Slama is a bullpen long shot but stays confident

The reliever’s numbers show an ability to get hitters out, but staying healthy may be what earns him a roster spot.

 

– Righthander Anthony Slama was cut from one college team, survived a rocky year at a junior college, rebounded and earned another college scholarship.

He was a low-round draft pick who put up dominant numbers in the minors but hasn’t gotten a break. And when he’s seemed on his way to a big break, he’s broken down.

He’s watched time — and prospects — pass him by. And he’s not considered a favorite to make the Twins bullpen this year.

Yet he tries to carry himself as if he belongs and has tried to pitch like he belongs. He owns a chain that bears the word “perseverance” as he waits for his chance.

He’s 29 years old.

“Whether I do or I don’t, I feel like I can pitch up there,” he said after a workout Monday. “I feel like I can get outs up there. Whether my stuff plays up there or not that it is not for me to decide. I’m just there to get outs. I feel my stuff can get hitters out 10 times out of 10 times.”

His fastball usually sits in the upper 80s, but has good movement. He couples that with some deception, a slider and a changeup he’s fine-tuning to throw against lefthanded hitters.

His tools have been more than good enough in the minors. In 254 minor league games, Slama has a 1.99 ERA with exactly 100 saves, has held opponents to a .186 batting average and averaged 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Last season, Slama posted a 1.24 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 36⅓ innings.

Yet Slama’s major league career consists of seven appearances — five in 2010 and two in 2011. It doesn’t add up.

When the Twins have needed a bullpen arm, they have turned to others.

“Patience has been one of my strong points,” Slama said. “I’ve learned to have patience my whole career.”

Slama was born in Orange, Calif., and signed with Cal-Riverside out of high school. After a redshirt year, he was cut from the team and headed for Santa Ana CC. He posted a 5.54 ERA his year but cut it down to 2.51 the second year, earning a scholarship to the University of San Diego.

The Twins drafted him in the 39th round in 2006 and he quickly flourished. He was the Twins’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2008 and has pitched at Class AAA Rochester the past four seasons.

Injuries played a role in him not getting a shot the past two seasons. His 2011 season ended in July because of a flexor pronator strain. He missed two months last season when a line drive hit by Miguel Tejada caused a right leg contusion.

His statistics scream for a call-up, if he can stay healthy.

“Look at the numbers, and depending on the situation and the league, some of them are certainly valid,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “But ultimately, when it comes to productivity, this is a different league. Health is a piece of the equation with him, a big piece. If he keeps doing the job, he’ll get an opportunity.”

Does Ryan feel he has major league stuff?

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close