San Jose, California —— Amid a larger series of roster moves on Wednesday morning, the San Francisco Giants recalled right-handed pitcher Dan Slania to the big leagues from Double-A Richmond. When Slania pitches for the Giants, it’ll be his Major League debut. The big 25-year-old righty—he’s listed at 6’5″, 275 lbs., and looks every bit of that and then some when you get right up on him—had spent considerable time in the bullpen early in his minor league career, but in the last two seasons he’s undergone a full overhaul to become a starting pitcher.
This year, split between Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento, Dan Slania has made 15 starts, and he’s 1-9 with a 6.44 ERA. That includes an 0-8 mark with a 7.82 ERA in 12 Triple-A starts alone. In total this season, he has struck out 73 batters in 79.2 innings pitched against 94 hits and 38 walks. I saw him pitch twice at the very end of 2016; at the time, the righty was with the San Francisco Giants’ High-A affiliate in San Jose. Below, we’ve got a full Dan Slania scouting report and some game video.
San Francisco Giants RHP Dan Slania — game video
Video doesn’t lie; start off your Dan Slania scouting report with at-bat and mechanics videos of the San Francisco Giants’ newest big league pitcher, each taken during games in late August 2016 while pitching for the San Jose Giants:
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San Francisco Giants RHP Dan Slania scouting report — what to expect
Dan Slania is an interesting guy to watch; he’s massive, legitimately built like an offensive guard in football, and yet he doesn’t get very much of his lower half involved in his delivery. His height and high three-quarters arm action gives him a great natural downward plane when he’s shooting the knees, though. And even despite not using much of his lower half for leverage, he has good arm strength; in August across both of those starts for San Jose on the road in Bakersfield, Slania sat 90-93 mph with his fastball and occasionally touched 94 mph. At times he’ll get late arm-side run on the fastball, but his plane when it’s down in the zone is a valuable trait in and of itself.
He couples the fastball with a 71-73 mph curveball that he can spin up there a little bit, and a 77-81 mph changeup that’s definitely third in his three-pitch mix. The curve is workable at times with a consistent 11-to-5 break, but Slania is limited in his command of the pitch and struggled to put it anywhere but down and glove-side off the plate. It’s not a big, slow breaking ball like some we’ve seen, but it’s also not a sharp, late bender, and so the likelihood of that curve missing bats in the big leagues is relatively limited. He throws it well, though: his arm action and arm speed are both good in making his release indistinguishable from the fastball.
I’ve only ever seen Slania as a starter, but I think @giantsprospects is on the right track by wondering whether the righty would fit better back in relief long-term. Not only from a results perspective (he’s consistently been far better out of the bullpen across his minor league career), but because his natural arm strength should play up in short stints and slight mechanical adjustments to better use his lower half could potentially find him lighting up the radar gun. You’d figure that would help his curveball, too, in becoming a sharper breaking pitch than the low-70s spinner I saw so much of in August. Those decisions will come in time, though; for now, Dan Slania is all set to make his big league debut.
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