Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3 for 1 Special: Kevin Slowey

The Twins rotation for Opening Day is slowly starting to come into focus after Ron Gardenhire made a few announcements in the last week. Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn have been reassured that they will be part of the rotation. That means that Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Kyle Gibson are fighting for the fifth and final spot in the rotation behind Pavano, Liriano, Duensing, and Blackburn.

Over the next three days I will examine each of these three pitchers that are on the bubble in a series I call "3 for 1 Special."

This past weekend there have been discussions that the Twins might be looking to trade Slowey. He is under team control until the end of the 2013 season which could add some value in a trade. Slowey has double-digit wins in each of the last three seasons but during that time he has only pitched over 160 inning once. Injuries have been an issue in recent memory and that might hold some teams back that are in the trade market.

Slowey's best start to a season came in 2009 when he showed the Twins that he deserved to be a member of the starting staff. He amassed 10 wins before the All-Star break and could have been on the way to a 20 win season. One problem that season was a very high ERA of 4.86 over the course of the 16 games that he started. An injury ended any hope of a great season from Slowey in 2009.

ERA has been a stat that Slowey has never thrived with keeping low. Out of his four seasons in the majors he only has one year where he had a sub-4.00 ERA. There must be a reason for all of the double digit win seasons that Slowey has accumulated. The Twins score an astronomical amount of runs when Slowey starts a game. In his career Slowey has started 82 games and out of those 82 games the Twins have scored 6 or more runs in 36 of them.

There are some things that are a challenge to figure out when it comes to statistically analyzing Slowey. For instance, one weakness for Slowey has been the high amount of HR that he allows. For his career he averages 1.4 HR per 9 IP. On the other hand he also averages a decent amount of strikeouts per 9 IP (6.9). His walks are decent at right around 1.5 per 9 IP and that leads to a decent WHIP of 1.282 for his career. This all adds up to some positives and some negatives that are going to add to the question marks that surround Slowey's future with the Twins.

There are always going to be teams looking for starting pitchers to add to their rotation. The Yankees and the Cardinals have been rumored to have interest in Slowey. If the Twins get the right package of players, Slowey could be seeing time in another uniform. There is also the chance that the Twins hang on to Slowey and save him for a rainy day. A team can never have too much starting pitching. Just ask New York and St. Louis...

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