Thursday, March 18, 2010
Prospect #17 Anthony Slama
Draft: 2006, 39th round
Levels played in 2009: AA New Britain and AAA Rochester
Opening Day Age: 26
It might be safe to say that Anthony Slama has been the best relief pitcher in the entire minor leagues since he debuted in 2007. Over the past 3 years, Slama has pitched in 5 levels with the following stat line.
140 appearances, 184 innings
271 strikeouts. 13.2 K/9 and a 3.66 K/BB ratio
For lack of a better word he is dominant. In 2009 he was finally promoted to New Britain and then earned a mid season promotion to Rochester. Anthony Slama has been the closer right out of the gate at each level he has pitched. The question is if he has major league closer stuff. When looking at the stat line it is surprising to know that Slama works generally with a fastball that is 89 to 92 MPH. He also has a slider/change up pitch that mows down right handers. If there is something Slama does struggle with it is getting lefties out who his .292 off him in 2009.
Slama hides the ball extremely well against right handed hitters. His delivery allows his fastball to be sneaky fast and his slider look like a fall off the table pitch. He is able to keep the ball down in the zone to avoid the long ball. He has only allowed 5 home runs in his professional career, although all 5 of those came in his stint in New Britain.
With the injury to Joe Nathan their is a spot open in the bullpen. Also it has been made pretty clear that the Twins want to move Pat Neskek along rather slowly. Slama is still currently in big league camp and has impressed the coaching staff. He pitched 3 innings and has not given up a hit and has struck out 6. I would not be surprised if he broke camp with the Twins. But if he is sent back to Rochester it might now be for long. He definitely has the stuff to be a great situational righty out of the pen. And personally I can not wait for the nick name possibilities for him. My first one is Anthony Slama-Jama. And the other is Antony Slamas the door shut on the opposition.
ETA: He either breaks camp with Twins or is up in May or June
Projection: A late inning reliever who might get a shot to be a closer at some point in his career.
MLB Comparison: Not the same motion at all, but Slama has a delivery that is still hard to pick up and he gets strikeouts the same way Pat Neskek has in the past.