Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Sox need new arms to help sooner not later
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- With both Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart, the White Sox hope to have solidified their pitching both now and on into the future.
The right-handed Frasor, 33, figures to handle the now part. The Chicago native is expected to make a solid White Sox bullpen even deeper by giving Jesse Crain some help.
When Sergio Santos took over at closer, Crain effectively became the only late-inning right-hander the White Sox had leading into the final inning. Manager Ozzie Guillen has been stressing fot he past two months about running Crain into the ground, although Brian Bruney has picked up some of that slack of late.
“I think most of you who follow the game know that he’s one of the top quality relievers in baseball,” general manager Kenny Williams said. “We are happy to have him.”
Just 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Frasor has a live fastball that tops out in the mid 90-mph range. He also has a nasty curveball. He posted a 2.98 ERA in 44 outings and his 1.252 WHIP is the second best he has posted in his seven-year career, all with the Blue Jays.
What isn’t clear is what the right-handed Stewart brings. In three stars with the Blue Jays earlier this season he was 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA, walking five batters in 16 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts.
As recently as last season in the minor leagues, Stewart had a fastball was clocking in as high as 97 mph. He isn’t throwing as hard but can still touch 93-94 mph on the radar gun, although sits a bit lower than that consistently. He relies mainly on a sinking fastball and slider.
Reports seem to vary as to whether Stewart is really a top prospect or not.
“Zack Stewart has been on our radar for a long time, particularly last year, when he was doing some special things in Double-A,” Williams said. “In his call to the big leagues, he’s shown us he has four average pitches and a power changeup to go with the 90 to 94 mph fastball with sink and fade on it as well.”
At Double-A New Hampshire last season, Stewart was 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 26 starts. This season at New Hampshire he was 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA over 16 starts.
Williams said that before the trade, the Blue Jays were about to promote Stewart back to the major leagues. Stewart will begin his White Sox career in the minor leagues and be the White Sox’s next starter in waiting in case of injury or ineffectiveness.