If you didn’t read it yesterday, check out my buy or sell: position players to get an idea of what these picks are all about.
Spring line: 3 starts, 11.0 innings, 13 strikeouts/2 walks, 15 hits, 2 home runs
There’s nothing to worry about regarding Peavy.
Sure, Peavy likely won’t have as gaudy numbers as he had with San Diego—but that’s a product of facing a new, better offensive league in a smaller park.
What would that downturn be? Erik from Pale Hose Pariah passes on some number-crunching done the always-outstanding Carson Cistulli:
Carson estimates that Peavy will give up .12 homers per inning pitched, or 24 homers over 200 innings pitched. The Fans projected 18 homers over 175 innings, with a FIP of 3.56. Add in three homers, you get 3.78 FIP. That shakes out to 3.7 WAR, or 4.2 over 200 innings.
If Carson is right, that’s still a pretty damn solid pitcher.
So why shouldn’t you be worried about Peavy’s spring, where he got knocked around a bit? All you have to do is look at his strikeouts and walks. I don’t think I’m going to get too concerned with somebody who fanned 13 in 11 innings with only two free passes.
If that doesn’t convince you, Peavy’s track record should. While he shouldn’t be counted on to win another Cy Young or anything, there’s no doubt in my mind he can be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in the American League.
And that’s in a rotation full of a couple more top-of-the-rotation pitchers.
Spring line: 6 starts, 21.2 innings, 13 strikeouts/4 walks, 3 home runs, 40 hits
While Garcia pitched well for the Sox in 2009, I’ve been cautious in my projections of his 2010 season. Despite the bloated number of hits, Garcia’s spring numbers aren’t a huge worry to me.
And they aren’t a concern to him, either.
Maybe it’s a lack of focus for Garcia that leads to poor command and an avalanche of hits. Hopefully, that’s what it is.
Garcia doesn’t have good stuff anymore, but he’s a smart enough pitcher to properly use his arsenal of pitches. The keys for Garcia are control and command.
He showed control in the spring, walking just four in his 21.2 innings pitched. But he didn’t show any command, as evidenced by the 40 hits allowed.
Garcia needs to have both his control and his command to be successful, and the spring was evidence of what can happen when he only has half of what he needs.
That being said, let me repeat that I’m not panicking over Garcia’s spring. I think he’s still on track to make 15 or so starts with a FIP somewhere in the mid 4.00s, barring injury.
Your perception of the “buy” or “sell” will be colored by your expectations for Garcia. Mine are fairly pedestrian, but hey, all Garcia’s being asked to do is be half a fifth starter (with Dan Hudson being the other half).
Verdict: Buy, but with the caveat that I’m buying low.
Spring line: 9 appearances, 8.1 innings, 2 strikeouts/6 walks, .350 OBP against
You’re probably saying to yourself right now “why the heck is he bothering with Linebrink?” I wasn’t planning on looking at him, but then I saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The one saving grace for Linebrink is that he hasn’t had awful results in the first halves of his two years in Chicago. He was lights out in the first few months of 2008 and had extremely tenuous success (if you even want to call it that) in the first half of 2009 before getting injured or completely bombing in the second half.
If Linebrink’s spring is any indication, he won’t even be able to have a decent first half.
Walks and strikeouts are two of the most stable spring stats—for pitchers and hitters—and Linebrink doesn’t score well in either category. Show me a pitcher who gets by walking three batters for every strikeout and I’ll show you the guy who’s not going to have a very good year.
For as bad of a reputation as Linebrink has in Chicago, he won’t have a 1:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Even last year, Linebrink struck out about two and a half batter for every walk he issued.
But even if those numbers normalize, it won’t be enough to save Linebrink. I hate to pile on the guy—it’s not he was offered a contract that gives him and his family financial security—but it’s tough to see him pitching anywhere close to his salary for the next two years.
Spring line: 10 appearances, 10.1 innings, 16 strikeouts/7 walks, 2 wild pitches
Before pitchers and catchers reported, I called Santos a “long shot” to make the team out of spring training. I figured he would have to show an immense amount of improvement with his control in camp for the Sox to consider putting him on the roster.
While those seven walks aren’t great, Santos gave the White Sox more than enough reason to put him on the 25-man opening day roster.
Part of that decision had to be that Santos is out of minor league options. If he didn’t make the team, he’d have to be placed on waivers—and any team that caught a glimpse of Santos this spring would happily take a flier on him.
But the other part of that decision was that Santos did pitch pretty well. He didn’t allow a run until late in the spring and showed an excellent slider—a key pitch that he needed to develop to make it in the majors.
Santos’ role won’t be a large one when the regular season begins in a couple of days. He’ll likely be used in low-leverage situations, either in the early innings or a mop-up role.
He’ll be given his fair shot, though. If he bombs, the Sox are going to keep giving him shots to pitch better for part of the reason he’s on the team in the first place: if they try to send him to the minors, he’s going to be claimed by some team with room on their 40-man for a raw, flamethrowing reliever.
I like Santos a lot. His name has a ton of potential for nicknames/memes, from Santos L. Halper to this Sergio to this other Sergio. Or the entire bullpen could be named “Santos Party House” after Andrew W.K.’s party hard New York nightclub.
Great memes aside, the pitcher Santos is a pretty nice back-of-the-bullpen guy for the Sox to have. He’s cheap, he has great stuff, and he has a lot of potential given that he hasn’t pitched for very long.
That being said, though, it really would have been nice for Santos to get some work in the minors before he gets thrown into the major league fire. He’s still learning as a pitcher, and he’s going to be doing it on the fly from a major-league bullpen.
I’m not expecting Santos to have a lot of success this year. If he does, that’s great—he’ll have improved quicker than I would have expected for somebody who’s only pitched one year in the minors.
But even though I’m going to sell Santos’ 2010 season, I’m not selling his potential. That I’ll definitely buy.