Braves 2020 Player Review: A.J. Minter

Amazon.com: 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball #232 <a class=A.J. Minter played a significant role in an elite bullpen this past season. He put together a stellar 1.2 bWAR in a COVID shortened season. Minter placed himself in a top tier of left handed relievers in 2020 and hopefully will have that continued success.&amp;nbsp;

A.J. Minter was a highly touted relief prospect when he first debuted in 2017 at the young age of 23. He put together a nice year in 16 games. He seemed to be the closer of the future in 2018 collecting 15 saves in 65 appearances. After dealing with shoulder inflammation to begin 2019, he really seemed to struggle the entire year long. I believe the lack of spring training is what led to Minter never getting himself back together. However, the struggles did lead many to believe he may not be the closer of the future that Braves fans had envisioned.&amp;nbsp;

Minter clearly made adjustments in his extended offseason leading to a 0.83 ERA (580 ERA+!!!) through 22 appearances. Will Smith’s struggles were nearly forgotten about because of the resurgence from the shutdown lefty AJ Minter. He is back on track to being the top tier left handed bullpen piece the Braves valued so much prior to 2019. The Braves trusted Minter enough to even turn to him for a start in game 5 of the NLCS. He would go on to throw 3 shutout innings striking out 7 Dodgers hitters along the way.&amp;nbsp;

The impressive postseason start was a part of a magical season AJ Minter put together as a whole. This season may be the turning point of a long and successful career. Still just 26 years old, AJ Minter is under team control until 2024. I look forward to seeing Minter in the back end of the Braves bullpen for many years to come.

31 thoughts on “Braves 2020 Player Review: A.J. Minter”

  1. Low and behold, the rumors on Morton were true. In the right column, Feinsand reports Braves have Morton for 15 mill for 1 year.

    If the other rumor is true (Braves set to make 4 year offer to Ozuna after DH resolved by early December), then everybody can have a Glorious Festivus, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Blessed Kwanzaa, and / or Happy New Year.

  2. Thanks Drake. I get nervous evaluating relievers as they pitch so few innings, but a lot of reason for optimism here.

  3. Sure is nice to wake up to good news.

    Morton certainly didn’t set the world on fire in the abbreviated regular season, but he was mostly great in October. Welcome back, Charlie.

  4. @13

    I think the spending signifies the Braves are optimistic about a season with fans in the seats.

    What’s your checklist? Mine is:
    1. RH reliever
    2. LH bat counterpart for Riley
    3. LH bat counterpart for Duvall

    Ride.

  5. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized how atrocious our LH bats (not Freddie, of course) have been. Primarily Ender, Neck and switchers Camargo and Albies. And we all know Albies is better from the right side. Even if we get just one legitimate LH bat, we’ll be in so much better shape.

    I would certainly be happy with an offseason of Smyly, Morton, Ozuna, and a LH bench bat or two (even if one is Neck). I wonder where we could get a LH backup catcher? Someone like O’Day could be a cheap addition, too.

  6. Two schools of thought…

    Paying for high peak past performance vs. paying for more recent past performance that hasn’t been great.

    IMO, 15M for a guy his age coming off even a COVID affected season is an overpay when you’ve supposedly built your entire organization on mass collection of pitching prospects.

    I suspect he’ll put together a season of around .500 WIN% with an ERA in the mid 4s, a FIP in the low 4s with a freakishly low HR% as is his custom.

    IMO, Tucker Davidson or “insert other Braves SP prospect” would have done roughly the same, albeit with a higher HR rate.

    I’d much rather have pumped that money into a hitter.

  7. And now we’ve taken all available regular rotation spots away from both Wright and Wilson. I would have to guess this means we’re probably trading Wright this offseason? We could trade Wilson, as well, but he seems the better-suited of the two to bullpen work with his fastball-centric arsenal and his bulldog mound demeanor.

  8. @17 – Agree – at least not a 37-year-old thrower. That didn’t work out so well last year. We need that LH bat folks have mentioned and I’m still not sure of our bullpen without Melancon at the end.

  9. As mentioned by @20 – there will always be a need for spot starters throughout any season even with five set starting pitchers (especially since I think we all agree Soroka won’t be quite ready by opening day, or at least not 100%.) Maybe 1 of Wright/Wilson gets traded.

    As for Morton, I am surprised. But it’s only 1 year and that is AAs wheel house.

  10. @Chief

    I’m guessing Braves have $ to get a hitter. For the life of me, I can’t fathom why they’d add 2 starting pitchers if they were going to short-change their biggest need. I expect 2-3 more additions.

  11. @24–I think starting pitching is an even greater need for next season than hitters. Last season, they overcame one of the weakest rotations I ever remember, largely because the offense was one of the best the Braves have ever had.
    The problems last year really did demonstrate that it’s better to have too much starting pitching than too little. Even with Morton and Smyly, there will likely be ample opportunities for young starters to make their mark.
    Now, just sign Ozuna and I’ll be thankful for a tremendous offseason.

  12. I asked for Bauer or Charlie, and AA delivered.

    If we think Wright and Wilson can carry us through the season, then we are relying too much on luck. We are basically using the Melancon money on Charlie. The bullpen will be slightly weakened with no Melancon and Greene so we do need a stronger rotation. A healthy Soroka is not a guarantee honestly.

    If we manage to keep Ozuna once we can get confirmation that NL will keep DH going forward, then I think we are pretty much set.

  13. I don’t think you can put your hopes on Soroka until 2022. Anything from him in 2021 is going to be a bonus.

  14. @8
    6-8 months for Soroka to be back at high level performance, according to Dr. Andrews. April would be 8 months. Braves won’t push him but I’d bet he’s pitching by May.

  15. Given what we have gone through this year, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect any pitcher to carry a 200+ inning load especially the young arms.

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