2019 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews: A.J. Minter

If A.J. Minter merely replicated his performance from the year previous — 61.1 IP, 57 H, 22 BB, 69 K, 3.23 ERA, 2.72 FIP — some might have been disappointed, then the 2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review on A.J. Minter would have been all roses. After all, A.J. Minter has been hyped about as much as any relief prospect the Braves have had this century. So it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that Minter’s 2019 season was a complete disaster.

Of course it was. After having all of the promise of a future shutdown closer and ace reliever, Minter took a huge step backwards last year. In 29.1 major league IP, he gave up 36 hits, 23 walks, 23 earned runs, and 35 strike outs. That contributed to a 7.06 ERA and a trip to AAA. He got his act together a little bit in AAA, pitching another 22.2 innings and severely cutting down on his walks. After walking 7.1 per 9 in Atlanta, his 1.2 walks per 9 with Gwinnett gives some optimism for the future.

What Went Wrong?

Looking under the hood, it’s hard to see exactly where things went so wrong. His fastball, cutter, and changeup velocities were nearly the same as they were in 2018. Someone can correct me as I’m not an expert on the subject, but it doesn’t seem like the movement on his pitches suffered greatly. It just seems like he lost the ability to command the strike zone, perhaps completely all mental. His walk rate got out of control, and he was catching way more of the plate than you would have liked to see. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter as Minter was terrible, and he’s largely worked his way out of the team’s plans.

Unlike in 2019 where they went into the season relying on an injury-prone reliever like Arodys Vizcaino and an inconsistent one like A.J. Minter, the Braves will go into the 2020 season with much more certainty in the back of their bullpen. Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, and Darren O’Day will be way ahead of Minter in the pecking order. Sean Newcomb and Luke Jackson will also be ahead of him. Shoot, even Grant Dayton is a lefty that’s probably ahead of Minter. But that’s great for Minter. I suspect he’ll be given every opportunity to earn a job out of Spring Training, and if he does, he’ll get work in low leverage situations until he can demonstrate that he can be trusted. And being a cost-controlled player for the next several years, he can mean a lot to the Braves’ bullpen, especially considering how much money is tied up in him.

But the Braves won’t wait around forever, so I think he could be a DFA candidate as early as mid-season, and certainly a non-tender candidate next offseason. For his sake and ours, hopefully the 2019 season is a blip, and he’s back to being a potential back-of-the-pen piece.

Thanks for reading!

In case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s piece on Charlie Culberson who just so happened to re-sign with the Braves after being DFA’s.

Go Braves!

22 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews: A.J. Minter”

  1. Smitty and his barber made an appearance on the last thread!

    Smitty says:

    December 14, 2019 at 6:59 am

    My barber says:
    Riley, Wright and Camargo for Arenado

  2. I’m still having major issues with getting new content to load on the site. I’m still having to clear everything, on every visit.

  3. @1 Arenado scares me a bit. Home or road, the homeruns have been pretty consistent. There is a pronounced difference in the rest of his stats away from Coors, though.

    Donaldson is still the player I hope is manning 3B on opening day. If they had to pivot, my order of preference would be Bryant; and if not him, Betts for the OF. I also really like Andujar, and I think his fielding is something that they could work on.

  4. And I too still have to refresh every time I visit the site. Have cleared the cache, and it works only at the time of the clearing. When I return later, I still have to refresh.

  5. Issues here too, both on mobile and on a laptop. Its no big deal really, just gotta remember to refresh.

    And no thanks to Arenado if the prospect cost is significant, he’s already getting paid well enough for the forseeable future.

  6. Seeing this through unverifiable sources (so take with regulated amount of salt):

    A couple of industry people have told a friend of mine that the Braves are in “the good place” with regards to team payroll. That “good place” is when a team is told to “spend what it takes to win but don’t lose or waste a bunch of money.” One of these people claims that John Malone has personally taken a lot more interest in the Braves the past couple of seasons. The other claims the Braves could spend $170M-180M now.

    I did say to take it with a regulated amount of salt, but personally I’ve noticed Malone has had more to say about the Braves in interviews and at investor meetings than I’d seen in the past. It at least seems plausible that he’s watching this team play baseball.

  7. As we speak, Matt is working on a solution with another texpert. Hopefully there’s an end to all this stuff very soon.

  8. I’ll be setting up a shooting range for all of you to enjoy. I’ll be the target. :-)

    I always keep track of what I’ve worked on for sites and any issues, etc. I normally keep that private, but I’ve decided to make it public for this since I’ve hit a wall. If you feel like it, read through it, let me know if something is missing based on your experience with the site. Click here to read it.

  9. Smitty’s trade is a big overpay. You have to assume you are only getting Arenado for 2020 and 2021 so the excess value is only $50M or so (less should you ding his stats some for leaving Coors). Riley is almost worth that by himself.

  10. @14–agreed about the likelihood of keeping him for only two years. But even if he does not opt out, there is not a lot of excess value given his contract. Arenado is a terrific player, but he is getting paid very well (over 30 million/year) through his age 35 season. For not much more per year, they could have signed Rendon, without giving up anybody in return..

    I’d still love to have him.

  11. Collecting questions for the podcast mailbag tomorrow. Rob will be recording with us again tomorrow as Kris is out. Who’s got a question worth asking?

  12. Phil Pfreakin’ Pfeifer started his 4th game in the Australian Baseball League yesterday and has simply annihilated the competition thus far:

    21.1 IP, 2.11 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9.

    This dude is legit, people.

  13. @15: why do you value Austin so highly? I’m pulling for him, but he was putrid after his blazing start.

  14. The Firefrogs did not end up with a solution at the meetings this week and are now officially in a pickle. They were not allowed to use the spring training stadium thanks to territorial rights and it looks like they may end up in Cocoa Beach in a stadium that has no clubhouses and only seats 1500 or so. Of course they only drew 19,615 in a full season this past year, so that might not be a problem.

  15. An awful name…

    The truist
    gets the fewest

    already at rehearsal
    we beg for a reversal.

  16. Back to 5 minutes I see for edit. Fair enough.

    A bold idea would be to not permit any time for corrections/edit while games were underway, At the moment we do not show up well with volume during that time compared with others which has to be the result of the delay. By the time your post appears it can be overtaken by events, you can look an idiot. So few post.

    And what about the twice-proferred idea of a Pre-Series specialist who would post just before a new series starts with the latest scoop on our opponents? Perhaps start it for home series only, see how it goes. Or have two people doing it, one home one on the road.

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