The Braves apparently were willing to trade Minor during the season last year, but wound up not having to. I think that some teams are going to regret not taking them up on the offer, because Minor looks really promising to me, and I think he’s going to be a front half of the rotation starter for a number of years.
Minor’s ERA was a little worse than the league (4.14, 92 ERA+) but we’re talking a lefty who as a rookie struck out 8.4 per nine and didn’t have any real home run problems. His one concern was that he walked more than you’d like, 30 in 82 2/3 innings. As he gets more experience and confidence in his stuff, that will come down, because he doesn’t really have bad control but a slight tendency to nibble.
Minor’s by-inning splits may be instructive. He had problems in the first inning, allowing a 6.00 ERA and a .328 batting average. (Don’t compare him to Tom Glavine, it’s not healthy.) In the next three innings, his ERAs allowed were 1.80, 3.60, and 1.20. But in the fifth, it skyrocketed to 6.75, and if he got through that it was 6.48 in the sixth. You can blame Fredi for not getting him out of there — you can always blame Fredi — but it’s hard to get too angry at a manager for not being ready to yank his starter in the fifth inning. What I think happens is that Minor has trouble finishing batters off, and winds up throwing extra pitches in those first four innings, which both tires him out and lets hitters see more of his repertoire. By the third time through the order, they’re ready to tee off. As time goes by, Minor will learn how to avoid this… Had a reverse split, by the way, lefties hitting 37 points higher and slugging 63 points higher than righties.