After a breakout 2013 season, Mike Minor battled shoulder injuries in April and September, bracketing a forgettable 2014. Minor missed most of Spring Training and started the season on the DL with shoulder soreness. Then as a precaution, he was shut down the last week of the season with further discomfort.
Minor, who turns 27 today, logged a 4.77 ERA and a 1.438 WHIP in his 5th major league season, driven largely by allowing 165 hits in 145 innings. His FIP of 4.39 doesn’t indicate that he was substantially better than the scorebook shows.
Positive items include the news that a September MRI found no structural damage in the shoulder, and Minor’s walk and strikeout rates remained near his career norms, although the walk rate was elevated from his excellent 2013 season. Minor also showed reason for optimism with a strong month of August, if you like small sample sizes and arbitrary start and end points.
With Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, and Shelby Miller in the fold, the Braves announced needs include just one more starting pitcher, so they must be expecting Minor to bounce back to 2012-13 levels, where he put up WHIPs of 1.154 and 1.090 respectively, and a 3.31 ERA in 2013. Hopefully a winter of rest and a proper Spring Training is all that is needed, and the trend at the end of 2014 was positive. However, the huge gap between Minor’s 2014 and 2013, along with the September shutdown, have me concerned that the Braves have one more need than they think they do.