Posted at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
It’s official, Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey will make his major league debut Friday night at Oakland. Normally demoting a veteran starter to the bullpen and calling up a 23-year-old with no experience is an act of desperation and not something a contending team does.
But Slowey isn’t your average rookie. He’s the latest in a string of Twins phenoms and currently leads the International League with a 1.54 ERA.
I’ve yet to see him pitch, but I hear he’s another Brad Radke with pinpoint accuracy, a fastball in the low 90s and the ability to throw any of his pitches for strikes. Hopefully the comparison to Radke doesn’t also include a propensity for giving up homeruns in the first inning.
In Rochester this season, Slowey has recorded 57 strikeouts while only issuing just five free passes. At any level of play, an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is virtually unheard of! In 2005, Carlos Silva led the majors with a 7.89 K/BB ratio.
In his minor league career, Slowey has gone 17-9 with a 1.87 ERA. In the 284 innings he's thrown, he fanned 292 while only walking 35.
Could this be the Francisco Liriano-type move that gets the Twins back in the AL Central race?
But the Twins aren’t as far back as they were in 2006, so Slowey doesn’t need to match Liriano’s numbers to help his team contend. Just eating up some innings and giving the team a chance to compete could be huge if Carlos Silva and Boof Bonser continue to pitch as they have of late. Last year Liriano had to step in and be the Twins second starter. This year they have a lot more depth in the rotation.
An added benefit of the move is that the Twins will give their relievers some much-needed relief. The team needs someone that can give them some innings in long relief now that Matt Guerrier is being used primarily as a setup man. Ortiz still has some stuff left and pitching in relief might help him get back on track. He looked okay finishing last night’s game. Plus, he can’t possibly be any worse than Julio DePaula.