April 20, 2012 at 11:05 am by Ben Duronio under Player Analysis
Right now, Mike Minor is probably the best starter on the staff. He has a 1.99 FIP and an ERA of 3.10. He struggled a bit in the tail end of his first start of the season against the Mets, but has been absolutely dominant in his past two starts.
I posted in the offseason about how Minor’s best performances came when he utilized his breaking balls. So far this year, his slide, change up, and curveball percentages are both up while his fastball percentage is down. This is certainly a good thing, as a lesser reliance on his fastball has not come with decrease command. He is throwing his secondary offerings for strikes and has decreased the amount of contact he has allowed in the zone.
While three starts is certainly not enough to properly evaluate Minor, he has shown the type of pitcher I have claimed he could be. His main issue in his two other Major Leagues stints was allowing tons of hits, and his decrease in contact allowed as well as an increase in foul ball percentage has shown that hitters have squared up on the ball less and less with Minor.
David’s chart in the news shows exactly what Minor needs to do with each of his pitches, and David details that in his post. He is locating and confident on the mound with all of his pitches, which is important as he enters his first full year as a starter. This is a sort of narrative type statement, but I think his two stints in the Majors helped him prepare and be comfortable during his first full season of work. He does not have to worry about what will happen if he pitches poorly, and he does not have to worry about going back down to the minors once someone returns from the disabled list as has often been the case over the past two years.
I am on the record saying that I think Minor should be the best pitcher on the staff this season and is the best bet throw 200 innings. It is still far too early to say I have nailed those predictions, but this start is exactly what anyone who was high on Minor could have hoped for.