Stone's Mailbag: Does Peavy Have What it Takes?

Stone's Mailbag: Does Peavy Have What it Takes?

Thursday, Apr. 15, 2010
10:05 A.M.

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, and Jake Peavy.

Question from Jake, Arlington Heights, Ill. Is Starlin Castro the next Hanley Ramirez, and where do you see him in the future a leadoff hitter or more a mid of the order hitter?

Steve Stone: Starlin is going to be a very good player but will not have the power. Hanley is one of these devastating players who came out of the Boston organization as a young man with a tremendous amount of promise. Castro needs some more minor league at bats, he has pretty good plate coverage, still swings at pitches he shouldnt but thats a product of youth and lack of experience as opposed to anything else. He will be a very good major leaguer. When you are talking about Hanley Ramirez, who is 63, 225, that is going to be bigger than Starlin Castrol. Ramirez hit .342 last year, drove in 106 runs and stole 27 bases. When you look at those numbers, adding 24 home runs into it, I think that you realize that a few of those numbers will be out of reach for Starlin. That being said, I think the Cubs are happy to have developed someone from their system who looks like he will be a big leaguer for a long time, especially a shortstop.

Question from Cole, Cedar Falls, Iowa How do you see the right field situation playing out for the Cubs? With Nady and Colvin on board are Fukudome's days numbered?
Steve Stone: When you are paying Fukudome 14 million and he has this year and next on his contract, as far as his days being numbered, it depends on which number mister Ricketts is going to allow Jim Hendry to eat if he indeed does want to trade. He had two somewhat disappointing seasons but when you sign back loaded contacts, the highest salaries in the last year make it more difficult to trade. I think it will be awfully hard for Lou to get the amount of bats that he is going to have to get a young player to enable to keep them sharp. Especially Tyler Colvin who has played just about every day wherever he has been, and now youre asking him to take a seat on a major league bench and we will try to fit you in when we can. I dont believe thats in the best interest of Colvin and in fact if they view him, and I believe they do, as their starting right fielder of the future, sitting on the bench watching, they will limit his bats. I think thats a big mistake the Cubs have made and Colvin has one at bat in two games. We know he will get more, this is a young man who probably needs 30-35 at bats a week and I dont think he will get anywhere close to that with a major league team.
Question from Alex, Oak Forest, Ill Does Jake Peavy have what it takes to win 20 games this season?

Steve Stone: I think Jake always has what it takes. We saw briefly last year in three games where he was 3-0 and dominating everyone. At his best he is good. One thing to bear in mind is and has been that the AL is just a tougher league than the NL. You dont have to look at All-Star games, which the AL has dominated for some time, but look at the results year after year after year of inner-league play and you will see the AL is a tougher league. Factor in that he wont be facing the pitcher but yet another hitter in what already is a very strong lineup, it makes it a lot more difficult for pitchers to throw in the American League than it does in the national. If the White Sox could be assured Jake would be healthy all year they would take that and allow his stuff, best in the game, to determine the outcome. Whether he will or wont be healthy remains to be seen.

Question from Josh, Morton, Ill. What do you think the chances are of Sergio Santos making an immediate impact with the Sox this season?

Steve Stone: First thing, he has to get into a game. Its hard to look good if you are warming up or on the bullpen bench. He is in a catch 22 in that in order to get Ozzies confidence, he has to get people out but in order to get people out, he needs Ozzie's confidence. I think Ozzie will put him in, in hand-picked sit in the 6th inning. If guys struggle, if Sergio is throwing well, he will move to the 7th. But lets see him get to the major league mound and then we can further evaluate how he will adapt. Everything you need, big strong, throws awfully hard, good change up and very good slider. Still asking a guy who played major league infield and was a number one pick in the draft by the Diamondbacks as a short stop to become a quality major league pitcher.

Question from Katie, Chicago, Ill. How will the Twins adjust to playing outdoors in their new stadium?
Steve Stone: I dont know how because they havent played outside in April in Minnesota in the lifetime of any roster players. They started their season in California playing the Los Angeles Angels, a tough team taking the first two of three which is of this writing, all theyve played. Look down that lineup, they are very impressive. One thing to worry about is replacing Joe Nathan but Jon Rauch is now 2-2 in saves though he did give up a run in two hits last night with the twins, beating the Angels 3-2. I look at the lineup that added Orlando Hudson this year and features Bernard Span at the top and three fairly devastating hitters in a row. You have to figure offensively in for another big year. The question for them is the starting rotation and the tail end of the bullpen.

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White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”