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May 1, 2013

Fantasy Freestyle

A Fast Start for Slowey

by Paul Sporer


I planned to write about Kevin Slowey regardless of how he performed on Tuesday night. He is a longtime favorite of mine who has looked great early on with his best work coming in that Tuesday effort against the Mets, as he went eight strong allowing just a single run on four hits with eight strikeouts. He walked nobody. In fact, he has a 14-to-0 K:BB in his last two outings, spanning 14 innings. I won’t fault you for not remembering Slowey.

He was pretty good in his first “full” season with the Twins back in 2008, throwing 160 1/3 innings of 3.99 ERA and 1.15 WHIP ball, along with a sharp 5.1 K:BB. After that, it was a series of disappointments, as he was plagued by injuries and home runs. I remained enamored with the K:BB rates, though. From 2009-2011 (he didn’t pitch at the MLB level in 2012), he had a 5.01 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 305 2/3 innings, but a sparkling 4.6 K:BB. If you played in any leagues with me, you remember Slowey as “that guy that Paul keeps taking and acting like he got one over on us with his last-round pick.” Like any great setup, I was just waiting for the payoff that was due to come five years later.

His Problems

The issue with Slowey back with Minnesota was that he couldn’t command his stuff within the zone consistently enough to have success. Combine that with his fly-ball tendency, and trouble ensued. Slowey was in the zone 52.3 percent of the time coming into 2013, the 29th-highest mark among starting pitchers. His fly-ball rate in that same span was the highest among starters. Mix that with his subpar command, sprinkle in the fact that he works at 89-90 mph from the right side, and you end with up with a 1.4 HR/9. He gave up three more walks than homers in those three seasons.

His Injuries

In addition to the home-run issues, Slowey was having trouble actually staying on the field to improve as a pitcher. Even in his 2008 season that went well, he missed time due to a strained right bicep—an injury that wouldn’t soon leave him. In 2009 he was cut down by a strained right wrist in early July and that eventually required season-ending surgery limiting him to three months. The 2010 injury was a strained right triceps, and then his 2011 barely got off the ground before the right bicep injury struck again on April 9. He was limited to just 49 Triple-A innings with the Indians organization thanks to a right lat strain that kept him out from mid-May through the end of the season.

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<< Previous Article
Raising Aces: There's ... (04/30)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Nat... (04/30)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Ten... (05/02)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Scouting the Draft: Ca... (05/01)

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