Following a 99-loss season, the Twins had many more transactions than most offseasons. A couple of those transactions may have been considered minor to most, but definitely stood out to me. Shortly following the season, the Twins chose to designate reliever Anthony Slama for assignment. He was removed from the 40 man roster, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Rochester. When the Twins announced the additions to their 40 man roster in late November, they also announced that they had removed David Bromberg from the 40 man roster. Like Slama, he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Rochester.
Although I personally disagreed with both decisions, the Twins were ultimately proven correct in these decisions. In each case, all 29 other major league teams could have claimed them for nothing and chose not to. Because neither has been in the organization long enough to be considered six-year minor league free agents, once they cleared waivers, the Twins were able to send them to the minor leagues. Because each team could have claimed him for nothing, it was unlikely that a team would pay $50,000 to select them in the Rule 5.
In January, the Twins announced that a dozen pitchers would be non-roster invites to spring training, competing with 22 pitchers on the 40-man roster, including Joel Zumaya and Rule 5 pick Terry Doyle. However, David Bromberg and Anthony Slama were not invited to big league camp. In other words, after years of successful pitching in the Twins organization, it took one injury-riddled season for each to seemingly be removed from the Twins short-term plans. I would suggest that Twins fans should not forget about these two talented right-handers.
Bromberg was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2005 out of Palisades High School. He didn’t sign, but instead he went to Santa Ana College and signed with the Twins early in 2006 and a Draft-and-Follow. His career started out well right from the start:
· In 2007, he was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. For Elizabethton, he went 9-0 with a 2.78 ERA and led the league with 81 strikeouts (in 58.1 innings).
· In 2008, he led all of minor league baseball with 177 strikeouts (in 150 innings) with the Beloit Snappers.
· In 2009, he was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year. He went 13-4 with a 2.70 ERA. He led the league with 148 strikeouts in 153.1 innings.
· In 2010, he moved up to New Britain and went 5-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 starts. His strikeout rate to 5.9 K/9 (it had never been below 8.7 K/9 previously). He moved up to Rochester where he went 1-4 in nine starts. However, he posted a 3.98 ERA, a career-low 1.15 WHIP and struckout 8.1 per nine innings.
· Following the 2010 season, Bromberg was an easy choice to add to the Twins 40 man roster (along with Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee and Rene Tosoni).
· Bromberg had a nice, albeit brief, showing at big league camp in 2011 and began the season back with the New Britain Rock Cats.
· Unfortunately, in a late-April start, he was hit in the forearm by a line drive. He broke his ulna and after surgery, he did not pitch again until late in the season.
Like Bromberg, Slama spent two years at Santa Ana College. He then went to the University of San Diego. Following his junior year, the Twins made him their 39th round draft pick in 2006. He didn’t sign, and instead pitched his senior season at USD. However, before the 2007 draft, he signed with the Twins. Like Bromberg, Slama has found success at every level since:
· He then moved up to Beloit where he was 1-1 with 10 saves and a 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings. He struck out 39.
· He put up video game numbers in 2008 in Ft. Myers. He went 4-1 with 25 saves. He posted a 1.01 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 71 innings, he walked 24 and struck out 110 (13.9/9).
· In 2009, he moved up to New Britain where he went 4-2 with 25 saves. In 65.1 innings, he posted a 2.48 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He struckout 93 and walked 32. He ended the sdedason with 19 strikeouts in 14.2 innings in Rochester.
· He began 2010 with the Red Wings and in 65.1 innings, he walked 32 and struckout 74. He was 2-2 with 17 saves and a 2.20 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
· On July 21, 2010, he pitched a scoreless inning against Cleveland. He gave up a hit, walked none and struck out two. He made four other appearances and struggled. In 4.2 innings, he gave up four runs on six hits and five walks. He did strikeout five.
· Slama then spent most of spring training fighting an elbow injury and he struggled in Rochester in April. In 27 games with the Red Wings, he posted his best Red Wings numbers. He had a 3-2 record with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. In 37 innings, he walked 16 and struckout 42. He made two appearances with the Twins in 2011. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings, gave up no hits, walked two and struckout three before being sent back down.
· His season was cut short when in late July an MRI revealed a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right elbow. He was shut down for the season.
The 28-year-old Slama is not a flame-thrower. He sits between 90-92 with the fastball and many say he has a deceptive delivery. His stuff isn’t off the charts, but his strikeout rates absolutely are. He has had control problems at time in the past, but his ability to get strikeouts has really helped him. In the meanwhile, the Twins have signed, claimed and drafted several pitchers who throw in the mid-90s and have even less control and come nowhere near the strikeout numbers (or any of the numbers) that Slama has, even in the upper levels. All Slama has done is dominate at every level.
On the other hand, 24-year-old Bromberg has also pitched well up to AA and in a short AAA stint. His fastball sits 88-91. He has a four-pitch mix. Just two seasons ago, he weighed in at over 260 pounds. He worked incredibly hard and got down to 210 pounds. That, work ethic, was often the question with Bromberg. No longer. He is one of the hardest workers in the organization.
The concern with Slama remains the elbow, although to this point in the spring, his elbow is feeling very good. With Bromberg, he had a broken forearm, but it has healed. His injury was not elbow or shoulder related.
2011 was a lost season for both Anthony Slama and David Bromberg. Both are no longer on the Twins’ 40 man roster. However, Slama will start the 2012 season in the Rochester bullpen where he should continue to dominate. Bromberg will be starting for the New Britain Rock Cats to start the 2012 season. In other words, both will start the 2012 season where they started the 2011 season. It’s possible that both of them will end up the season back on the 40 man roster, and potentially on the big league roster.
Over at TwinsDaily
And there are more blog entries about how soon top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson can return from Tommy John surgery, Aaron Hicks development and more.