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Putting a “Hold” Tag on Mike Minor

Over his past 28 starts, Mike Minor has a 2.75 ERA. That is just under a full season worth of starts with a miniscule ERA, so I think it is about time Minor is taken a bit more seriously. Even amongst the Braves crowd, and I know because I am entrenched in it, he is looked at among many as a back end type who is on a hot streak. People are just waiting for him to explode and revert back to the Minor of old.

Given his peripheral metrics, there is reason to expect that to happen. His BABIP has been suppressed over the past two seasons, with a .252 mark last year and a .239 this season. While those numbers are unsustainable, the fact that he allows the most fly balls in baseball should let him continue to post low BABIPs even with high home run rates.

If you take from the start of July to this year, which spans 23 starts – this is when he really got it going last year – he has walked just 28 batters in 146 innings. That is a 5% walk rate, which is just astonishing. This combined with his low BABIP has allowed his WHIP to sit in the top-15 in baseball the past two years. WHIP is not a tremendous stat, but most fantasy leagues account for it and having what seems to be a perennial top-20 member in your rotation is something to enjoy.

So, with the understanding of how good Minor has been over the past calendar year, what should owners or prospective owners be doing with him? At this point, his value is as high as it has ever been. Trading for him will cost a pretty penny, and I would wait for a bad start or two to send any serious offers over. If you currently own Minor, I am not looking to “sell high.” It is entirely possible that this is actually what Minor is, and that he won’t suffer a number of hiccups. It is not certain, maybe not even likely, but your rotation would take a big blow if it got rid of what seems to be the best starter on one of the best teams in the league.

I am putting a strong “hold” recommendation on Minor right now, even with a big gap in his ERA and FIP. He will continue to allow a good amount of home runs, but as long as he keeps that walk rate at a tremendously low level and keeps the ball in the air as much as anyone in the league, most of those home runs will be solo shots. Enjoy the value you grabbed Minor at and don’t be tempted to sell him for a slightly intriguing package. Get full value for him if you wish to move him, but hold onto him if at all possible.