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Mike Minor To Get The Call

Word last night from Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was that the Braves might call up lefty Mike Minor in the wake of Kris Medlen's strained elbow ligament.  Minor is not yet available in Yahoo leagues, but should you prepare to pounce?

Minor, 22, was drafted seventh overall by the Braves last year.  Baseball America ranked him fourth among Braves prospects before the season, writing that his pitching savvy should make him at least a mid-rotation starter in the bigs.  However, they cautioned that his repertoire most resembled that of Jeremy Sowers.  But things have changed since BA wrote that description.  Check out what Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein wrote a week ago:

Minor's stuff this year has far exceeded all expectations: he's gone from a highly polished pitcher with average stuff to one with the velocity to blow it by hitters when necessary.

Just before that Goldstein wrote that Minor "continues to flash an extra 2-4 ticks on his fastball from his college days, while retaining his command and secondary offerings."  Clearly, Minor is no longer seen as just a "safe" pick. 

Statistically, Minor posted an 11.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in an 87-inning Double A stint and a 9.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in a 31.6-inning Triple A stint.  I worry that he'll walk too many guys as a rookie, as his big league rate might exceed his Double A one.  However, sometimes a rookie lefty can just be tough to hit at first; anecdotally I'm thinking of Jaime Garcia.  In fact Garcia's rates - 7.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 with less than a hit per inning - seem like something Minor might approximate.  That means a WHIP that's just OK, but overall numbers worthy of deep mixed leagues.

Of course, trying to predict what Minor might do over less than ten big league starts might be futile.  In the short term, Minor could step in to take Medlen's place Monday at Houston.  I know the Astros had a couple offensive outbursts this week, but it's still not an imposing lineup.  At the least Minor is a reasonable spot-start in most leagues.  He's certainly worth targeting in keeper leagues, as he's more polished than most rookies.  If you're wondering if you should drop a certain starter for Minor, leave a comment and we'll try to figure it out.




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