Anthony Slama will finally join the Minnesota Twins. Alex Burnett has been sent down, as his recent troubles became overwhelming. He's allowed multiple hits in each of his last six appearances, and only one of those appearances lasted more than one inning. He also gave up 8 runs over that span, which covers just 6 1/3 innings. Not that you want to make a decision based on two games, but he struggled to throw strikes both times, getting just 20 of his 41 pitches over the plate.
But back to the real story--Slama. Twins bloggers have been critical of the Twins' handling of him and complaining about their unwillingness to give him a chance for years now. As early as July 2, 2008, Aaron Gleeman wrote: "Keeping Slama at Ft. Myers is absurd. Not only are his numbers there absolutely incredible and not only did he dominate between rookie-ball and low Single-A in his pro debut last season, but Slama is already 24 years old. He was a 39th-round pick after a so-so career at the University of San Diego, so the Twins are understandably skeptical that they have something special in Slama, but there's clearly no need for a 24-year old to be eviscerating Single-A hitters."
That's pretty much been the story ever since, as the Twins show no confidence and Slama while he relentlessly mows down hitters at every level. Just look at the numbers:
Rookie: 7.1 IP, 12.27 K/9, 1.23 BB/9, .091 BAA, 0.88 FIP
Low-A: 24.1 IP, 14.42 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, .172 BAA , 1.23 FIP
High-A: 71.0 IP, 13.94 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, .173 BAA, 1.24 FIP
Double-A: 65.1 IP, 12.81 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, .201 BAA, 2.91 FIP
Triple-A: 68.1 IP, 10.93 K/9, 4.21 BB/9**
Yes, the strikeout rate has dropped at every level, save his brief stint at Rookie ball, but it remains outstanding at 10.93 per 9 innings. And the walk rate is worrisome, as it has generally climbed upward to a pretty high mark, but the success he has experienced can't be ignored. The best batters have ever hit against him is .212 in his first stint at AAA in 2009! Over his time in the minors, Slama has accumulated 335 strikeouts against 98 walks in 236.1 IP. That's a strikeout rate of 12.76 and walk rate of 3.73. His WHIP is 1.04 and his ERA is an outstanding 1.83.
This is a guy who absolutely deserves an opportunity, so it's great to see him finally get it despite the Twins' reluctance to give it to him.
**FanGraphs for some reason does not have data for 2010, so I don't have his BAA or FIP for AAA.