ESPN wrote:2004 Season Comparison's to Mark Prior or a young Greg Maddux seemed far-fetched after his 2003 showing, but Jake Peavy proved they were valid last year when he led the majors in ERA and was among the top 10 in strikeout rate. Peavy lost a month's worth of starts due to ligament inflammation in his right forearm in June, but he still managed to win 15 games and walk away with National League Pitcher of the Month honors in August. He also was the pitcher who ended Barry Bonds' consecutive games with a homer streak at seven. Twice Peavy struck out 11 batters in a game, and six times he struck out at least nine opponents.
Pitching With a loose-armed, three-quarters delivery, Peavy delivers a fastball that ranges from 92-96 MPH. He also has a plus change, a two-plane slider and a curve he'll throw in any count. His changeup arguably is his best pitch. He's an intense competitor with great focus, and he rarely lets hitters escape with a mistake once he gets ahead.
Defense & Hitting If Peavy has any flaw, it's that he sometimes focuses too much on the hitters and completely ignores the men on base. Big league basestealers are 26-for-28 when he is on the mound. He'll never win a Gold Glove, but he does an adequate job of fielding his position. When Peavy is at the plate, he takes good-looking swings although it's rare anything comes of it. He's an adequate bunter.
2005 Outlook Padres GM Kevin Towers has been insisting for years that Peavy was the next Maddux. With his 2004 season as evidence, Peavy should get perennial consideration when it comes to the NL Cy Young discussion. His inflamed ligament gave the team a scare, especially with him being so young. But his pitch efficiency continues to improve every year, so concerns about serious injury are gradually fading, while the expectations of greatness grow.
Last edited by wrveres on Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:56 am, edited 6 times in total.
As well as several young Padres are pitching now, the best could be yet to come. "They're good, and they're going to be great," said veteran outfielder Rondell White. The young arms are on a roll, one that starter Jake Peavy lengthened last night when he struck out eight of the first 10 batters, an intimidating start that sent the Padres toward a 7-3 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. White gave Peavy a 2-0 lead when he belted his first double of the season, a two-out drive in the third inning. Shane Victorino, the No. 8 hitter, brought in two more runs with another two-out hit, a double in the eighth inning, and Xavier Nady hit a two-run home run as the Padres exceeded their combined run total over the previous four games. Led by their pitchers, the Padres have won their last three games. Three starters, (Peavy, Oliver Perez and Adam Eaton) each under the age of 26, have combined for a 3-0 record, to go with an ERA of 0.92 and 27 strikeouts in 192/3 innings. And they've done it on the road, where the staff posted an ERA of 7.87 in the first nine games. "They're tough kids," said manager Bruce Bochy, who had the long haul in mind when he lifted Peavy after just 82 pitches and the Padres ahead 5-1 with one out in the seventh. "They are our future." Likened to A's standout Tim Hudson, Peavy (4-1) threw fastballs past the Reds even when they anticipated them. His hard ones appeared to leap above bats and were clocked at up to 95 mph. "I was very blessed with good stuff tonight," Peavy said. "Those nights don't happen too often. You just try to take advantage of them. Sometimes, the ball comes out of your hand really good." Bochy said pitches thrown by the slender 21-year-old probably arrive sooner than hitters would expect. "He's gifted with a great arm, but it's a nice, loose arm," Bochy said. "He creates leverage when he throws. He surprises some people with his velocity. And he's good at changing speeds, too. That's a special ability. That's hard to teach." Peavy's success last night, Bochy said, owed in part to his failures early in his previous outing, when the Rockies tagged him for six runs before the fifth inning. Bochy kept Peavy in that lopsided defeat, partly because he wanted Peavy to change speeds and leave the game with confidence. Peavy responded with two scoreless innings. The right-hander, who began last night's game by striking out the side in the first, said he "very much" benefited from his strong finish in Denver. "After what I gave up early in Colorado, it meant a lot for me to settle down and pitch there," Peavy said. "That place is not easy to pitch. It gave me something to build on between starts." Facing the Reds at lower altitude had to be far more appealing. Cincinnati hitters lead the league in strikeouts. Nady's third home run, off starter Jeff Austin (0-1), inflated the lead to 4-0 in the sixth. It was 5-0 after Ramon Vazquez's seventh-inning sacrifice fly, and 7-2 after Victorino smacked an 0-2 pitch from reliever Brian Reith into the left-center gap. Jose Guillen homered off Peavy to open the home seventh. Peavy walked the next hitter, Sean Casey, and gave up an infield single to Austin Kearns. After getting a forceout from Aaron Boone, Peavy gave way to Mike Matthews, who retired Adam Dunn on a sacrifice fly that scored Casey. Luther Hackman retired Juan Castro for the third out. "I still felt like I had a lot left," Peavy said. "I had only (82) pitches, but Boch thought right. The bullpen has been awfully good . . . It's just a good night for the Padres." sdunion 04/06/03
Young Jake Peavy is finding out that one pitch can ruin a pretty good ballgame. For the second outing in a row, the 21-year-old dangled the wrong pitch at the wrong time. And for the second outing a row, an opponent blasted the pitch for a three-run homer, which proved insurmountable for the slow, power-short Padres, who have lost eight of nine games. "Two pitches have cost me two ballgames," Peavy said last night from Olympic Stadium, where an hour earlier Wil Cordero hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth inning to carry the Expos to a 4-2 victory. "My last two outings, take away one inning from both of them, I've thrown the ball about as good as I can throw it, I guess." A mistake by any Padres pitcher can guarantee defeat because the offense's idea of an onslaught is three singles in an inning. The Padres, who are on pace to lose more than 100 games, have scored fewer than three runs in a staggering 41 percent of their games. When the club lost cleanup man Phil Nevin, an already-suspect offense figured to be less productive, but in Nevin's place, Rondell White has produced decent returns (eight home runs, 18 RBI). "We're not getting a lot of production out of the bottom of the lineup," said manager Bruce Bochy. "There isn't much there." Hernandez (3-1) contrasted Peavy (4-3) in one crucial regard: He shut out his foe one inning after being given the lead. The Padres scored a run in the sixth, sending Peavy to the mound with a 2-1 lead. Poof: Vladimir Guerrero drove a single to center field and took third on Brad Wilkerson's double, and Cordero socked Peavy's next pitch into the left-field seats. ... A veteran, Cordero seemed to know an inside fastball was coming, and Peavy said the right-hander "cheated" by starting his swing earlier in anticipation of a hard inside pitch. In his previous outing, Peavy floated a change-up to the Pirates' Jack Wilson, a right-hander who hit it for a three-run homer. "I guess I established too much of a pattern coming in there (to Cordero)," Peavy said. "The pitch was where I wanted it. I just tried to tie him up with a fastball and not let him get much on the ball." ... sdunion
Tom Krasovic wrote:UNION-TRIBUNE February 28, 2005
PEORIA, Ariz. – Padres General Manager Kevin Towers said yesterday that he and pitcher Jake Peavy's agent have agreed to terms on a four-year contract, plus a club option on Peavy's first year of free agency in 2009.
Peavy's total guarantee is worth close to $15 million. Towers said the club will announce the pact after arranging an insurance policy for the 23-year-old right-hander, who went 15-6 with a National League-best 2.27 ERA last season.
"That shouldn't be a problem at all," Towers said. "Jake hasn't had any real major injuries in the past where there would be any type of exclusion."
Peavy, who recently underwent an MRI exam and X-rays and has received full medical clearance, missed six starts last season because of inflammation near his right elbow. After Peavy returned, the Padres won his initial nine starts, and the pitcher said the ailment did not return.
The insurance policy protects the Padres should Peavy suffer a major injury. Peavy can trigger higher earnings if he reaches thresholds based on innings pitched and Cy Young Award votes. Most of those escalators apply to the option year in '09.
"It was a matter of saying, 'How can we protect each other?' " said Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod. "It's a good deal for both sides."
Peavy had said he would test his first-time arbitration rights next offseason if the sides couldn't strike a multiyear deal. The Padres could've signed Peavy for about $500,000 this year and proceeded year by year, but Towers said he "hated the idea of going to arbitration."
In return for what Axelrod termed "lifetime" security financially, Peavy sacrificed a potentially larger salary, much as fellow pitcher Brian Lawrence did two years ago when agreeing to a four-year guarantee.
Scoop Malinowski SportsLine.com wrote:The Bio File: Jake Peavy
Status: Pitcher for the San Diego Padres; could be a Cy Young Award contender in 2005.
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180 DOB: May 31, 1981, in Mobile, Ala.
Childhood Heroes: "Shoot, man, my dad (Danny) and my grandfather -- as far as people I looked up to and most wanted to be like. As far as baseball players go -- Nolan Ryan was always a guy I loved. I watched Roger Clemens a lot."
Hobbies/Interests: "Love the outdoors, love to hunt and fish and do things that rednecks like to do," he says, smiling.
Nicknames: "Jake, Peav."
Early Baseball Memory: "Some of the best memories in my life are just being at the park all day, along with the other kids, just hangin' out there from 10 o'clock in the morning to the last game was played at night. Playing wall ball, then it was your time to play. Just the whole experience in general, nothing, not one incident stands out."
Favorite Movie: Top Gun.
Musical Tastes: "Country, especially old country, Hank Williams."
Favorite TV Shows: "I really don't watch a lot of TV. Maybe SportsCenter during the season, a lot. The Outdoor Channel in the offseason. ..."
Pregame Feeling/Mindset: "I just try to relax myself. I mean, nothing really anymore different that day ... you're a little bit focused on what you gotta do that day. I'm still rather relaxed, hang out with the family, go to the ballpark, get your game-face on. Go out there ... it's nothing that really much more of a different day other than a tad bit more excitement because you know you get to play as a starting pitcher. You sat around for four days, you know that one day is yours. So a little extra excitement in the air that specific day."
Favorite Meal: "It'd be meat and potatoes -- any steak and baked potato really." Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Chocolate."
First Job: "Was mowing lawns in the summer time when I was in high school." First Car: "1988 red Nissan Pathfinder."
Greatest Sports Moment: "Probably my Major League debut in 2002 against the New York Yankees. Starting that game on national television ... pretty awesome." (How did it go?) "It went well. Threw six innings and gave up three hits and an earned run. And end up losing the game one-nothing." [smiles].
Most Painful Moment: "If you can call it a baseball moment -- probably in high school ... I lost my grandfather (Blanche) I was telling you about. He was probably the heart and soul of my whole baseball childhood memories. That's the reason I really care about and love the game as much as I do was because of him. And losing him directly affected my baseball. And that same day I made my Major League debut; it was the happiest but also one of the saddest days in my life. Because he wasn't there."
Closest Baseball Friends: "I'd have to say Scotty Linebrink, Brian Lawrence and Adam Eaton are obviously the three I'm probably closest to on the ballclub. And I've still got some great friends -- Brian Reisinger in Portland, Oregon, our Triple-A club. John Chesire -- a guy I came up with, he's out of the game now. (They) are all guys that feel like brothers to me."
Funniest Players Encountered: "Brian Buchanan. Andy Ashby has got to be right there on that list as well."
Toughest Competitors: "Fiercest competitors ... that's hard. I don't know. It's really hard to pull one name out of the hat there."
Favorite Uniforms: "I like the San Diego Padres home white uniforms. It's the first one I wear and hopefully I wear it for a long time."
Favorite Ballpark: "My favorite ballpark ... my favorite place to play on the road other than San Diego would be St. Louis Busch Stadium."
People Qualities Most Admired: "Just a humble and honest person. Just a person that is straight-forward. That's the way I feel like I am. You know where you stand with somebody. Just a person that's not all that prideful. A humble, giving-type person. We've got a lot of them around here ..."
Favorite Vacation Spot: "Maybe a cabin up on the Alabama River."
Funny Baseball Memory: "Last year I did kind of a somersault off the mound where I turned my ankle. It wasn't funny at the time but now, I guess, everybody looks back on it. I really don't have too many funny ones, I guess. Every day is a joke around here." (Good atmosphere with this team?) "Awesome. It's a wonderful team. We've got a lot of guys where team comes before the players. So it's something that speaks volumes about the type of guys we have here in the clubhouse."
Tom Krasovic wrote: PEORIA, Ariz. – March 9, 2005 - It's rare that a 23-year-old pitcher uses spring training as an experimental lab for the major league season ahead.
But it's also rare when a 23-year-old leads the majors in ERA, as Jake Peavy did last season.
"It's nice to go out there and not try to win a job," Peavy said yesterday after his three interesting innings in the Padres' 18-5 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Peavy threw "front-door" and "back-door" cut fastballs, and change-ups in odd counts. He didn't throw a fit when Geoff Jenkins hit one of his fastballs about 420 feet for a home run, the only run he allowed.
"It's all about getting ready for the season," said Peavy, the NL's youngest ERA champion since the Mets' Dwight Gooden in 1985.
A few years ago, Peavy treated Cactus League games as death struggles.
In fact, his major league camp debut three years ago angered some Padres officials, who feared he was throwing too strenuously for a 20-year-old just coming off winter workouts. Peavy, extricating himself from a jam caused by Padres misfits, threw 96 mph in a 36-pitch session that was double what officials preferred.
"I promise you: Today I wasn't throwing 96," Peavy said yesterday.
Back then, Peavy said he threw more intensely in winter workouts so he could impress the brass from Day One. In the last two offseasons, he tempered his winter sessions. The plan, he said, is to be strong in October for the playoffs.
"The biggest thing right now is my arm strength isn't there, and that's to be expected," Peavy said. "It'll come around."
April 7, 2005 - Jake Peavy will set aside his Southern manners when he starts tonight's Padres home opener against Pittsburgh.
To know Jake Peavy, you have to know Semmes, Ala.
More precisely, you have to know the lakes and the woods, and the stretch of Highway 98 known as Moffat Road as it passes through the rural suburb between Mobile and the Mississippi border.
"It's Bible Belt and I'm proud to say I was raised in the Bible Belt," Peavy said recently. "I was raised to say 'Yes, ma'am' and 'No, sir,' to treat people the way you want to be treated.
"But I was also raised with a competitive streak inside me . . . to have that fire. In everything I ever played, I wanted to win . . . to beat the other team.
"I want to beat you with every ounce of my being."
The 23-year-old right-hander who will take the mound tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Padres' home opener at Petco Park is "an unusual young man," pitching coach Darren Balsley said.
"In some ways, Jake is mature well beyond his years," Balsley said. "And in some ways, he's like a kid having the time of his life."
No one knows this better than Peavy, who last year became the youngest pitcher to win the National League ERA title since Dwight Gooden (21) in 1985. But he stressed that success or failure won't change who he is as a man or as a husband.
"I don't want people to think of me going home and having people think I'm better than I am," he said. "I'm still that kid who didn't have a dime walking along Graham Road. I remember where I come from."
And should he ever need a reminder, there is Katie to give him a nudge.
Katie and Jake Peavy married when he was 19.
But they have known each other since before Jake can remember.
"Katie tells me what it was like when I was 2 or 3 years old," he joked. "She was much older than me at the time, 3 or 4."
The Peavys and Alfords both went to the Moffat Road Church. Katie Alford lived on North Graham Road, Jake Peavy on South Graham Road. They were separated by Highway 98 . . . and little else.
"Katie was at the first birthday party I can remember," Jake said. "She was pretty much at the first of everything I can remember. As we got older, I dated a few other girls for a while. I always wound up asking myself, why?
"Katie and I . . . well, I got extremely, extremely lucky to find a girl like Katie. I couldn't have picked a better person. She is so giving."
Not that it has always been easy. Both of Katie Peavy's pregnancies were difficult, and at one point they were told there was risk to both mother and baby.
"We just went back to the way we were raised," Peavy said. "That got us through, along with a lot of great friends like Adam and Meggan Eaton and Phil and Kristin Nevin."
The Peavys also share a love of the outdoors and the Semmes lifestyle.
"Katie grew up the same way Jake did, although I think her dad was more into fishing," said Danny Peavy, Jake's father. "She's probably better at fishing than shooting. Debbie and I don't think our son could have found a better wife."
The Peavys have already made one major lifestyle decision. Semmes is their home. And when Jake II, now 4, starts school, Katie and the boys will live in Semmes during the school year.
"It all goes back to home," Jake said. "We want the boys to be raised the way we were raised. He'll go to school in Alabama and to be close to both families."
Not that things can possibly stay the same, even in Semmes, pop. 1,200.
"When I was growing up, we had a Dairy Queen and a Hickory Pit barbecue," Peavy said. "Now a Super Wal-Mart is coming in. I almost hate to see Semmes change."
Peavy is building a retreat on 3,000 acres on the Alabama River near Miller's Ferry, where he will fish and hunt with Jake II and Wyatt.
"I have to have a getaway from Semmes," he said.
That's because Peavy has become a hero in his hometown.
"When he comes home, people bombard him," said Danny Peavy.
The problem, said his former coach, is Jake.
Andy Robbins coached Peavy at St. Paul's Episcopal School, a 1,600-student kindergarten-through-12th grade school in Semmes. As a senior, Peavy was 13-0 pitching and hit .443 with eight homers, leading his team to a state championship.
"But he was so humble," Robbins said. "All of Semmes seemed to be his extended family. And he wasn't like this big athlete. He was not big in stature. But he worked so hard and was so tenacious, so focused. People here love that in a person."
Peavy hoped to pitch for the University of Alabama, but when the school offered him only $250 a semester to cover books, he reluctantly accepted a full scholarship at Auburn. Then the Padres drafted him in the 15th round in 1999, and it was off to the pros instead of college.
Robbins remembers getting a call from Peavy's father the day Jake was called up to the majors in June 2002.
"Jake's dad said that the Padres had called Jake up and that he was going to be facing the Yankees," Robbins said. "And he said to meet him at the airport."
Not only Robbins, but Peavy's Little League coach, aunts, uncles, grandparents and a few friends. If Peavy was going to the majors, so were the people who helped him get there.
"When we got to San Diego, there were about 25 of us," Robbins said. "Jake had invited us all, and he wasn't making that much then. Katie was there to greet us (at the airport.)"
When it comes time to pitch, Peavy is no longer Mr. Nice Guy.
"Something goes off," he said. "Not at 9:30 in the morning or 4:30 in the afternoon. When I put on the headphones before the game, I get right mentally."
The music will be country, and not the pop Western of the moment. The sounds could be Alabama . . . down home. And inside, the fire will be building.
"I don't know any other way to go," said Peavy, who thought he might be a freak of nature until he saw Roger Clemens during an All-Star tour of Japan last fall.
"I had no idea he was as fiery as he is, as I am. The way he went out there that first game in Japan, it fired me up. I saw that in him. I can relate to that."
And Clemens related to Peavy, saying, "He impressed the heck out of me."
Not just his stuff, mind you. His approach, too. Pour every ounce of your soul into the game.
"Life is simple where I come from," Peavy said. "To become a husband and father early in life is very common where I'm from. You don't have any choice but to mature, focus and work hard. Being married put a perspective in my life. I'm committed."
With some values not shared by every ballplayer. He is, for example, along with Trevor Hoffman, the most outspoken of the Padres against performance-enhancing drugs. Make that any and all illegal drugs.
And last year he made an unusual decision as he approached negotiating his first major contract.
His agent at the time, Scott Boras, is known to wring every last penny out of a franchise for any player, much less one with Peavy's numbers. Peavy decided to change to Barry Axelrod, who had closer ties with the Padres.
"I like Mr. Boras and I knew he'd do a great job for me," Peavy said. "But money is not why I'm pitching. I changed because of my values and beliefs. I didn't want the Padres thinking I was upset or . . . you know what I mean.
"For me, changing agents was the best move I ever made. Please change that to second-or third-best."