Column: Sale’s success gives FGCU All-Star status
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:07
When I first got to Florida Gulf Coast I knew very little about the athletics program. I knew we had a pretty good women’s basketball team and we had a few of our baseball players get drafted.
Two are currently in the majors.
One has made an impact.
Sale doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He doesn’t get the media attention of pitchers like Justin Verlander, C.J. Wilson, and many others.
Many people don’t know about Sale and his story is even better than his first year as a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.
Coming out of Lakeland High School, Sale wasn’t a highly recruited player. In fact FGCU was the only big school to give him an offer. Although they were Division-I by the time he finished, they were Division-II when they offered him a scholarship.
Before his freshman year Sale was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 21st round or the 642 pick, Sale chose college over the Rockies.
Sale worked his way up at FGCU. His freshman year he worked out of the bullpen. He posted a 2-0 record with a 3.46 ERA in 36 innings of relief.
His sophomore year he moved to the starting rotation. There he put up some pretty good numbers. He went 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 104 strikeouts. He was named a first-team All-Atlantic Sun pitcher.
“His sophomore year he was a different player. He had confidence, maturity, strength,” FGCU baseball coach Dave Tollett told the Naples Daily News. “A year into the program with the long toss and the weights, his velocity really shot up.”
The summer after his sophomore year is where his rise to fame came. Sale posted an impressive 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 55 innings for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape-Cod Summer League.
That caught the attention of Major League scouts going into his senior year. And oh boy what a junior year he had.
Sale posted a remarkable 11-0 record in his junior year. He posted a 2.01 ERA and 146 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 103 innings. He was named a first-team All-American, and was voted the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year.
That caught the eye of the Chicago White Sox. They fell in love with Sale after his stint with the Cape Cod league and his junior season reassured their love and faith in him.
The White Sox selected Sale 13th overall in the 2010 first-year player’s draft. He was the seventh pitcher selected in the draft. The White Sox signed Sale (giving a handsome $1.6 million bonus) and sent him to their minor league affiliate Single-A Winston Salem. In just 11 days, Sale was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte.
Just 22 days after that, Sale got his moment. He was called up to the majors on August 4, 2010 and made his debut on August 6.
Just over a month after Sale was drafted, he was in the majors. He became the fastest player to make it to the majors in the 2010 draft class.
Since then Sale has been amazing. He started out in the Sox bullpen throwing relief innings until this season when Sale became a full-time starter.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura made the right move promoting Sale to the rotation.
“Chris has been great. You’ve come to expect that from him because he is that good,” Ventura told the Naples Daily News.
Sale is having the season of a lifetime.
Sale is currently 10-2 with a staggering 2.19 ERA. In his last 10 starts he is 7-1 with an even better 1.94 ERA. In those last 10 starts he’s beaten the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, Minnesota Twins (x2), Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros and in his latest outing defeated the reigning American League Champions Texas Rangers 19-2.
He gave up just one run in that last start. Just one run against the team that scores the most runs in the MLB.
He also won pitcher of the month for May.
It’s funny that he dominated the Rangers because just two days before the Rangers’ skipper Ron Washington selected Sale to the 2012 MLB All-Star game.
Yep a kid from FGCU pitched in the All-Star game.
If you would have told me that before I came to school last year I would have said you are crazy but what Sale has accomplished over the last two years isn’t crazy, it’s the product of hard work and a kid who’s determine to be the best he can be.
The All-Star game is just the beginning of Sale’s illustrious career. With 10 wins before the break, in his first year as a full-time starter, expect Sale’s name in consideration for the AL Cy Young award.
Hell, I think he could even win it. With the White Sox in first place at the break he should win the award if his offense keeps it up.
His story is one of the best in the majors and I’m proud to tell people that I go to the school that Chris Sale, All-Star, came from.