Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s KC Royals Projections series for 2022. Between now and Opening Day, our writers are analyzing how various Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is left-handed pitcher Mike Minor.
KC Royals lefty Mike Minor is nothing if not consistent.
Over his 10-year major league career, Minor is 79-78 with a 4.11 ERA. In his first five years with Atlanta, he was 38-36 and 4.10; in five seasons in the American League with Kansas City, Texas and Oakland, he is 41-42 with an ERA of 4.13.
After missing all of 2015 with a shoulder injury that required surgery, Minor took a free-agent deal with the Royals. After making 10 minor league starts before being shut down again in 2016, Minor spent the 2017 season in the KC bullpen, making 65 relief appearances with a 2.55 ERA and six saves in his only season working in relief.
He left as a free agent after 2017 and had two solid seasons with the Rangers before being traded to Oakland during the shortened 2020 season. He struggled that year to a 1-6 record and 5.56 ERA. Free agency took him back to Kansas City ahead of the 2021 season.
Through his first 15 starts last year, Minor was 6-4 with a 4.48 ERA, but his season ended after being scratched from his Sept. 15 start with a shoulder injury. He was placed on the Injured List with an 8-12 record and 5.05 ERA.
How Baseball Reference and FanGraphs project the KC Royals’ Mike Minor.
Baseball Reference projects Minor finishing 2022 with an 8-11 record and 4.68 ERA in 154 innings, and averaging nearly one strikeout per inning and three whiffs per walk. Fan Graphs (Depth Chart version) expects Minor to go 10-10 with a 4.43 ERA in 29 starts and 170 innings.
What to expect from KC Royals’ southpaw pitcher Mike Minor this season.
The seventh overall selection in the 2009 amateur draft, Mike Minor has carved out a nice career as he enters his age-34 season. The consistency with which he pitches suggests another 10-win season with an ERA in the neighborhood of 4.50. Minor should continue to take the mound regularly and be an innings-eating, reliable starter. He won’t be flashy, but he’ll consistently give Manager Mike Matheny six or seven innings, throw 90-100 pitches and keep his club in the game.
A veteran who’s experienced success and struggles in the majors, Minor can contribute to a group of young pitchers expected to take the next step over the next couple of seasons. But, pitching in the second year of a two-year contract that includes a club option for 2023, Minor could also find himself dealt at the trade deadline if the Royals are out of contention and a team in the playoff race finds itself in need of a veteran lefty .
Mike Minor may get traded before the season ends, but he’ll probably pitch serviceably for Kansas City no matter how long he’s with the club.