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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scouting Report, LHP Mike Minor

 (Photo Courtesy of the legendary G.N.Ott. Scranton Wilkes-Barre July 19th. Mr. Ott pronounced Mike Minor ready for the big leagues after watching him that day.)

The 22-year old lefty was drafted with the 7th pick in the 2009 draft out of Vanderbilt, and a lot of the draft pundits criticized the pick, as he didn't show the "high upside" teams tend to value in the top 10 picks of the first round. He was viewed as a "soft-tossing lefty" who sat between 88-90 mph and had four solid pitches, but no plus-plus pitch. His upside was viewed as a #4 starter/innings eater. Well less than a year after that scouting report, he has increased his fastball velocity (now sits at 91) and has been throwing 93-96 mph. Baseball America's Jim Callis recently said if he can keep this velocity and improve his control, he could be a #2 pitcher. Not a bad pick at the #7 slot after all right? I know these numbers mean nothing, but I thought this was pretty ridiculous: Minor had a 0.08 ERA in his senior year at Forrest High in Tennessee, winning 13 games—12 by shutout—and striking out 188 batters over just 86 innings.Wow.

Minor, as noted above, has a fastball that average 91, but can get up to 95-96 mph, a solid curve (79 mph, 10% of his pitches), and a plus change-up with late, heavy break (81 mph, 26%). He's getting an unheralded 40% of swings at balls, and a 12.9% swing and miss rate. But caution, these stats are based on only 3 starts (18 innings). In the minors, he struck out > 10 K/9, and in the big leagues he's at 11 K/9, while walking 2/9 in the majors (3.5 W/9 in the minors).He throws 1st pitch fastball 69% of the time, and is leaning on his change-up as his strike-out pitch more than his curve. But again, all these are based on an extremely small sample size. One another thing to note is that he has a very good pick-off move.

He's made 3 career starts, and has gone 6 innings in each game. He's 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His last start versus the Cubs he struck out 12, while allowing 7 hits and a walk, with 3 earned runs.

(Don't love him hooking his wrist there...)

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