Kenny Williams knew Chris Sale had the right stuff once the lanky pitcher gave him a tongue-lashing.
The Chicago White Sox executive vice president revealed to The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy last weekend how and when he knew the Boston Red Sox pitcher would become an ace on a Major League Baseball pitching staff.
After the White Sox selected Sale with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, Williams promised Sale a call-up to the majors within six weeks if he signed with the team. However, Sale, then 21, quickly grew impatient, having pitched in just 11 minor-league games over the one-plus months that followed draft day.
“The way he got mad and said harsh things to me convinced me that he would be an ace,” Williams told Shaughnessy.
Sale debuted for the White Sox Aug. 6, 2010 against the Baltimore Orioles. He threw just seven pitches, allowing one hit and walking one batter in Chicago’s loss. He appeared in 20 more games in 2010, then pitched 71 innings in 58 appearances in the 2011 season.
He became a starter in 2012, earning his first All-Star Game appearance and has been one of baseball’s premier pitchers ever since.
Just as Williams knew would happen.