Today I put the spotlight on Mike Minor, starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. Minor is capable of taking a huge step forward but also as a young player who is also very capable of taking a step back. So let's break it down and try to look at the facts and what to expect from Minor in 2013.
Just turned 25 at the very end of December, was the 7th overall pick by the Braves in the 2009 Draft. Spent all of 2010 in the minors as well as the 1st half of 2011.
2011 - 5-3, 4.14 ERA, 1.49 Ratio (WHIP), 77K, 93 Hits, 30BB, 7HR in 82 2/3 IP - 15 Starts
2012 - 11-10, 4.12 ERA, 1.15 Ratio, 145K, 151 Hits, 56BB, 26HR in 179 1/3 IP - 30 Starts
When we break down 2012 we see that Mike Minor had a very rough 1st half but pitched like an ace in the 2nd half. Let's look at those stats.
1st Half - 5-6, 5.97 ERA, 1.42 Ratio
2nd Half - 6-4, 2.16 ERA, 0.87 Ratio
As a young pitcher it takes time to progress to become a quality starter and eventually a top starter. If we look at past Brave greats who are heading to Cooperstown in Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz all of them struggled at the beginning of their careers. That is a lessen in terms of analyzing all young talented starters be in NL or AL. So Mike Minor struggles for the 2nd half of 2011 and the 1st half of 2012 really should have been expected. So was Minor's dominance in the 2nd half of last season something we can count in for the full season in 2013? Well while he is still walking too many people Minor's walk per 9 innings did come down from 3.3 in 2011 to 2.8 in 2012. So if Minor can continue to progress with his walks that will help immensely. Big key was how many hits Minor allowed last season. Minor had almost 35 more innings pitched than hits allowed. The league just hit .232 against Minor.
So what are the negatives for Minor? Well the 26 HR's he allowed last season is way way too much. I mentioned he still needs to bring his walk rate per 9 innings down, and while his K per 9 innings came down last season I think that helped Minor as he is getting guys out on fewer pitches. Also Minor needs to pitch much better on the road. Last season Minor was 7-4 at home with a 3.25 ERA, while on the road Minor was 4-6 with a 5.14 ERA.
2013 What to Expect:
Minor has been making strides and he has gained a wealth of experience as he now has 45 career starts. He is entering his prime years and if he can improve on his walks, his HR's allowed being more consistent on the road with the improved Braves in terms of their offense Minor will have a very solid to strong campaign in 2013. I am predicting that Minor will emerge as a front tier starting pitcher this year in NL only leagues. Not an ace yet but a real good starter. In auction leagues in NL only I would say Minor will be worth in the low 20's. This time next year we will be talking about if Minor can become a 1st tier starting pitching.
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NL King - C.Lizza