A Minor report

Minor throws a four-seam fastball
Mike Minor throws a four-seam fastball against the Mets in Spring Training, March 3, 2010. (Icon/SMI)

Though I’ve always been interested in pitch grips, you may have recently noticed that fascination extending to my articles here at the Hardball Times. I don’t have much substance to add to what has already been written about Mike Minor and his major league debut last night against the Houston Astros. He pitched six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and one walk, and striking out five.

However, I did want to take a quick look at Minor and see what images I could find of his various pitch types.

He used all four pitches in his repertoire last night. His four-seam fastball started the night 92-93 mph in the first two innings but was down to 90 mph by the sixth inning.

Minor throws a very good circle change-up. Last night he threw 25 of them, ranging from 80-84 mph, and garnered seven swings and misses from the Astros hitters. You can see some images of his change-up grip from the 2010 Futures Game, in Low-A ball in 2009, and from college at Vanderbilt in 2009.

Minor throws a curveball
Mike Minor throws a knuckle curveball against the Astros, August 9, 2010. (Icon/SMI)

His third pitch is a knuckle curveball that he threw nine times last night. It clocked in at 79-81 mph, and the batters mostly watched it go by. He threw four called balls, got four called strikes, and one curve was fouled off by Chris Johnson.

I’m fairly certain Minor has a fourth pitch in his arsenal, a two-seam fastball, even though I couldn’t find any images of him throwing it. The PITCHf/x data from his major league debut as well as from the 2009 Arizona Fall League, both showed a few sinking fastballs.

My best estimate for his debut last night is that he threw about 37 four-seam fastballs and 23 two-seam sinking fastballs. His two-seamer was thrown at the same speed as his four-seam fastball, averaging about 92 mph. He tended to pitch up in the zone with the four-seamer and down in the zone with the two-seamer, which fact gives me some confidence that I’m getting the bulk of the classification between the two pitch types correct.

The most damage in the game was done against Minor’s sinker. Carlos Lee doubled off the sinker to score Jeff Keppinger, and Brett Wallace doubled off of it to score Chris Johnson, both in the fourth inning.

One game is a small sample size, so we probably can’t draw solid conclusions solely from that about the quality of his stuff, but Minor certainly looks to have a quality change-up based on the whiffs and his willingness to use the pitch frequently.

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Comments

  1. Dan said...

    To be fair, Lee got jammed badly on his double and managed to bloop it inside the line. I wouldn’t count that as a strike against that particular pitch.

  2. Wade said...

    Thanks for the article Mike.

    Minor suffered a comedy of errors with a couple of those hits – 2 (3?) bloops that found a nice patch of grass between players to land.  As Dan said, Lee’s double was the ground-rule variety, bouncing over the right foul line into the seats after hitting the line before exiting.  Even Lee was smiling.

    Also, Minor’s line was deceitful in that he pitched quite well considering that:
    A.  It was his first go
    B.  The Astros’ bats have been killing lately

    Besides, Mr. Glavine is impressed by what he’s seen of Minor, and I’d take his judgement as evidence of promising stuff to come.

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