The White Sox and Orioles are playing a doubleheader today to make up for the games canceled last month due to the civil unrest in Baltimore. Game one was the Chris Sale show.
Sale pitched seven and two-thirds shutout innings, striking out 12 and allowing only four hits and no walks. It took him 120 pitches to get that far, but the O’s didn’t manage to touch him.
In support the Sox got two in the sixth thanks to a pair of doubles from Melky Cabrera and Adam Laroche. An insurance run was added in the ninth via a Tyler Flowers fielder’s choice.
Things got dicey for Chicago in the ninth as Chris Davis hit a two-run homer off of Zack Duke who had come in to close it out for Sale with two outs in the eighth. While that made it a ballgame it wasn’t enough as Jacob Petricka came in to get the final out to preserve the 3-2 White Sox win.
But today was all about Sale. Who, despite getting tattooed in a couple of late-April, early-May starts, has settled down nicely and is giving Chicago the ace-like performance they have come to expect.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.