As Scott Boras clients are wont to do, RHP Andrew Brackman signed a 4 year/$4.55 million major league contract (up to $13 million with options, which would have been a draft record amount) at the amateur draft signing deadline in August 2007. That remains the highlight of Brackman's career.
Shortly after signing, the Yankees confirmed what they already knew about him - he needed Tommy John surgery - but didn't dissuade them from picking him and, basically two weeks after signing, he underwent the surgery. It's been downhill from there, as Brackman never solved control issues.
The Yankees exercised one of their options on Brackman but cut bait with him after the 2011 season. The Reds picked him and he pitched badly at various stops in their system during 2012. After signing the 27 year old to a minor league contract, now the White Sox will look to be the ones to unlock his potential.
And there certainly (still) is some. The man does have pedigree. He was rated as one of the top 5 or 10 players in the 2007 draft. Despite the surgery, Keith Law rated Brackman as one of the top 100 prospects prior to the 2008 season. Brackman didn't even make his pro debut until the 2009 season but still was listed as one of the Yankees' top ten prospects by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
He pitched for the Yankees' Low-A affiliate in 2009 and basically stunk. He turned things around in 2010 while splitting time between High-A and Double-A and found himself back on prospect lists, including Baseball America's top 100. It also compelled the Yankees to pick up their option on him for 2011, triggering a $1 million bonus.
He gave all that goodwill back with a piss poor showing at AAA in 2011, as well as in a September cameo for the major league club, and, consequently, the Yankees elected to not exercise his 2012 option and released him.
The Reds picked him up on a major league deal and he really went for it at AAA Louisville, where he tossed batting practice to the tune of a 9.87 ERA and a 1.976 WHIP in five starts that lasted a total of 17.1 innings. Demoted to High-A, he stunk only slightly less (5.52 ERA and 1.599 WHIP) in 29 games, pitching mostly as a reliever.
The White Sox signed him because he still has a fastball that can reach the mid-90s. He's got a pretty good curve, too. He obviously couldn't reliably throw strikes with those pitches (or his slider. or his changeup). If we want to give the White Sox credit, maybe they've seen something in his mechanics (which have often been messy) they think they can correct. Or maybe it's just a blind flyer based on pedigree.
The White Sox have had success with reclamation projects in the past. Turning around one of the biggest draft busts in history would be a remarkable feat. For talent alone, he's a name to at least watch for in the dull days of spring training to see if there's anything still there.
Edit 3:22 central: Brackman attended Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Among the many famous alums are Buddy Bell and his sons. So I guess we know who drove this signing.
Other alums: Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin and White Sox farmhand Dan Remenowsky (like Brackman, a 2004 grad).