Thursday, August 17, 2017

The tall tale of Aaron Slegers

Aaron Slegers will,
weather permitting,
be the 32nd pitcher
for the Twins this
Wednesday's rainout scrambled the Twins pitching plans.

The Twins had intended to work Kyle Gibson on Wednesday night and Jose Berrios for today's nooner. But now it's a split doubleheader vs. Cleveland today, and Gibson will start the early game and Aaron Slegers will get the late one. Berrios will pitch Friday against Arizona, with Ervin Santana pushed back to Saturday and Dietrich Enns bounced from that scheduled start.

An extra day off probably won't hurt either Berrios or Santana.

Slegers has an obvious "hook" to his story -- he's 6-feet-10. He won't be the tallest pitcher in team history (Jon Rauch was 6-11), but he'll be the tallest to start a game.

He's a righty, fifth round pick in 2013 out of Indiana University, turns 25 in a couple of weeks, has moved steadily up the ladder and has had a fine season at Triple A (13-4, 3.18 ERA, 130.1 innings with 97 strikeouts and 27 walks.)

The walk and strikeout numbers would appear to support his reputation as a man of modest velocity but top-notch control. His K/9 rate this year -- 6.7 -- is his best since he pitched in Cedar Rapids. The light velocity and low strikeout rate depresses his prospect status (he's never been on a Top 30 list), but the control has kept him a viable prospect nevertheless.

He'll be the 26th man for the doubleheader, so the likelihood is that he'll be returned to Rochester immediately after the game and come back up in September.

A short-notice spot start against a good team in a meaninful game probably isn't the ideal setup for his major league debut, but that's what he gets to work with. Regardless of how he fares tonight, Slegers figures to be a factor to fill out future rotations.

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