sale

Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
6:41 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

BALTIMORE Chris Sales self-evaluation of his major league debut was as slender as the 65 leftys frame, and modest as his Floridian roots.

Bemused at the very question, Sale smiled, shook his head and said, Bad.

But you better believe the Chicago White Sox had a sunnier assessment. The rookiethe first member of the 2010 draft class to reach the majors, just a shade quicker than two months after he was selectedshowed poise and focus both on and off the mound on Friday.

His results to open the eighth inninga four-pitch walk to Brian Roberts and an 0-2, jam-shot single by Nick Markakis, (who was an incendiary 4-5 on the night)were not ideal. But Sale was right on the plateonly one of his seven pitches was off the plate and his speed on seven fastballs topped 94 mph.

Most importantly, the Chisox jefe has the young fellas back.

Maybe Sale was nervous, but I liked what I saw, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Markakis had a jam shot. I want to see what I havethats why hes up here, in that spot. I like him. One thing about him: Hes not scared.

I feel worse than anybody going out there and doing what I did in a close ballgame, Sale said. For Guillen to say that stuff, its pretty encouraging. It still doesnt hide the fact that I went out there and had a bad day, but tomorrow when I show up there will be a little less pressure on me.

Thats certain, as is another thing: The White Sox know what they have in Sale.

Ozzie came out to remove me and said, Good job, no worries, Sale said. My teammates were great, saying Hey, dont worry about it, its your first game, its not a big deal. Its out of the way now, nothing you can do about it. Youll get more chances.

Sale was almost immediately philosophical about his rough debut.

I just went out there hyped up, and wanted to do well, he said, while making it clear that nervousness was no excuse for his outing. I just didnt have any feel and didnt show up, thats pretty much it. I walked a guy and made a bad pitch 0-2, and you cant do that. Ive just got to get more prepared for next time and take this as a learning experience.

Sale even displayed some humor over his debut, which goes down as 0.0 innings pitched as he failed to record an out.

Yeah, get the bad stuff out now, the southpaw said with a chuckle. Hopefully later on down the road it gets better.

Later on down the road could be as soon as tonight, if you ask Guillen.

Youre going to see Sale in those types of situations more often because I want him to help Matt Thornton, Chicagos only other healthy lefty reliever. We tried to debut him in an easier spot, but we couldnt do it. Hes here for a reason. Were going to see how it works.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."