Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available between now and then.
Every draft class offers players with questions about their future role. Sometimes it's a position player who might have to move from an up-the-middle spot to a corner, other times it's a starting pitcher who might become a reliever. Perhaps the biggest question mark in this year's draft class is Florida Gulf Coast lefthander Chris Sale, who some project to be a starter while others see a future in the bullpen.
As you can imagine, opinions on the 6-foot-6, 175 lb. lefty diverge greatly. Baseball America ranked him as the fifth best prospect in the draft while ESPN's Keith Law had him 47th (sub. req'd for both links). MLB.com's Draft Report says Sale gets lots of sink on his 92 mph fastball, plus a curveball that's a "potential wipeout pitch to left-handed hitters." He also sports a good changeup and strong control, throwing from a low-arm slot reminiscent of Randy Johnson. The MLB.com link offers video.
Sale spent the spring annihilating weak competition in the Atlantic Sun Conference, going 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA and a 146/14 K/BB ratio in 103 innings. He burst onto the scene in the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer, leading the circuit with four wins and 57 strikeouts. That performance led to Baseball America naming him the league's top prospect (sub. req'd), ahead of several other players expected to go in the first round both this year and next.
Big college lefties are very sought after come draft day, and Baseball America's Jim Callis projected the Indians to select Sale with the fifth overall pick in his latest mock draft (sub. req'd). He will almost assuredly be selected by a team that adheres to MLB's bonus recommendations.