The Unlikely Renaissance: Mike Minor
The Stats: 1.96 ERA/2.28 FIP/1.02 WHIP, 4-1 in 33 appearances, 3.67 K/BB, 9.6 K/9, 1.2 fWAR
The Case: I like to think that somewhere in mid-May, this conversation took place in Ned Yost’s office…
MINOR: You wanted to see me, Skip?
NED: Yeah, Mike. I was sitting around a few days ago and thought, “Boy, I haven’t done anything nutty in a while and I need to keep everybody on their toes.” So I thought maybe you’d like to start Saturday’s game.
MINOR: Well, I appreciate that Skip, but I’m actually good. I like this bullpen thing.
NED: [shining a tuba] Really?
MINOR: Yeah. I was a pretty so-so starter, but I think this long-relief stopper role may be just for me.
NED: [playing thrash metal in a vain attempt to soothe a dozen frightened baby goats] Is that so?
MINOR: Yeah. Bring up Junis or Skoglund or someone like that and let them get their feet wet. I’m happy where I’m at.
NED: [attempting to figure out a fidget spinner] If you say so. Good talk Mike.
MINOR: Same Skip. Also, the guys wanted me to remind you that aluminum foil is not microwave safe.
The point (aside from the sarcastic barbs at Ned Yost) is that Minor has figured out what he’s good at—and it’s not taking the ball every five days and trying to find six quality innings.
Anybody Have His Spot Who Shouldn’t?: Yu Darvish is not having his finest year by any standard, but somebody has to represent Texas. I’m not real sure why Luis Severino is here—the Yanks are well-represented with five All-Stars, which should just remind everyone that the Yankees are the worst—but I guess I can see it?
The most obvious comparison is Andrew Miller, but Andrew Miller is also a late-inning god who should never be compared to anyone and is best avoided at all costs. 13.82 K/9, ERA/FIP/WHIP all under 2.00 (his WHIP is a microscopic 0.71) and I’ll put you in a class by yourself.
But in American League Relievers Who Are Not Closers (Non-Miller Division), Minor is on the shortlist of game changers, and aside from Houston’s Chris Devenski (who got ROBBED of an All-Star bid) and teammate Joakim Soria, Minor is the only one on a contender. While I never consider an All-Star nod to be some kind of lifetime achievement banner, the fact remains that Soria has had his and unless something tragic happens, Devenski will get his. If I’m replacing Severino (and in this hypothetical, I am), tie goes to the guy who’s never been before.
How Robbed Should He Feel?: I mean… Luis Severino? Eh. Devenski has more of a gripe here. Give Minor a 4 out of 10.