Let's compare two pitchers through their age-27 season:
Which of these pitchers would you rather have on your club moving forward? Kind of a close call; there are advantages to each player. Player A has logged more time and is a bit better at avoiding homeruns, while Player B has better K/walk ratio and allows fewer baserunners.
Before you make your decision, let's take look at their minor league track records, too:
Whoa. Player B was dominant in the minors.
Got it yet?
Before we name names...one more piece of valuable (giveaway) information about Player A. Player A was TERRIBLE in his age 28 season. He went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 16 starts before getting demoted to AAA.
Who's who after the jump...
By now, you can probably guess that player B is Kevin Slowey, while Player A is....
In his age-29 season, he went from being Cliff Lee to being CLIFF LEE, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP en route to his Cy Young with Cleveland in 2008. While this seems like a huge jump in performance for Lee, the solid track record for Lee was in place for Lee preceding his breakout, dating back to his minor league days.
Lee's track record through his age 27 season looks similar to Slowey's, while Slowey was a much, much better minor-leaguer.
I'm not saying that Kevin Slowey is Cliff Lee, or about to turn into Cliff Lee. But the similar track records should serve as a lesson for the Twins that those tracks records do matter, and it takes time for pitchers to put it all together at the big leagues.
It is both baffling and maddening that the Twins organization has not given Slowey a single start in his age-27 season, while simultaneously seeking to trade him...and downgrade his stock by badmouthing him to/through the media, at the same time. It's even more maddening to see that they are almost purposely trying to avoid giving him a start. Aside from Blackburn and Duensing unsurprising stretches of mediocrity this year, they could have easily rearranged his schedule to take Baker's last start or tomorrow, instead of Swarzak.
The Twins will live to regret trading Slowey for pennies on the dollar unless they come to their senses. If they don't, and trade him to his hometown Pirates, there is a decent chance Twins fans will think that Wilson Ramos and JJ Hardy were the good trades.