Role Reversal: Could White Sox Acquire Chris Sale?

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Sep 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 20, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Miami Hurricanes catcher Zack Collins (0) drives in a run in the eighth inning against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. UC Santa Barbara defeated Miami 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Miami Hurricanes catcher Zack Collins (0) drives in a run in the eighth inning against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. UC Santa Barbara defeated Miami 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

Next up: Collins.

The 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft, and the White Sox’s coveted first-rounder, Collins would have to go in a Sale deal. Collins has an advanced bat and the potential to be a perennial 30 home run player at “The Arrow.” He has an excellent batting eye and isn’t afraid to take a walk. Combine high OBP-skills with his power and an ability to drive the ball to all fields and Collins looks like the real deal. The jury is still out on whether he’ll stick behind the plate but Nick Hostetler and the White Sox are certainly confident he has the chops to do so. This one would certainly sting.

Ditto Fulmer. The White Sox’s first rounder and the eigth overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the electric right-hander can still find success in the majors. With two plus pitches (fastball and power curve) and the potential for an above average change, Fulmer has the chance to stick as a starter. The high effort delivery makes some scouts pause and even Chicago tried to tone it down this season. Nonetheless, Fulmer is at his best when using his unorthodox delivery and his intense make up gives him the floor of at least a high leverage bullpen arm if starting doesn’t pan out. Thus, a valuable asset even with his median outcome.

The next two pieces get a little more tricky. These are the higher-risk, high-reward players the White Sox will want for Sale. It makes sense that a seller would try to pluck the same from Chicago. Hansen and Engel fit that profile.

Hansen was a second round selection in 2016. However, some were projecting him to go 1-1 in the draft before a dismal junior season at Oklahoma. Hansen has tantalizing stuff as his arsenal includes a plus-plus fastball, above average slider, and even the chance at an average curveball and change-up. That four pitch mix with life on some of his offerings gives him the profile of a front-line guy. The issue lies in his control but Hansen showed promise in his pro debut. He’s a must have in a Sale trade.

Engel is a nice lottery ticket. His successful 2015 AFL performance has been well documented and he brings a nice portfolio of tools. His plus-plus speed has translated to serious stolen base outputs (65 SB/76 ATT in 2015) and he’s dripping with athleticism. He also carries a plus glove and arm, so he has a floor of value as a solid 4th outfielder. It’s a really nice piece to round out a package.

At the end of the day though, trade packages aren’t in a vacuum. They’re weighed against what the rest of the market has to bear. This package features a controllable regular with All-Star ability  Eaton), and two top 100 prospects on MLB Pipeline. If Hansen repeats his success in 2017, he might even have a shot at making the Top 100 midseason list.

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