Luke Gregerson owns one of the best sliders in baseball, and when it’s working, he is tough to beat. The pitch that brought him to San Diego in March 2009 has made him an integral part of the Padres bullpen ever since.

Kevin Towers acquired Gregerson from the Cardinals as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Khalil Greene to St. Louis. Towers did so thanks in large part to former Padres outfielder John Vander Wal:

Then Vander Wal uttered the words Towers won’t soon forget, words that right then and there essentially sold the then-Padres general manager on relief pitcher Luke Gregerson and his devastating slider.

“He said it disappears,” Towers said.

Gregerson, a former 28th-round draft pick, promptly made the unexpected jump from Double-A and enjoyed a strong rookie campaign. He was even better as a sophomore, turning opposing batters into Don Drysdale or Liván Hernández–excellent hitting pitchers, but not consistent threats. Read More…