- Full name Brian John Slocum
- Born 03/27/1981 in New Rochelle, NY
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Villanova
- Debut 04/22/2006
Drafted in the 2nd round (63rd overall) by the Cleveland Guardians in 2002 (signed for $625,000).
View Draft ReportThe 6-foot-2, 200-pound Slocum is the one shining light in Pennsylvania. He hasn't strung together consecutive injury-free seasons but has an outside chance of going in the first round. He has a lot going for him and might have been the best athlete at Villanova this year--in any sport. His arm works well, and he has a chance to have three above-average pitches: a 91-93 mph fastball, a hard slider and a changeup. He knows how to pitch and has excellent makeup, and his time on the shelf has saved wear and tear on his arm. Injuries have been an issue since he missed the 2001 season with a sore shoulder and came home early from the Cape Cod League. No surgery was ever performed. He pitched through biceps tendinitis again this spring and took his regular turn in the Villanova rotation, going 4-2, 3.41 with 65 strikeouts in 69 innings. He has made significant strides, particularly in his development of a breaking pitch, since being taken in the 14th round out of high school.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Slocum quickly became one of the system's top righthanders after signing as a second round pick in 2002, but inconsistency and his inability made him appear to be nothing more than organizational fodder. He got back on track in the Arizona Fall League after the 2005 season, flourishing in the bullpen and attacking hitters aggressively. Slocum continued to have success in Triple-A last year, though he was hit hard in the majors. Still, 2006 was a breakthrough for him, as Slocum made adjustments and saw his overall arsenal improve. His fastball jumped to 91-94 mph and at times touched 96. He also showed a better feel for his low-80 slurvy breaking ball. He also has a workable changeup, though he needs to add depth and be more consistent with his release point if he's going to stick in the rotation for good. He had difficulty in the big leagues because he nibbled and worked too methodically while worrying too much about pacing himself and trying to keep hitters off balance. He'll probably start 2007 in the Triple-A rotation.
Slocum took his offseason conditioning program into his own hands following the 2002 season, and the results were not what he or the Indians wanted. He added 12 pounds of muscle but also restricted his range of motion. That caused a loss of velocity and eventually shoulder inflammation that got him shut down in mid-August. Slocum didn't need surgery, but it was the third straight year he was hampered by physical ailments. He had a sore shoulder in 2001 and biceps tendinitis in 2002. When healthy, Slocum features a low-90s fastball, a solid changeup and an improving slider. He throws strikes and keeps the ball down in the zone. During instructional league, he was put on a program designed to trim some of his bulk. He regained flexibility, arm speed and velocity. A slimmer Slocum will return to high Class A this year.
Slocum reminds some Indians officials of Charles Nagy. Both came from Big East Conference schools and were quiet, intelligent, headstrong competitors. Where they differ is that Slocum throws much harder than Nagy did. Slocum touches 95 mph on occasion and his fastball explodes on hitters. He has the makings of a good changeup, though he needs to tighten his slider. He throws strikes and limited short-season New York-Penn League hitters to a .230 average and one homer in his pro debut. More important, he put to rest any questions about his durability. Slocum missed the 2001 season with a sore shoulder-- though he avoided surgery--and pitched through biceps tendinitis in 2002. He has the chance to skip a level and go to high Class A this year.
Minor League Top Prospects
Despite some concerns over Slocum's durability and health, he was considered a potential first-round pick before the Indians drafted him in the second round this June. Neither was an issue during the summer. Slocum has a loose arm and gets his fastball into the low 90s with movement. He reached 94 mph at Villanova. His slider has good, hard rotation and is a plus pitch in the making. His clean, effortless delivery should help him avoid serious injuries.