Seems to be pencilled in, very heavily, as the #5 starter, both because he’s lefthanded and all the other starters are righties, and because really he’s the best man for the job, even if he didn’t look it in the majors last year. Minor, a controversial #1 draft choice by the Braves in 2009 (7th overall, considered a signability pick by many) out of Vandy, was impressive in his first professional action that year, then pitched well in the first half for Mississippi, earning a promotion to Gwinnett. He demolished the International League, going 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six starts before getting called up to bolster the rotation when injuries took out Kris Medlen and Jair Jurrjens, making his debut only a year and three days after he was drafted. He went 3-2, but that was due to run support, as his ERA was a hefty 5.98 and opposing batters hit .314/.353/.527 off of him. The general consensus is that this doesn’t represent his true ability, that he was worn out after already having pitched more innings than in any season prior; he wound up, I believe, going over the innings limit that the Braves set for him before the season. But he wouldn’t be the first Braves lefty to put up impressive minor league stats and not succeed for the major league team.
Minor apparently added velocity through some mechanical adjustments upon entering the professional ranks, and has been a strikeout machine. Even in the majors last year he struck out 43 in 40 2/3 innings, with okay control. His poor major league showing seems to be a result of (a) home runs (six of them, after just nine in more than three times the innings in the minors) (b) falling behind the batters and having to come over the plate with less than his best stuff, and (c) bad luck. He has a good chance of being league-average in 2011, which is really good for a fifth starter.