In the latest edition of Ask the Expert, I had an opportunity to pose 5 questions to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune (click here to view his blog). He does a tremendous job in covering the Padres who, let’s face it, have a ton of questions surrounding them as we head into 2009. In the interview he helped to shed some light onto some of the younger players on the roster, as well as Jake Peavy and the rest of the roster. I want to thank him for his time, as he certainly gave us some great insight.
Let’s take a look at what he had to say:
1) The on-again, off-again Jake Peavy rumors continue to surface. Can you handicap the chances of him being traded at this point, from what you’ve heard? How do you see him performing in 2009?
Tom Krasovic: Better than average between now and Aug. 1. If he is with the SDP, I see an ERA of about 2.90 over 190 innings.
2) With Trevor Hoffman now in Milwaukee, how do you see Heath Bell handling the closer’s duties? Is there anyone else who may get a chance in that role, possibly from outside the organization?
Tom Krasovic: Doubt we’ll see Bell match his great season of 2007, should see something more in line with his 2008 numbers. He certainly has the pitches and the accuracy to handle closing. But you really have no idea whether a guy is fit for closing long term until he blows a few saves. SDP have pretty much given the job to Bell. No other strong candidates on the horizon.
3) Chase Headley or Kevin Kouzmanoff. Which player do you see being the most likely to take the next step?
Tom Krasovic: Very tough question. Headley, but he may take a half-step backward before it happens. He has some holes that were exploited last season and if he’s going to become the hitter he wants to be, it may take some time to adjust for those flaws..
4) After Peavy and Chris Young, the Padres rotation appears to be full of question marks. Is there any pitcher in particular that you could see emerging as a steady option?
Tom Krasovic: Too many questions marks surrounding all of them. Keep an eye on Mat Latos, though. He hasn’t pitched up low Single-A, but he has a big arm and is a good athlete. He will be in major league camp. If he shows improved maturity, he might set himself for a look-see in September.
5) The roster seems to be full of young players at 2B (Matt Antonelli) and C (Nick Hundley). You also could have a young SS (Everth Cabrera?) manning the position as well as throwing Kyle Blanks’ name into the mix. Who has the best chance to succeed in 2009?
Tom Krasovic: At the major league level, probably Hundley and Venable. Hundley throws beter than average, hits for some power and works extremely hard. He doesn’t project as a frontline catcher, but he’ll take it as far as his talent allows and could be a guy who gets 100 starts this year. Venable probably projects as an extra outfielder, but there is some upside there. His athleticism and work ethic give him a chance to be more than a fifth outfielder. Blanks and Antonelli are capable of having big years in Triple-A, which they need to do. The SDP want to keep Cabrera. Not realistic to expect him to contribute a lot this year but keep an eye on him for 2010 or 2011.
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