Time to hit Chicago's south side with our amateur signing bonus series...
- Joe Borchard, $5.3MM (2000)
- Dayan Viciedo, $4MM (2008)
- Gordon Beckham, $2.6MM (2008)
- Jason Stumm, $1.75MM (1999)
- Chris Sale, $1.656MM (2010)
Borchard's bonus was the largest ever given out as part of a minor league contract at the time, and was the record until Justin Upton showed up in 2005. The White Sox had to buy him away from a potential NFL career after Borchard starred at Stanford as both an outfielder and quarterback, though the team was able to spread the bonus out over five years according to MLB's provisions for two sport athletes. He never lived up to the hype, hitting .191/.254/.342 in 328 plate appearances across four seasons for Chicago before being dealt to the Mariners in March 2006 for a fellow former first round pick by the name of Matt Thornton. It clicked for Thornton after the trade but never did for Borchard, and the vast majority of his career has been spent in Triple-A.
Both Beckham and Sale have paid immediate dividends. Beckham, the eighth overall pick in 2008, reached the big leagues the very next year and is a career .260/.331/.416 career hitter in 928 plate appearances. Sale didn't even have to wait that long; he found himself in Chicago's bullpen less than two months after being the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. Hard to blame them for being so aggressive, Sale posted a 1.93 ERA with 12.3 K/9 in 21 appearances (23.1 innings) while hitting the upper-90's from the left side. As you probably suspect, he's the first player from the 2010 draft to reach the show.
After the success of Alexei Ramirez, the White Sox went hard after another Cuban defector in Viciedo. The 21-year-old has been just okay in the minors (.277/.313/.432), though his 106 plate appearance cameo in the big leagues this season was much more promising (.308/.321/.519). Listed at 5-foot-11 and 240 lbs. on the team's official site, he might not be long for the hot corner. Stumm was a colossal bust as the 15th overall pick in 1999. Injuries sabotaged the righthander's career (four surgeries total), and just eight of his 224.1 career innings came above A-ball. Stumm has been out of the game since 2005.