Kansas City Royals should use Mike Minor in bullpen

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Mike Minor #26 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Mike Minor #26 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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The expectation is that the Kansas City Royals will use Mike Minor to solidify their rotation. Instead, he should be a key part of their bullpen moving forward.

Mike Minor is back for a second stint with the Kansas City Royals. After a three year absence with the Rangers and A’s, Minor is back, the prodigal pitcher having returned. He signed a two year deal worth $18 million, with a $13 million team option for 2023.

With this deal, both Minor and the Royals are hoping that the second time will be the same. Minor had resurrected his career in Kansas City, serving in the bullpen before eventually spending time as their closer. He went back to the rotation for Texas, finding success before a disastrous 2020 campaign.

The expectation is that Minor will remain in the rotation in Kansas City. He would join Danny Duffy and Brad Keller as another veteran arm that the Royals prospects could learn from. But it is that stable of prospects and young arms that make the idea of Minor as a starter a questionable proposition.

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Instead, it might make more sense for the Royals to put Minor back in the bullpen, potentially as their closer. Over his career, he has posted a 2.70 ERA and a 1.050 WHiP in a relief role, striking out 90 batters with 23 walks over 80 innings. Opponents have only mustered a .210/.269/.347 batting line in 319 plate appearances in his relief outings.

Likewise, Minor has been better the first time he has been through a lineup. He has held the opposition to a .688 OPS in his first time through a lineup as a starter, numbers that he improved upon as a reliever.

The Royals have enough high ceiling young arms in the rotation where Minor may not be much of an upgrade. Meanwhile, they need plenty of help in the bullpen, especially as they are looking to pull out of their rebuild. Minor could be a major part of that improvement.

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The belief is that Mike Minor will be a part of the Kansas City Royals rotation. Instead, he should be a key part of their bullpen.