Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Slama Ready to Make His Debut

OK, I'm kinda sorry that "Stop: Slama-time" was already taken, but I apparently wasn't the first one to think of it, so I had to go with something a little more pedestrian. It looks like after some dominating minor league performances and a whole bunch of clamor from the blogosphere, Anthony Slama is finally getting his shot at the bigs. After a series against the White Sox where Twins pitching was generally very good, it was just as bad last night during a 10-4 loss to Cleveland, allowing 20 hits. With Brian Duensing poised to join the rotation and Alex Burnett continuing to look overmatched, this seems like the ideal spot to see what Slama can do.

Slama seems to be a bit of a mystery in that he has been incredibly dominant in the minor leagues with, by most accounts, raw stuff that is not overpowering. Here's a rundown of his overall minor league stats:
  • ERA: 1.83
  • Saves: 85
  • K/9: 12.8
  • BB/9: 3.7
  • K/BB: 3.42
  • WHIP: 1.037
Those are some impressive numbers at any level, and this season at Rochester, Slama is sporting a 1.71 ERA with 64 K in 52.2 innings. This guy certainly deserves a shot, but how will his stuff play in the majors? Slama has a basic arsenal of three pitches: fastball, changeup and slider. His fastball sits only in the high-80s to low-90s, so he relies on changing speeds and a somewhat deceptive delivery to fool hitters. He's proved he can get it done in the minors, but it's no certainty that he'll be able to translate that success. His 60th percentile PECOTA projection has him at a 3.99 ERA, with 83 Ks in 74 innings, good for 1.4 WARP. I would assume those innings totals would be less given his later call-up, but those are effective enough numbers. Although it's not clear (and probably very unlikely) that Slama will dominate hitters like he did in the minors, there's no doubt that he deserves a chance to prove it, and I'm happy that he now has that chance. Here's to the Twins getting him a nice lead tonight for a low-pressure debut.

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