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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, April 23, 2005

White Sox - Signed Stephens

Chicago White Sox - Signed P John Stephens to a minor-league contract.

Stephens remains one of my favorites, but he’s never going to get a lengthy shot in the majors unless he starts keeping the ball down and really tearing through AAA batters.  He could really thrive in a park like Comerica or Petco.  Too bad he’s not left-handed.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 23, 2005 at 01:28 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 23, 2005 at 05:51 PM (#1282116)
Stephens has pitched worse each of the last two years than the year before. What's the story here?
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 24, 2005 at 01:45 AM (#1283358)
Damn it. I thought they'd finally gotten Vern Stephens back.
   3. DKDC Posted: April 24, 2005 at 02:34 AM (#1283436)
He's the Jack Cust of pitchers.

Incredible minor league numbers, but the scouts said he didn't have the stuff to succeed in the majors.

So far, it looks like the scouts were right.
   4. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 24, 2005 at 02:57 AM (#1283471)
I think there's something more here ... I just can't remember what it is.

BTW, if you're not familiar with this guy, go and watch him (if you can). NO velocity, he topped out at 82 last I saw him, but a nice curve and change. Tremendous fun when he's on.

Speaking of which, I watched Blake McGinley tonight - first time I've ever seen him in person. He gave up a homer down the RF line to Eric Munson (first pitch, I think) - then dominated the next five or so guys, then struggled some. I'm not sure how he gets outs. He topped out at 85 (one pitch at 86), none of his breaking stuff moved that much, and his motion wasn't that weird. He changed speeds nicely, but that only gets you so far.
   5. Darren Posted: April 24, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1283554)
Incredible minor league numbers, but the scouts said he didn't have the stuff to succeed in the majors.

So far, it looks like the scouts were right.


How do we know they were right from the limited chance each of those guys got in the majors?
   6. DKDC Posted: April 24, 2005 at 06:33 AM (#1283642)
How do we know they were right from the limited chance each of those guys got in the majors?

Both of these guys have spent the last 3 years at AAA and regressed in two consecutive seasons.

Cust is 26, and had a sub-800 OPS at AAA last year. He struck out twice as often as he walked.

Stephens is 25 and had a mid-4's ERA at AAA last year. He averaged a HR alowed per start.

One or both could have a useful major league career, but I think it's safe to say that neither of these guys will be the stars that their 1999-2002 stats suggested they would be.
   7. Sexy Lizard Posted: April 25, 2005 at 02:29 PM (#1285985)
IIRC Stephens has had on-and-off shoulder issues in his Orioles year. At least at Pawtucket last year he's lost some velocity from the mid/low-80s, um, heat he threw in Baltimore.
   8. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 25, 2005 at 03:12 PM (#1286044)
Did anyone ever think Stephens would actually be a star? I thought the argument was over whether or not he contribute in the bigs. I can't check now, but I think he's had slow starts each of the last two years and that minor injuries were attributed. (Note: may be making this up.)
   9. VeteranPresence.com Posted: April 25, 2005 at 05:26 PM (#1286288)
Stephens broke his wrist a couple of years ago and pitched through it with iffy results.
   10. EricC Posted: April 26, 2005 at 12:29 AM (#1287471)
I'm been a fan on John Stephens since the time I saw him strike out 18 or so in Frederick.

Fun player to watch, but lack of velocity probably does matter at the major league level. I also get the impression that he pitches much less effectively with men on base than with the bases empty.

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