Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mike Minor Over Randall Delgado? RLY?

Updated: 10:30 PM, 7/15 - Dr. Brave at Chopnation brought something to my attention that I forgot in my haste to complain about this move.  Demoting Mike Minor would likely exhaust his options and force the Braves (and any team they possibly trade him to) into a tough decision if Minor plays himself into a demotion at a later date.  When you look at it that way and with Randall Delgado not exactly setting the world on fire, I am tempted to completely withdraw my objection to the decision.

According to something that goes by the name Vivlamore, the Braves have decided to demote Randall Delgado for Ben Sheets.  I get the idea.  Delgado gets a start Monday at Gwinnett and gets brought back up on Saturday for the double header in D.C.  That's cool.

The move means left-hander Mike Minor will keep his spot in the rotation and will likely pitch Wednesday against the Giants. The Braves had to choose between Minor and Delgado to make room for Sheets as both youngsters have struggled this season.
“It was a tough decision between him and Minor,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The last couple starts with Minor we felt there was some progress being made.”
Wait...what?  First off...why would you need to throw out Minor on Wednesday?  Ya know, I'll get back to that.

What "progress" is being made by Mike Minor?  He looked decent against the Cubs on the fifth, but it is the Cubs after all and they lost their offense in the ivy (along with Andre Dawson, apparently).  Minor gave up three hits, walked three, and K'd six over six innings.  Three runs scored and one homer was surrendered.  The game snapped a streak of three straight with four or more runs given up.  After beginning the year with three solid starts, Minor has three quality starts in 13 games.  Four pitchers have a worse FIP.  He's tied with one of those guys in HR/9 and it's not like Minor really plays in a homerific park.

And sadly, Gonzalez thinks he's showing improvement.  It is true that he has not allowed homers at a head-spinning rate like he did when he gave up eleven in five starts (he's been touched up for seven in seven starts since), but just because not as many balls have left the reservation doesn't mean he's pitching at all well.  Has he been unlucky?  Sure.  Probably.  Maybe.  But progress?  Apparently, Gonzalez thinks "progress" means something else.

Not to say Delgado has been awesome by any means because he hasn't, but he's been noticeably better than Minor.  Of the current rotation, only Tim Hudson has outperformed Delgado's 4.21 FIP and 4.17 xFIP.  Delgado's walks have been an issue, but in an ACTUAL example of progress, Delgado has issued five walks over his last four starts (19.1 ING), an improvement if only because he issued six in the game preceding the previous four.  Still considering he's walked three or more in nine of his 16 starts, to have a run of four starts without running into considerable control issues is progress.

A part of me believes the difference isn't severe between the two, but regardless, shouldn't you want the better starter on the mound?  Another part of me believes Minor is the guy they are trying to sell to Milwaukee in any potential Zack Greinke deal.  Still another part of me thinks Gonzalez flipped a coin and built a BS story to justify the Gods' choice.

By the way...with an off day Monday, why start Minor on Wednesday?  Jair Jurrjens could go Tuesday and back to the rest of the staff on regular rest (Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Sheets) to set up Minor/Delgado for the double header.

But I forgot to consult my Book of Random Decisions.

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