Nathan Haynes and Kevin Slowey

NathanHaynes got the call on Monday; the one he’s waited on 10 years. I profiled
Haynes at as the “Anti-Prospect,” leading the baseball world
with an at-the-time .400-plus batting average. The Angels optioned Tommy Murphy
to Triple-A Salt Lake and waived Phil Seibel to get Haynes on the 40-man roster.
The former first round draft pick got his first major league at-bat on Monday,
a pinch hit single in the eighth inning, in his 11th season of
professional baseball; knee, back, shoulder and hand injuries cumulating into eight
surgeries as well as a stint in the Independent League now ancient history.

He was
hitting .391 with 99 total bases in 43 Triple-A Pacific Coast League games at
the time of his call. I don’t know exactly how the Angels intend on using him;
he’s a competent three-position outfielder with a little speed, showing more
pop in his bat this season than ever before. He’s similar to Reggie Willits in many
ways, probably a little less on the base paths, a little more in the way of gap
power. I assume the Angels are viewing him as a fourth outfielder type; capable
of filling in at every outfield spot to give the regulars a rest, maybe face
some tough right-handers in place of Willits who has slowed a fair bit at the
plate of late, possibly a result of a minor hamstring injury.

Slowey is expected to replace Ramon Ortiz in the Twins rotation, although it’s
still unofficial at this time. I wrote the how and why here, and would now like
to focus on the projection at hand.

While I
like Slowey and write on him in glowing terms, he never made my Top-50 Prospect
. The truth is I’m not surprised by his Triple-A dominance this season, but
don’t see him as an ace in the making. He’s owned the International League this year; a 6-2 record with a 1.54 ERA in nine starts proof of that. His control
is fantastic, his stuff is not. He features a low 90s fastball that he spots at
will and I understand his changeup is vastly improved this season, although the
times I saw him (on TV) he didn’t need it much. He pitches ahead in count; the splits
this season show 29 innings in this position against 11 behind, and his makeup and mound
presence is everything it’s been reported as. And he’s fluid, less likely to
break down. But he’ll never strikeout major league hitters at the same rate as potential
rotation mates Boof Bonser, Johan Santana, Matt Garza, or even Scott Baker. He’s
a groundball pitcher — although not in the severe category — that will rely on
control and defense ala Greg Maddux. Despite all the accolades he’s not the
greatest fit for the home park, and could struggle at times as the season wears on.

 Coming up to the majors as a top prospect on a
high? Advantage pitcher, until the hitters have a good read and an advanced
scouting report; the adjustments going forward from there are perpetual. I like
him for the long term, but slot him as a No.3 behind two of the stereotypical
power types in the organization, maybe a No.2 later in the career to break the high
velocity up.


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