Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ex-Twins watch: Johan Santana and Kevin Slowey

Johan Santana did not pitch
in 2011.
Johan Santana is to start the Mets opener, a milestone in his comeback from anterior capsule surgery.

The lefty is now longer the power pitcher who won two Cy Young Awards -- and deserved a third -- while toiling for the Twins last decade. In those days, Santana routinely hit the mid-90s on the radar guns. The word out of Florida this spring had his highest velocities barely reaching 90, and more generally around 87.

Which is sufficient, at least for a pitcher like Santana. He saw, with Minnesota, Brad Radke win with less velo than that.

As long as Santana has fastball command and his devastating change, he can still be successful. It's not about overpowering hitters, it's about wrecking their timing.

Santana is a pitcher of considerable intelligence, and I'm confident that he can transition from the power pitcher he once was to ... well, he's not a Jamie Moyer junkballer yet, but I'm sure he's capable of adjusting his style to fit even that level of velocity if need be.

It will be interesting to see how he fares.


Kevin Slowey entered camp with the Cleveland Indians penciled in for a slot in their rotation, but the Tribe will break camp with Jeanmar Gomez as their fifth starter. Slowey has been optioned to the minors.

His career certainly seems to be careening downhill.

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