The Braves boast an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their bullpen. Atlanta has more major league arms than spots on the roster, and A.J. Minter is coming off a career year.
He posted a 2.06 ERA over 70 innings. He struck out over a third of the batters he faced and had a sub-1.000 WHIP. Minter has always had an incredible arm from the left side and has settled in nicely as the team’s set-up man over the last three seasons, owning a combined 2.50 ERA over 158 appearances.
According to FanGraphs, Minter was the fifth-most valuable reliever in the entire league, accruing 2.1 fWAR, thanks to a career-best 12.1 K/9. Those numbers will be incredibly difficult to replicate, but his stuff is nasty, and his goals are lofty.
Minter said his goal is to issue the fewest walks among major-league relievers this season, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After issuing the 18th fewest walks per nine innings in 2022, Minter wants to be the best.
“If I keep the walks down, everything else will fall into place,” Minter said.
The only relievers who accrued more WAR were Edwin Diaz of the Mets (3.0), Emmanuel Clase of the Guardians (2.4), Devin Williams of the Brewers (2.2), and Evan Phillips of the Dodgers (2.2). Moreover, only Clase ranked better than Minter in walks per nine innings of that group.
What’s most impressive about his story is how turbulent his journey has been. After multiple demotions to AAA, A.J. Minter finally put those demons behind him and established himself as one of the better arms for the Braves.
“He’s a good story,” Brian Snitker said of Minter. “It’d be great to have him talk to our minor leaguers about his journey, getting sent back down and the things he went through in his career to get where he is right now, which is one of the better relievers in the game.”
He’s set to be the leader in the bullpen, and his goals coincide with winning.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire