Dan Slania, Future San Francisco Giants Starting Pitcher?
Or are the Giants highly suspicious of his sudden success as a starter?
Dan Slania is a former fifth round draft pick from 2013 who apparently has good stuff, but had high ERAs for his ratios as a relief pitcher working his way up through the system. The Giants began to use him as a starter about five weeks ago at AA Richmond, where he started the season in the bullpen. The difference in his pitching since moving to the starting rotation has been night and day, in a good way.
Slania has a 1.51 ERA over his last ten starts — he’s got 12 starts on the season — and his ERA for the season has dropped almost a run-and-a-half since then. After ten (or at least the last eight) very successful starts at AA Richmond, the Giants promoted him to AAA Sacramento, where he made a start against the Salt Lake City Bees in Sactown, allowing one earned run in seven innings pitched on only two hits and a walk while striking out five.
Slania made his next start five days later for the Class A+ San Jose Giants, where he won his 9th game of the 2016 season, pitching another seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and four walks.
One has to wonder why the Giants would demote Slania two slots in their minor league system after he had suddenly blossomed as a starter. It almost certainly has more to do with the Giants not having a place for Slania at AA and AAA after adding two pitchers at the trade deadline. However, the Giants had Phil Bickford‘s (still sad to see you go) spot open at A+ San Jose, so there Slania went.
The situation is not ideal. Slania is three years older than Bickford, so you would like to see the Giants push him at AAA at age 24, particularly after that first tantalizing AAA start.
It’s up to Slania now. If he has a couple more good starts for San Jose, he’ll move back up to AAA Sacramento as soon as a roster spot is available, maybe sooner.