Mike Minor has been one of the few bright spots in the Texas Rangers rotation. Minor has been good, but his best is yet to come.
For fans of the Texas Rangers, it seems strange to talk about Mike Minor’s potential. After all, he’s 30 years old and in his 9th big league season (though, two in which he didn’t throw a single pitch—2015-2016). Most pitchers have reached their potential and are fully established by the age of 30. However, that is not the case for Minor.
The current Texas Rangers starting pitcher made zero starts just a season ago. Rather, Minor made 65 appearances out of the bullpen for the Kansas City Royals. His 65 appearances totaled to 204 innings, in which he pitched to an impressive 2.55 ERA and averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Place those number under a starting pitcher label and they’ll represent one of the best in MLB. Mike Minor was one of the best in MLB in 2017, just as a reliever.
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Point being, Minor has the stuff; he just has to prove his durability. Thus far, he has pitched 21 innings over four starts. That averages to just over five innings per start. Not quite the length anticipated for a starter, but a couple of variables have to be taken into account.
First of all, the Texas Rangers have yet to really extend Minor. He’s eclipsed the 100-pitch mark only once and has not thrown over 94 pitches in any other start. This will change as the season progresses.
Secondly, he’s been tested by some serious competition early on. Mike Minor has had two starts against a free-swinging Toronto Blue Jays offense, two starts against the powerhouse Houston Astros, and one start against a very solid Seattle Mariners lineup. Standing up against those offenses is a ton to ask for from someone who had not started a game since 2014.
Mike Minor passes the eye test. He’s shown the ability to attack hitters and to mix in his repertoire. His changeup has shown extreme swing-and-miss capability, his breaking ball has been effective, and he tosses a quality low-90s fastball from the left side.
Minor is off to a 2-1 start and has been one of the few bright spots within the Rangers rotation. With the rest of the Texas rotation being past their prime or unable to breakthrough, Minor carries the most excitement from start to start, especially since the team has him signed for three years. He has impressed early, but you get the feeling Mike Minor’s best is yet to come.