What was your favorite Anthony Slama moment as a Minnesota Twins’ pitcher? On Monday, the Twins released the right-handed reliever to make room on the 40-man roster for recently-signed righty Cody Eppley according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis’ Star Tribune. Eppley was last seen in the majors with the New York Yankees in 2012 where he was largely used as a right-handed specialist. Over his career, righties have managed a meager .232 batting average off of Eppley, compared to a .358 batting average Eppley has against lefties so it is no mystery what role Eppley would likely have with the Twins.
Eppley’s fastball reaches the upper 80s mph and he features a changeup and low- 80s slider to complement his fastball. His sidearm delivery gives hitters a tough angle by which to pick up the ball and it is that deception that has made Eppley a high strikeout pitcher during his career. In 55 career big-league innings over three seasons, Eppley has struck out 38 and walked 22 which demonstrates that although he can rack up his fair share of strikeouts, he still can be a tad bit wild at times. Eppley has been assigned to Triple-A and will begin his assignment there immediately.
The release of Slama signals a huge falling out of favor of a once highly promising prospect in the Twins’ minor league system. Slama has not seen the majors since 2011 and was off to a difficult start this season by posting a 13.50 ERA in 13 1/3 innings for Triple-A Rochester. However, Slama was a very successful pitcher at the minor leagues for the Twins—racking up a total of 102 saves during his seven year minor league career—who never seemed to get the opportunity needed to showcase his skills at the majors. The reason for this was believed to be linked to management’s belief that Slama didn’t have good enough stuff to get out big-league hitters; however, it is awfully tough to come to that conclusion when Slama appeared in only seven career games, going seven innings and posting a 5.14 ERA with eight strikeouts and seven walks.
Slama is young enough, at age 26, to likely get another shot with some other club this season. He has also shown enough promise with the Twins during his minor league career to merit another organization taking a chance on him and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Slama break through into the majors with another organization if given the opportunity because I believe Slama has the tools to be a serviceable big-league reliever on some ballclub.
Although it didn’t work out with the Twins, I wish Slama the best of luck wherever his career takes him. Hopefully Eppley was worth the risk involved with this roster move because if you ask me, Slama still has more upside and promise than what Eppley can give the Twins. Maybe the Twins have information on the situation that is unavailable to me or maybe they see something in Eppley that they don’t in Slama.
That may be the case, but I just don’t see it.