Allen Sale's shirt stood out from the Wednesday morning crowd taking in FGCU and Stetson. First of all, it was a long-sleeved shirt, hardly befitting the mid-80s temperatures in Nashville, but it was the script on the back that drew the most attention.
His son, Chris, a top pitching prospect, boasts many features that has made the professional scouts drool. He combines a mid-90's fastball and devastating breaking pitches with a 6-foot-6 frame. One of the few negatives the scouts will point out is Sale's lean frame. The FGCU Web site lists him at 183 pounds and from early in the MLB Draft process, both father and son have dealt with questions about Chris' ability to fill out the frame.
In a response to the criticism, Allen added text to the back of his gray shirt. To paraphrase, the shirt reads "my fat [butt] is proof my son can put on weight." Allen volunteered he carried a 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame and like his son, entered college on the light side of the scale.
"I just got kind of tired of hearing them talk about how skinny he was and how he needed to put weight on," Allen Sale said. "I've put 80 pounds since high school and it hasn't done anything for me."
The shirt made its debut in the third week of the season.
"I've told Chris to have fun with this and when you watch him between innings and he is enjoying it," Allen Sale said. "It would be hard for me to tell him to do that and not do it myself, so I figured it would be a fun thing to do."
The volume rose after Chris turned a dominant summer at the Cape Cod League. It was at that time that the scouts started to hone in on every facet of his measurables.
"He's skinny like Tim Lincecum and he seems to be holding up just fine," Allen said. "[Chris] is whatever weight he is, and with that weight he is able to throw in the mid- to high-90's and he's got this outrageous strikeout-to-walk ratio and low ERA."
The run-up to next month's MLB Draft will actually conclude a three-year process for the Sales. Out of high school, the Colorado Rockies selected him in the 21st round in 2007. His stock gradually rose with Allen guessing Chris had moved into fifth or sixth round status after his freshman season and up the third or fourth round after pitching in the Northwoods League. His stock shot up to the first or second round after dueling with future first-round pick Rex Brothers, from Lipscomb in front of close to 40 scouts and reached its peak during his MVP performance in the Cape Cod League.
"Everytime he pitched in Cape Cod, it seems like I kept hearing a different number as to how high in the first round he could go," Sale said. "We're being told he could go as high as second, as low as 14th. I haven't seen the Nationals' scout around, so I don't think he's a threat to go first."
While Bryce Harper appears to have the first position locked up, it looks like Sale won't be waiting long to hear his name as a pair of mock drafts place him in the top five.
MyMLBDraft.com Mock Draft
ESPN.com Mock Draft (Insider Access Required)