Mike Minor: 2012 in Review
Ernie Banks did it all — except play in the playoffs.
When we previewed the starting pitcher ranks in a late-March Podcast we talked about how the tremendous spring performance of Mike Minor signalled that he was ready to take a big step forward this season.
Well, to say it was a seamless process would be a lie; it took a lot of work for Minor to evolve into one of the three starters the Braves trusted enough to put on the Wild Card game roster.
He did get off to a decent start, but May was so ugly (9.55 ERA, 10 homers allowed in 25 1/3 IP) that the young southpaw looked farther away from Fantasy relevance than ever before.
The recovery began in June, although he continued to struggle with his command. July, however, ushered in a massive turnaround and while Minor remained solid in August, it was his September work that was truly mind-blowing and likely helped plenty of Fantasy teams to glory: 4-0, 0.87 ERA, just one homer allowed and a phenomenal 28/9 K/BB ratio.
Add it all up and man, are we talking about a tale of two halves. Before the All-Star break, Minor’s ERA was nearly 6.00 and he had been burned for 19 homers in just 92 IP. Yikes. After the break? Try an ERA of 2.16 with a BAA of under .200 and just seven long balls allowed in 87 1/3 IP.
In his first full season in an MLB rotation, Minor made progress, even though his strikeout rate dipped significantly. His record wasn’t great, but he did manage to eke out a winning mark despite such a horrid opening couple of months. The big number for us? Minor’s WHIP dropped from 1.49 to 1.15. That’s serious progress, baby.
If not for that nasty start, Minor’s ERA would have been much, much better. But when you’re giving up 6.2 runs per nine innings heading into July, it’s a tough road to hoe. But hoe he did.
The dingers were a massive issue for him last season, but you can clearly see that this part of his game improved dramatically as the season progressed, so we’re not overly worried about a long-term problem for this flyball pitcher.
The simple fact is that in the span of three months, Minor has morphed from a pitcher who’s rotation spot was very much in jeopardy to one of two pitchers (the other being Kris Medlen) that is guaranteed a spot in Atlanta’s rotation in 2013. And the Braves remain a team with plenty of starting pitcher options.
Minor will again be a sleeper in 2013, but beware that his true value will lie a bit closer to what we saw in the first half — his second half showing was probably a tad unsustainable.
- Now that we’re well into postseason play, the lists are starting to emerge. We read one the other day that highlighted players that appeared in over 2,000 career games yet never played in a playoff game. The list was headlined by Ernie Banks. Mr. Cub toiled for the North Siders for over 2,500 games and enjoyed a brilliant career that was unfortunately never graced by a postseason performance.
- Speaking of the Cubs, after his renaissance season in which he not only led the team in homers and RBI, plus also played better D, will Alfonso Soriano again be a rumour mill king this winter? He was almost sent to the Giants, but wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to make that happen. The 37-year-old would be an ideal fit as a DH, but he doesn’t sound particularly enthused at the prospect of putting his glove away for good. “To me, playing DH is boring,” Soriano said recently.
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