Mike Minor in Atlanta Braves’ Plans for 2016?


Mike Minor failed to appear in a game for the Atlanta Braves this year. He succumbed to a shoulder injury that required surgery, ending his season before it even began.

Dating back to 2014, injuries kept Mike Minor sidelined for most of the past two seasons, allowing him to only make 25 appearances during that stretch. However, Mike Minor has recently ramped up his throwing program in Orlando. Atlanta Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart believes that he will be in the Atlanta Braves’ mix in 2016, possibly returning to the rotation.

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This past season, Mike Minor suffered a severe shoulder injury that required surgery, forcing him to miss the entirety of the 2015 season. The shoulder injury joined the laundry-list of injuries that Minor dealt with in the past two seasons. In 2014, Minor barely resembled the dominant pitcher he was just one season before, when he had career highs in nearly every statistical category.

Mike Minor’s 2013 season remains his best season to date, posting a 3.21 ERA, 3.37 FIP, while pitching over 200 innings for the Atlanta Braves. In that season, he struck out nearly a batter an inning, ending the season with an 8.0 K/9 rate; moreover, he trimmed his BB/9 to a minuscule 2.0. However, in 2014, Minor regressed, posting a career-high 4.77 ERA, alongside a 4.39 FIP.

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In addition to Mike Minor’s elevated ERA and FIP, his strikeout rate declined (K/9), and walk rate (BB/9) increased, 7.4 and 2.7 respectively. Minor battling while injured could be the answer to his regression in 2014, but he hopes to reclaim his 2013 form in 2016. With Minor ramping up his throwing program, he hopes to build strength during his rehab program to remain healthy for the 2016 season.

The Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation struggled during the 2015 season, but they showed life in September. The rotation for 2016 remains in question, with roughly eight pitchers battling it out for five rotation spots. Three pitchers look like locks for the 2016 Atlanta rotation: Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran, and Matt Wisler, leaving two spots open for the taking. Mike Minor fits the mold of a solid 3-4 arm in the Braves’ rotation. 

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Barring any setbacks from this point until Spring Training, Mike Minor seems like a front-runner for a rotation spot next season. Minor is eligible for arbitration in 2016, so a move this offseason seems unlikely. With the former 1st round pick out of Vanderbilt all but a lock to return to Atlanta next season, Minor hopes to regain the form he demonstrated in 2013.

If Mike Minor can resemble the pitcher from 2013, he hopes to instill confidence in John Hart that he can become a key contributor for the Atlanta Braves’ future. John Hart wants a competitive team by 2017, so will Minor be a part of that team? Only time will tell, but he must remain healthy if he wants any shot. Minor owns a career 4.10 ERA with a 3.90 FIP, so he needs to trend in a positive direction immediately upon his return to Atlanta.

Next: Atlanta Braves: Dissecting Team Needs in 2016

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