Full teams have been in spring training for less than a week now and there has been one common theme around the league- pitchers are dropping like flies.
The likes of Cole Hamels, Mat Latos, Matt Harrison, and Hisashi Iwakuma among others have already been diagnosed with injuries leaving fantasy owners everywhere scratching their heads on where to draft these injured arms.
The latest to join the list is Atlanta Braves starter Mike Minor.
Minor is battling a sore pitching shoulder this spring and is a bit behind the other starters. He had groin surgery in the offseason, and word is that he rushed back and the result was a sore shoulder.
He’s throwing from 120 feet, so there’s still plenty of time to get him ready for Opening Day, but it’s also possible that his season is delayed a few days.
Minor had a breakout season for the Braves in 2014, tossing a career-high 204.2 innings with a career-best 3.21 ERA.
He has also increased his K/9 year-over-year from 7.3 to 8.0 and lowered his BB/9 from 2.8 to 2.0.
Minor’s ADP is 93.8 and he is being drafted as a Top 20 and I don’t expect that to change as the worst case scenario would likely result in Minor making 31 starts opposed to 33 baring further injury.
In other pitching news around spring training.
– The Dodgers could end up pushing ace Clayton Kershaw back a bit. The way the Dodgers’ schedule falls, Kershaw could possibly start three of the team’s first six games on regular rest given the Australia series.
However manager Don Mattingly said on Monday was that Kershaw could be held out until the Padres series in order to minimize his workload this year.
That’s nothing to panic about as Kershaw will still make his 33 starts but he may not get off to that hot start with the extra game that many would have hoped for.
– Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander threw batting practice on Monday and reported feeling pleased with how he felt after.
Verlander has lost some velocity in each of the past four seasons, as the average velocity on his fastball has dropped from 95.6 mph to 93.3 mph during that time. He also saw his control worsen a year ago, with a 3.1 BB/9 being his worst mark since 2008.
However Verlander posted a 2.27 ERA in September before dominating in the playoffs with a 0.39 mark in 23 innings. On average his ADP is 50.3 so the offseason surgery hasn’t had much of an impact on his draft spot.