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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL HOT STOVE SIGNING: MIKE MINOR NETS THREE-YEAR DEAL WITH RANGERS

Having seen 2016 revelation Kelvin Herrera melt under injury/ineffectiveness in logging a horrid 4.25 ERA, the Kansas City Royals were forced to look elsewhere during last season in order to find some stability at closer.  They might have found a big solution in former failed-starter-turned-ace-reliever Mike Minor who was simply phenomenal in pitching to a 2.55 ERA and logging a closer-like 10.20 in relief.  While it took the Royals until last September to hand the closer role to Minor, the lefty successfully nailed down all six attempts to give the team optimism there heading into the winter.   Finally healthy after years of serious injury (including missing all of 2015 due to Tommy John), Minor appears to be just the latest example of a guy whose stuff translates better in the bullpen.  Now that he was able to rely almost solely on his potent fastball as a reliever last season, Minor saw a big jump in velocity in going from just 91.7 in 2014 (his last previous stint in the majors), all the way up to 94.9 a year ago.  Hence the major increase in strikeouts and the resulting three-year deal worth $28 million the Texas Rangers handed to Minor this past December.  While Minor showed he can be an excellent reliever a year ago, the Rangers are going to first try him out as a starter in 2018 spring training.  While Minor had some eye-opening success as a starter with the Atlanta Braves back in 2013 (13 wins, 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), that was many seasons/injuries ago.  If Minor were trying to convert back to a starter in the National League, perhaps we would be more intrigued.  As a result, only look here if Minor makes a push for saves in the Rangers bullpen at some point during the season.  

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