Kevin Slowey, with his only good stuff and terrific control in Minnesota, seemed like an easy comparison for former Twins pitcher Brad Radke. His minor league numbers, however, were a cut above Radke's, and now he seems to be putting together some very unusual lines that are probably still better than the predecessor.
Though Slowey was older than Radke had been in the minors, the difference in their production there was noticeable. Radke showed in the minor leagues terrific control (2.04 BB/9) and a decent strikeout ability (6.99 K/9) which led to an excellent K/BB (3.4) and a very solid ERA (3.21).
Where Radke was good, Slowey was extraordinary. Somehow, Slowey improved on Radke's control (only 1.27 BB/9) and combined this with an excellent strikeout ratio (8.85 K/9) leading to a truly astounding 7 K/BB and a 1.94 ERA over his minor league years.
Over the last two years, with injuries and a late start, Slowey has pitched almost a full season in the majors. His control has been sensational (1.49 BB/9), already at the level that Radke reached towards the end of his career, and significantly better than he had been at the start of it. As some expected, his strikeout ratio dropped when he faced the better professional hitters, and Slowey has only struck out 6.39 batters per 9 innings this year, still giving him a terrific 4.2 K/BB. Slowey's WHIP this year of 1.11 has been terrific, and he would certainly be among the best pitchers in the league if it wasn't for his awful homerun rate. Though he hadn't faced too much of these troubles in the minors, major leaguers have been sending his pitches regularly over the fence, which has brought his ERA up to an only decent 4.00 this year. Slowey's combination of terrific control and terrible homerun rate has given him the unusual distinction of having given up over his major league career more home runs than walks.
Radke also gave up more than his share of homeruns, which kept him from being a truly excellent pitcher. Slowey, though, seems like he could be better. In only one season in Radke's career did he match Slowey's strikout rate, and in that year he won 20 games with a 3.87 ERA. Slowey has the chance to do that regularly.