One thing is for sure, the Atlanta Braves and scouting director Roy Clark, have their own agenda when it comes to draft day. They haven't been afraid to take risks on guys like Cody Johnson or Beau Jones, and today was no different. The Braves, with the number-7 overall pick in the first round of the draft, selected a player that most experts didn't list in their top-20 prospects -- Mike Minor, a collegiate left-handed pitcher from Vanderbuilt.
In late May, Baseball America had Minor listed at the 35th-best prospect available in the draft. In mid-May they listed him as the 10th-best left handed pitcher, rating him as a second-round talent. Minor's stock was at it's highest last year after he pitched brilliantly for Team USA, including two victories against Cuba. His numbers suffered last year at Vanderbuilt due to a lack of confidence in throwing to third and fourth-string catchers, as Vandy's catching injuries forced inexperienced backstops into regular duty and limited Minor's off-speed repertoire.
The word you hear repeated most often with Minor is pitchability. He doesn't have typical first-round "stuff." His fastball is around 86-to-91, occaisionally touching 93, but he compliments that with a plus changeup to go along with two other solid pitches, a slider and a curveball. Minor also comes with one of the best pickoff moves of any pitcher in the draft, and controlling the running game is something Atlanta pitching needs to improve upon. His pitchability also extends to his presence on the mound. He's a pitcher who thinks and adjusts on the mound and has the ability to be one pitch ahead of the hitter.
Minor follows in the footsteps of some other high picks from Vanderbuilt, Jeremey Sowers and David Price. Winning the Summer Player of the Year award is something else Minor and Price have in common. Like Price, Minor could move fast through the Braves system. If he signs quickly, and reports are he is very "signable," then he could start the year at either Rome or Myrtle Beach.
Mike Minor is not the "sexy" pick at number-7, and his ceiling seems to be that of a number-2 or number-3 starter. Many fans, including those chatting on this site, were not too impressed with this pick, hoping that the team would instead go with a higher upside talent. But the Braves are one of the best teams at scouting and player development, and rarely do they waste first-round picks on prospects that never pan out. Perhaps there was a bit of hesitance to select a high-risk-high-reward player with this high of a selection, and they instead went with one of the few sure-things in the draft.
I give this pick a grade of B+. That's kind of how you could describe Minor. He's polished, but not flashy.
Click here for an MLB scouting report and some video of Minor. Below is his video highlight reel from his last three years at Vanderbuilt: