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Braves prospect retrospect: Mike Minor

Mike Minor made pretty quick work of the minor leagues and is still going strong today. Take a look back at the former Atlanta Braves top-10 prospect.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Mike Minor was an exciting arm out of the pitching factory of Vanderbilt. Both a first-round draft pick and top-100 prospect for the Atlanta Braves, Minor’s MLB career never fully panned out as hoped. That’s not to say he hasn’t made a career for himself.

Let’s take a look back at Minor’s career.

Mike Minor, Vanderbilt sensation

Minor was a ridiculous high school pitcher. He threw 12 complete game shutouts in 13 starts for Forrest High School (Tennessee) and posted a 0.08 ERA with 188 strikeouts in his senior season. Despite being drafted in 2006 by the Tampa Bay Rays, Minor elected to go to Vanderbilt.

He certainly delivered. Minor was the 2007 SEC freshman of the year. He and this other starting pitcher named David Price combined to go 20-2 that season. He stepped into the spotlight as the ace in his sophomore and junior campaigns and climbed the draft board ladder. A command and control pitcher, Minor was one of the tops arms poised to go in 2009.

Check out this solid highlight reel from Vanderbilt baseball.

Sure enough, the Braves came calling and took Minor seventh overall in the 2009 MLB draft.

Mike Minor, Braves top-100 prospect

Minor hit the ground running and was ridiculous in his 2009 professional debut. He made four starts with the Rome Braves and pitched to a 0.64 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and 17 strikeouts with no walks in 14 innings. A trip to the desert that autumn in the Arizona Fall League didn’t go as well but it didn’t change Minors status as one of the best up-and-coming lefties.

The 2010 campaign was a big one. He began the year in Mississippi, earned an MLB Futures Game selection, utterly dominated in six starts in Gwinnett (going 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 33.1 innings) and made nine appearances with Atlanta in just his second season.

In just about a calendar year, Minor was a big-leaguer. Heading into his 2011 season, he was a consensus top-50 prospect by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.

Mike Minor’s MLB career

Minor has quite the interesting career. The lefty with so much promise was part of a youth rebellion in the Braves rotation. He joined exciting prospects like Tommy Hansen, Jair Jurrjens and Brandon Beachy.

Most of those arms, Minor included, never seemed to reach their full potential in large part thanks to injury-plagued careers.

Minor spent six seasons with the Braves, though he missed his entire final year with rotator cuff, shoulder and torn labrum issues. In fact, Minor didn’t throw a single MLB pitch in the 2015 and 2016 season.

He went 38-36 with the Braves in five seasons, posting a 4.10 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a 566-to-187 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 652.2 innings. He made it back to the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals in 2017 and had a career rebirth out of the bullpen. That big season led to a contract with the Texas Rangers where he became a solid starting pitcher once again, even earning All-Star honors in 2019.

Minor was traded to the Oakland A’s halfway through 2020 and then released at the end of the season. Still just 32 years old, the lefty is sure to have some suitors this offseason proving he can still be a viable back-of-the-rotation arm. Though he never reached the lofty expectations, Minor has enjoyed a solid nine-year career that the final chapter has not yet been written.

Did you hear? Thanks to you, our dear readers enjoying this series, we have our own Prospect Retrospect hub page now! Be sure to check out those prospects we have already looked at and keep up with who is yet to come below:

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