D.O.B. January 6, 1984
Slama was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2007, after finishing up his senior year at the University of San Diego. He also spent time with Santa Ana College, after playing his scholastic ball at Mater Dei (CA) High School. He was drafted by the Twins in the 39th round of the 2006 draft, but decided to go back to University of San Diego for his third senior season.
During his two years at San Diego, Slama appeared in a combined 49 games, posting a 3.18 during his final season. In 2005, Slama had a 6.18 earned run average, so his senior season was a huge success. Once he signed with the Twins, Slama headed right to Elizabethton, where he joined the Twins bullpen.
Slama appeared in only six games for the Twins, posting an earned run average under 3.00, and was promptly promoted to Beloit of the Midwest League. The young right-hander was just as dominant for the Snappers, as he had an earned run average under 2.00. He appeared in 21 games for the Snappers, posting a 1.48 earned run average, making most of his appearances as the team's closer.
Slama saved ten games, striking out 39 batters in a little over 24 innings of work, giving him 14 saves combined for the year. It was clear that he was ready for the Florida State League in 2008.
No-one could have expected the kind of season that Slama had in 2008, as he was arguably the best relief pitcher in all of minor league baseball. Appearing 51 games for the Fort Myers Miracle, Slama put up ridiculous statistics. The right-hander saved 25 games, had an earned run average of 1.01, and struck out 110 batters in only 71.0 innings of work. Incredibly, his strikeout total equated to 13.94 batters per nine innings, and put him in the top ten in the system in strikeouts.
For his efforts, Slama was named Baseball America Class A Advanced Relief Pitcher of the Year. He was also a Florida State League All-Star, an Arizona Fall League Rising Star, and a Baseball America High-A All-Star. He was also given the Jim Rantz Award, given to the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Overall, it was a banner season for Slama.
In October, Slama sat down with TwinCitiesDugout.com for an interview.
Slama is slated to open the 2009 season in New Britain, but could be in the major leagues by the end of the season.
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. Slama has a low-90s fastball, which he has pinpoint control over. The young right-hander does not throw very hard for a late inning relief guy, but you cannot argue with results. He can place the pitch wherever he wants, and uses it as an advantage. He recognizes it as his strikeout pitch.
Other Pitches. When we spoke to Slama back in September, he told us that any of his pitches can be an outpitch, because he is able to throw any pitch in any situation. Though he feels his fastball is a strikeout pitch, he also told us that his slider could be considered a strikeout pitch as well, and he is gaining confidence in his changeup. Whichever way you slice it, Slama has a very good three-pitch arsenal.
Projection. Not much question here, as Slama has been a relief pitcher since college. He is arguably the best relief pitcher in the entire Minnesota Twins system, and he proved that statement right in 2008. He seems to get better with promotions, and will be the closer for the New Britain Rock Cats in 2009. With Robert Delaney slated to open the season in Rochester, Slama will be the main guy in the pen for the Cats this season.
ETA. 2010. As I stated earlier, it is very possible that Slama could make his Major League debut in 2009. Depending on how good of a start he gets off to at New Britain, Slama could skip Rochester and just head to Minnesota if he looks as dominant as he did during the 2008 season. There is no doubt that he should be in Minnesota by 2010 at the latest, and the Twins are very excited about what he could bring to their bullpen.