White Sox

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Peavy's Struggles, Colvin

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Peavy's Struggles, Colvin

Thursday, April 29, 2010
9:02 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Carlos Zambrano in the bullpen, Jake Peavy's struggles and more!

Question from Joaquin - Houston, TX: What do you think of the Cubs moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen? How long do you think will he be there?

Steve Stone: I think Carlos will be in the bullpen until he goes completely crazy and then he will go have a meeting with Lou and either be taken out of the bullpen or taken out of town. I don't think you pay 18 million to a guy to be a setup man. I think his ego will only allow him to be there so long. I understand there are some rumblings at this point and I understand why they made the move. They want someone in the 8th inning that can strike the occasional hitter out. I think the Cubs know that when you are the opening day starter and you view yourself as the ace of the staff, moving to a setup man is a demotion. I remember a couple of political candidates putting lipstick on a pig and you can call that job anything you want to call it, and certainly is essential to the ball club. I think Carlos cares about what happens to him so don't be surprised to hear he is going back to the starting rotation or you hear a big explosion over Addison Street.

Question from David - Chicago, IL: Do you think Tyler Colvin will be a starting outfielder in the near future?

Stone: It will be very difficult for them to make him that though he has shown he has a lot of talent. But because Jim Hendry has signed Xavier Nady and they owe this year and next year to the tune of 28 million to Kosuke Fukudome. They also have another 4 years and 5 month obligation to their fine left fielder, Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd is a really solid center fielder who happens to be hitting the ball very well. So, unless Colvin can play second base, I don't see him playing everyday.
Question from Amie - Westmont, IL: I worry that the White Sox are relying on the home run too much, do you think that is an issue?

Stone: I don't think a team plans to just rely on a home run, in fact this is a team that has a lot more speed than recent White Sox teams. That being said, Gordon Beckham who can run hasn't been getting on and finally missed a ball game last night after going through a protracted slump. You have Juan Pierre hitting .115. If you aren't getting on base, you look like you are a team relying on home runs. Ozzie would love to use the running game but to use it, you have to have your runners get on base. That has not been the case for the Sox consistently to this point. If that doesn't turn around, they will have some problems. Though there are some guys who can hit home runs, I don't believe in the long haul, they can win or contend for the Wild Card simply with the long ball.

Question from Drake - West Chicago, IL: What's been going on with Jake Peavy? He doesn't seem like the pitcher we saw last fall in a Sox uniform.

Stone: One thing you have to understand, when Jake Peavy started his three games and won all three, he had rested almost the entire season and he was facing some guys who have played the entire season. The advantage went to him and he threw well. Spring training he did not start or finish well. In his five starts, it hasn't been pretty. One thing Jake did do that gives hope that after a disastrous first inning, he turned around and held that team into the 7th inning. Most pitchers would not have been capable of doing that. Do they need Jake to turn it on to become the Peavy of Old? Yes they do. Jake just has to make a couple of adjustments to his game. He has always been a fly ball pitcher and always in the National League. In the American League they probably have better hitters across the board and he is playing in the ball park where fly balls end up as souvenirs. The adjustment is going to have to be made by Jake. If he doesn't make that adjustment, it could be a long year for the Sox.

Question from Tommy - Glen Ellyn: Is Steven Strasburg the real deal? And when do you think we will see him in the majors?

Stone: Steven is indeed the real deal having watched him in the Fall League. There is no doubt he could start right now. Most teams are hesitant to bring a player up and start the clock running on arbitration and free agency. Look for about the middle of May which will allow Washington to control his rights for a year longer for arbitration and a year longer for free agency and miraculously he will have enough experience to come to the Majors. This is something most teams do, in fact you may remain Evan Longoria did not start his rookie season in the Majors for the Rays. It wasn't until toward the end of April when he signed his 7-year contract taking him out of his arbitration years and one free agent year where he burst on the scene becoming Rookie of the Year. They did not want to start the clock on his service time. It worked out pretty well for Tampa Bay as they have one of the most destructive 3rd basemen in the game, this year Longoria is hitting .325 and usually plays a golden glove caliber 3rd though this year he has made four errors. If the Rays wanted to give him away for those quick four errors, I'm sure the White Sox would take him but I don't think he is going anywhere soon.

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Nationals to become latest MLB team to extend protective netting down foul lines

Nationals to become latest MLB team to extend protective netting down foul lines

Another MLB team will soon extend the protective netting in its home ballpark. 

Thursday, Nationals owner Mark Lerner announced that the Nationals will extend the protective netting at Nationals Park further down the foul lines. The netting will be installed during the All-Star break, according to Lerner's press release. 

Ahead of the 2018 season, all 30 MLB teams extended the protective netting in their home ballparks to reach the outfield end of both dugouts. However, the White Sox announced on Tuesday that they will extend netting at Guaranteed Rate Field to reach both foul poles, becoming the first MLB team to do so.

Extended netting has become a widely-discussed topic across baseball this season. In a game between the Cubs and Astros on May 29, a four-year old fan was struck by a foul ball line drive hit by Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. The fan was rushed to the hospital following the incident and players from both teams were visibly shaken afterwards.

Almora spoke out about the need to protect fans several days later.

"I hope this never happens again, so whatever the league has to do to make that happen," Almora said at Busch Stadium on May 31 ahead of a Cubs-Cardinals game. "I don't think any kid that goes to a baseball game with their parents or whoever should worry about making it out unhealthy or whatever the case may be. I don't think that should ever cross their mind. 

"Whatever the league needs to do to do that, that should be in place."

Lerner referenced the fan in Houston specifically in the Nationals' announcement on Thursday.

"Over the past few weeks, we have seen several fans injured by bats and balls leaving the field of play at other stadiums," Lerner said. "I could not help but become emotional last month watching the Astros-Cubs game when a four-year-old little girl was hit by a line drive.

"I can’t imagine what her parents must have felt in that moment. And to see the raw emotion and concern from Albert Almora Jr. was heartbreaking. Further extending the netting at Nationals Park will provide additional protection for our fans."

Although only the White Sox and Nationals have announced plans for further extended netting this season, more teams will likely follow suit. In fact, the Rangers will extend the netting at their new ballpark next season to a similar area as the Nationals.

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One plate appearance was all it took for Zack Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about

One plate appearance was all it took for Zack Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about

Though only four runs separated the White Sox from the Cubs in the ninth inning Wednesday night, it felt like a blowout when Zack Collins made his first trip to the plate as a big leaguer.

The No. 11 prospect in the organization was called up to the majors ahead of Tuesday's game, though he didn't see any action then, and he wasn't in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's Crosstown contest on the North Side, either.

But manager Rick Renteria called on Collins to pinch hit — an appearance perhaps only made possible by National League rules in a National League park — with two outs to go in the top of the ninth inning.

"It was huge for me. It was a dream come true," he said after the game. "Just stepping up to the plate, looking to the outfield, seeing the crowd. We were down four in the top of the ninth and obviously trying to get on base, trying to keep the train moving. I thought I put a good at-bat together and it was a lot of fun.

"Rizzo said a couple things to me, said congratulations and stuff like that. That was pretty cool. Other than that I was kind of in a daze out there looking around. Like you said, soaking it all in, enjoying the moment."

It only took one plate appearance for Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about. He worked the count full and took a walk. Get used to that.

Collins made quite a habit of that kind of thing in the minor leagues, posting huge on-base percentages over the last few years. In 122 games at Double-A Birmingham last season, he had a .382 on-base percentage, and he wasn't far off that mark in his 50 games at Triple-A Charlotte this season, reaching base at a .374 clip. Last season, he walked 101 times for a 19 percent walk rate. This season, he walked 36 times for a 17.5 percent walk rate.

His walk rate in the majors is a cool 100 percent at the moment. The 1.000 on-base percentage looks even better.

"That's pretty good, right?" he joked.

Patience at the plate might end up being Collins' most valuable attribute at the major league level. His offensive skills have been lauded since the White Sox took him with a top-10 pick in the 2016 draft, and he hit 49 homers in his four minor league seasons, also showing off that power by winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game last year. His defensive skills have remained a question, though, and while he'll most likely serve as the White Sox No. 2 catcher behind James McCann, who's in the midst of an All-Star campaign, he can also be utilized at designated hitter and perhaps even first base.

But it's that good eye that the White Sox are hoping to see from the get-go. They saw it Wednesday night, and it's something Collins said has always been a part of his game.

"I've never really worked on that, so I would guess it kind of came naturally. It's a good thing to have," he said. "Guys at this level have some pretty good stuff. I'm looking to be aggressive but also swing at strikes."

You only get one chance to make a first impression, they say. Collins' first impression was pretty emblematic of the kind of hitter he hopes to be in the bigs.

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