Time for Braves to send down Minter

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A.J. Minter was one of the highest regarded late-inning prospects the Braves have had in years. After he showed promise in his first big league season last year, many fans were expecting him to take the next step and potentially move into a closer’s role. Things have not gone as planned.

With the injury to Arodys Vizcaino, Minter has had his opportunity to become the guy in Atlanta’s bullpen. Unfortunately, he has failed. In 15 games so far this season, Minter has gotten the contagious walk bug that has haunted the bullpen. Though a small sample size, his walk rate has more than doubled. He has given up runs in a third of his outings, and unfortunately for Minter, when it has rained it has poured. When he has not been on, teams have hit him hard and the extra men left on base always seem to find their way to home plate.

Bottom line: Minter is a liability in the bullpen right now, let alone in high leverage situations. It is time for him to go back down to AAA to work on his mechanics and get back to the A.J. we saw in 2018.

Minter started the season on the disabled list, and did not get much of a Spring Training, so there could at least be some type of justification to his struggles. Injuries have been an issue in the past, as the Braves were weary of him pitching on consecutive nights after his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.

I am not giving up on A.J. Minter. I still like his upside, and I think he can genuinely benefit from working on his stuff at a lower level. But with the Braves sitting a few games below .500, they have to put the best arms in the bullpen thy can right now. As of this writing, A.J. Minter has not fit in that category. Don’t believe me? Check out his 9.82 ERA.

It seems as if every time the Braves send an arm back to Gwinnett, we see better results when they get called back up, whether it was a true send down or a classic Alex Anthopoulos “DL stint”. Look at Sam Freeman’s numbers before and after his DL stint last season. It is time to do something along the same lines with Minter and hope for similar results, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

The Braves need Minter in this bullpen, but they need the old Minter.

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