White Sox

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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Chicago White Sox know we haven't seen the best of Eloy Jimenez

Chicago White Sox know we haven't seen the best of Eloy Jimenez

Eloy Jimenez is always smiling and joking, and laughing, and waving, and saying hi to his mom on TV. You'd never know that not everything went his way during his rookie season.

Despite the 31 home runs and his white-hot month of September, the rookie year-struggles were there and definitely had an effect on the happy-go-lucky Jimenez.

 “At the beginning [of the season] I tried to do too much,” Jimenez said. “And the injuries didn’t help me a lot.

“At the end, I felt like everything was slowed down and was easy because I just tried to play the game and enjoy the game. At the beginning, I had too much pressure because I tried to do too much.”

Of course, Jimenez doesn’t go long without a joke.

“This year is going to be better because now that we’ve got Luis Robert, the attention is not going to be on me,” he said. “It’s going to be better.”

Whether or not it’s because there’s a new uber-prospect to soak up the attention, improvement in 2020 seems to be a consistent opinion when it comes to Jimenez, who was the prospect everyone was drooling over at this time last year. As he mentioned, out-of-the-gate adjustments to the big leagues and two trips to the injured list prevented his rookie season from being a runaway success.

Still, we saw more than a few glimpses of what got everyone so revved up in the first place. The night of his first major league home run, he hit two. At Yankee Stadium. Twice, he disturbed the foliage of the center-field batter’s eye, something that was overlooked thanks to the ball he sent all the way to the staircase on the left side of the fan deck.

And who could forget the game-winning, broken-bat homer to beat the team that traded him on that June night at Wrigley Field? It’s arguably the biggest on-field moment of the rebuild to date,  

And like everyone is saying, that’s just scratching the surface of what this guy can do.

“He's good already,” White Sox designated hitter and longtime friend, Edwin Encarnacion, said. “He's going to get better but he's good already. It's very impressive what he's done in his first year playing in the big leagues. I remember my first year. I wasn't even close to the way he is right now. It's going to be fun watching him play.”

Sorry, Eloy. Even though Robert is everyone’s new favorite youngster, the Jimenez hype train is ready to pull out of the station once more. In his first interview this spring, he was asked if he think he can hit 50 home runs in a season someday. He didn’t disappoint.

“Why not?” he replied. “Yeah, it’s a big number but my goal is every year to have better numbers than the past year. So I think, one day, I can hit 50 plus. But let’s see.”

RELATED: Is a Moncada extension coming?

Of course, hitting home runs is the thing we know Jimenez can do and do well. What the White Sox want to see from him in his sophomore season is improvement in other areas, particularly ones away from the plate. Jimenez has impressed with his bat but he did much the opposite with his glove, at least to those who winced when they saw him racing down fly balls in left field.

Defensive plays also led to both of his stays on the injured list. The first came when he attempted to rob an un-robbable home run and sprained his ankle planting his leg into the outfield wall. Later that summer, he crashed into Charlie Tilson in left-center in Kansas City and suffered an ulnar nerve contusion.

In general, he made many fans uneasy with other misadventures in the outfield.

“We really need him to step it up and continue to improve on his defensive end in left field. We’ve talked about that,” manager Rick Renteria said early on in spring training. “He started having some growth out there last year, in my opinion.

“I asked him, ‘do you want me to take you out in the seventh, eighth or ninth?’ He goes, ‘no.’ I asked him that today. You can ask him. He wants to stay in there.

“I want him to be the best left fielder that the Chicago White Sox can put out there. I don’t want to be timid about using him out there in the late innings in a ballgame.”

Jimenez agrees.

“I don’t want to come out in the ninth inning,” he said. “I want to be able to play nine innings. So that’s why this year, I’m putting more effort into the defense so I can play the whole game.”

That’s the more politically correct way of putting it. At SoxFest, he was asked if he would be better suited as a designated hitter. He responded: “F**k that.”

But whether we’re talking about his eye-popping skills at the plate or his work-in-progress style in left field, there’s a common theme: We have not seen the best of Eloy Jimenez. And how could we have? The guy is just 23 years old with only 122 big league games under his belt.

Encarnacion, for one, sees high-level greatness in Jimenez’s future, telling Chuck Garfien on a recent White Sox Talk Podcast that “he has the talent to hit over 500 homers in the major leagues. I know he can do it.”

Fifty homers? Five hundred homers? Does anyone want to bring some more conservative projections to this conversation?

“With the talent that they have,” Jose Abreu said, through team interpreter Billy Russo, of the White Sox crop of young hitters, “they can do whatever they want to do.”

All right, then. Fifty and 500 it is.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: The Yermin Mercedes Appreciation Podcast!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: The Yermin Mercedes Appreciation Podcast!

The man the fans are clamoring for, Yermin Mercedes sits down with host Chuck Garfien to discuss why Sox fans love him, and his goals as a player. Chuck also gets some inside information on Yermin from teammates Carson Fulmer and Danny Mendick, and White Sox director of player development Chris Getz. You wanted Yermin, we got you Yermin.

(2:05) - Who the heck is Yermin Mercedes?

(6:41) - Interview with Yermin Mercedes

(16:07) - How did the Sox acquire Yermin with Chris Getz

(19:09) - Carson Fulmer on Yermin Mercedes's improvement as a baseball player

(22:03) - Danny Mendick on the uniqueness of Yermin Mercedes

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: