Kevin Slowey: Not an All Star
I can feel the indignant outrage already exploding across barber shops and sports bars across all of Minnesota.
"Why isn't Kevin Slowey on the All Star Team?"
"Don't they know he has ten wins?"
All baseball fans tend to become enamored with one stat. It could be batting average or home runs for hitters, wins or ERA for pitchers, or UZR for sabermetricians.
Twins' fans will just have to live with reality. Kevin Slowey is not an All-Star, and for good reasons. Even traditional baseball fans have to acknowledge Slowey's 4.86 ERA. As many baseball know, ERA isn't the best pitcher's stat. Another, more accurate stat is xFIP, or expected fielding independent pitching.
Slowey's xFIP is 4.35. Slowey's a better pitcher than his ERA, but not by much. Slowey's xFIP puts him just past the median level for qualified starters. So he's better than average, by a hair.
Despite a higher than average xFIP, Slowey PRC, or Pitcher's Runs Created, is near the bottom third of qualified pitchers. This is mainly because Slowey has pitched just 90 innings so far this year, compared to the AL average near 100 IP and Zack Greinke's league-leading 121 IP.
Slowey has also surrendered a .502 slugging percentage to opposing hitters, good for not-quite-worst in the league among starters. This is balanced by the fact he's not-quite-best in the league at avoiding walks.
By rough estimation, Slowey is a completely average American League starter. His ten wins so far this year is the result of good luck and healthy run support.
This is not to take anything away from being average. An average, or more accurately, a median major league pitcher has a lot of value and is very difficult to replace. Most teams would be more than happy with average starters.
Slowey is great in a completely average way and I hope he pitches for the Twins for years to come.
He's just not an All Star, and that's alright.
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