Prospect Highlight: Kevin Slowey

While it isn’t official yet, it is looking more and more like Minnesota Twins will be calling up top prospect Kevin Slowey to take Ramon Ortiz‘s spot in the rotation.  If the move occurs, Slowey would make his first start on Friday against the Oakland A’s.  As such, why don’t we take a look at Slowey to determine how much value he has in fantasy leagues going forward.  Here is a chart of his minor league numbers since 2005:

2005 | Low-A | 64.0 IP | 9.60 K/9 | 1.11 BB/9 | 36.9% GB
2006 | High-A | 89.0 IP | 9.97 K/9 | 0.91 BB/9 | 42.7% GB
2006 | Double A | 59.1 IP | 7.89 K/9 | 1.87 BB/9 | 39.0% GB
2007 | Triple A | 64.0 IP | 8.02 K/9 | 0.70 BB/9 | 43.9% GB

At the A levels, Slowey was dominant.  He had supreme K rates and great BB rates.  When he hit Double A though, he seemed to find a challenge.  His K rate slipped under 8.00 and his BB rate jumped up to nearly 2.00.  Going into this season, I was curious to see how Slowey would react to the jump to Triple A.  He seems to have adjusted well, posting better numbers than he did in Double A.  So what do his prospects look like for his jump to the majors?

Slowey has fantastic control, and I expect him to continue this trend in the majors.  He won’t be posting a 0.70 BB/9 anytime soon, but a BB/9 under 2.50 seems to be a good possibility.  One of the strongest factors working against Slowey is his fly ball tendencies.  Players who give up a lot of fly balls also give up a lot of Home Runs, and Slowey should see his share of them.  If he could somehow keep his ground ball rate around around 43%, like he did in High-A and Triple A, his Home Run rate would be respectable.  His sub-40% showings in Low-A and Double A indicate that a ground ball rate closer to 40% is more likely for Slowey in the majors.

Because of his low ground ball rate, Slowey’s value will be greatly determined by his ability to generate strikeouts.  He has shown this ability in the minors, but in Double and Triple A his K/9 hovered around 8.00.  I think it is reasonable to expect this number to drop to the 6.50 to 7.00 range in the majors.  Coupled with a 2.50 BB/9, Slower’s K/BB rate would be a decent 2.75.

So in what types of leagues should we pick up Slowey?  I’d say Slowey should definitely be owned in most AL-only leagues, for now anyway.  It’s not impossible he’ll put up a line like this:  6.00 K/9 | 3.00 BB/9 | 38% GB.  If he does, he would lose a lot of his value.  Let’s say he puts up a line like this, though: 7.00 K/9 | 2.50 BB/9 | 42% GB.  Then, it would be reasonable to own Slowey in 12 and 14 team mixed leagues.  If a guy like Yovanni Gallardo or Adam Miller is still sitting on your Waiver Wire and you have a top waiver priority number, pass on Slowey, and wait for one of these guys to be recalled.

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