Minor played baseball and basketball at Forrest High in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. He then accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt.
Chapel Hill, Tennessee is a real small town. "There are two stoplights, a Sonic drive-in, and three gas stations," says Mike. "Everybody hangs out at the Shell gas station, just sitting on the tailgate of a truck and talking."
"There are a lot of cows, horses, farms. For fun, we used to have a 'field party,' which was a field, a fire, and everybody hanging around. In high school, we went to Franklin, Tennessee. It had a mall, restaurants, a bowling alley, and movies. It was about 30 minutes away," Minor said.
Mike really got the attention of scouting directors in the summer of 2008 while toiling for USA Baseball's college national team. Minor was named Summer Player of the Year in 2008 with a dominant performance that included a 3-0, 0.75 ERA record in six outings as well as two victories over Cuba.
In 2009, Minor completed his junior season at Vanderbilt, where he went 6-6, 3.90 ERA in the spring.
Asked why he majored in sociology at Vanderbilt, Minor said, "I didn't choose sociology to work in that field. It was a major with the classes that were most suited to the baseball schedule. I figured if baseball didn't work out, I'd have a Vanderbilt degree, and I could go somewhere and people would see that and know it wasn't easy, and I'd be more apt to be hired."
In 2010, Baseball America had Minor as the 4th-best prospect in the Braves' organization. And they had him at #4 again in the spring of 2011.
Minor is nicknamed "Spike." Asked where that came from, he said, "My freshman year at Vanderbilt University, David Price used to call me, 'Mike the Spike,' I guess because it rhymed and I used to wear my hair spiked up.
"I thought Spike was a cool nickname, but when I went to play X-Box, I needed a user name and Spike was already taken, so I went to 'Spikezilla.' Now my friends call me 'Spikezilla.' That's how it all evolved," Minor said.
Minor pitched for the United States National Team (collegiate) in 2007 and 2008. One highlight of the 2008 season was his 4–1 win over Cuba in the championship game of the Haarlem Baseball Week tournament in The Netherlands. This victory marked the first time in recorded history that a United States Collegiate National Team has defeated the Cuba Olympic Team in a tournament title game.
In the 2008 World University Baseball Championship held in Brno, Czech Republic, Minor led Team USA to its third Gold Medal alongside Stephen Strasburg. In the tournament, he was 1–0 with a 1.15 ERA and 16 strikeouts, allowing 8 hits in 15 innings for Team USA.
July 2019: Minor represented the Rangers in the All-Star Game.
June 2009: The Braves chose Minor in the first round (7th overall), out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Minor fulfilled a childhood dream to play for the team he'd watched in his youth.
"It's awesome having grown up a Braves fan and being close to home," said Minor. "Now all my friends and family can come see me when I do make it. It's awesome being a Braves guy now."
August 6, 2009: The Braves inked the deal with Mike, a $2.4 million signing bonus—the highest signing bonus ever paid by the Braves.
January 17, 2014: Minor and the Braves avoided salary arbitration, agreeing on a $3.8 million deal for 2014.
December 2, 2015: Mike elected free agency.
February 19, 2016: Minor signed a two-year deal with the Royals for $7.2 million, which could be worth $24.5 million over three years if he is a regular member of the rotation. (Editor's note: Mike stayed in the bullpen.)
November 3, 2017: Mike chose free agency.
- December 4, 2017: The Rangers agreed to terms with free agent Minor on a three-year, $28 million pact.
|DOB:||12/16/1987||Agent:||Jet Sports Mgmt.|
|Birth City:||Chapel Hill, TN|
|Draft:||Braves #1 - 2009 - Out of Vanderbilt Univ. (TN)|
Minor has an 93-96 mph 4-seam FASTBALL with excellent late boring action; a 90-94 mph 2-seam SINKER; an 87-90 mph SLIDER; an 80-84 mph hammer CURVEBALL with 12-to-6 late downer movement; and a fading-and-sinking 86-88 mph CHANGEUP, which is his best pitch.
He changes speeds on his lively fastball, keeping hitters off balance. He actually adds and subtracts with all his pitches to keep hitters off-balance. (Spring, 2017)
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 44.8% of the time; Sinker 2.5% of the time; Change 11.3%; and Slider 33.1%; Curve 8/1%; and Cutter .2% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 48.5% of the time; Sinker 1%; Change 18.8%; Slider 20.9%; and his Curve 10.8% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.3 mph, Sinker 88.4, Change 86.3, Slider 87.8, and Curve 80.9 mph.
- 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 44.7% of the time, his Change 24.6%; Slider 19.3%; and Curve 11.4% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 92.8 mph, Change 86.4, Slider 86.6, and Curve 80.9 mph.
Mike has the poise to stay calm no matter what happens.
Minor has a fine, repeatable delivery. His control and command are excellent. But occasionally he can be too fine and nibble. He needs to challenge hitter more often. And normally, he mixes his three pitches with impressive command and acumen.
By the end of the 2011 season, you could tell Mike had more of a plan on where he wants to throw his slider and curveball. As his third and fourth-best pitches, they had improved.
March 10, 2019: Rangers manager Chris Woodward made it official: Mike Minor will be the Rangers' Opening Day starter. Minor will match up against lefthander Jon Lester when the Rangers face the Cubs on March 28 at Globe Life Park.
April 16, 2019: Minor, needing just 103 pitches and facing just three batters over the minimum, delivered his first career shutout in pitching the Rangers to a 5-0 victory over the Angels at Globe Life Park.
April 28, 2019: Minor's 13 strikeouts were a career-high, and tied the Rangers' club record for a lefthander shared by Jamie Moyer on April 8, 1989 and Cliff Lee on July 27, 2010. The overall record is 16, done twice by Nolan Ryan.
May 21, 2019: Minor, given five runs in the first inning, began his start by throwing five scoreless innings—that gave him a club record streak of 29 consecutive scoreless innings at Globe Life Park—before he gave up two runs in the sixth. The previous club mark was 25 2/3 innings by former Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson.
September 26, 2019: Seventh-inning home runs by Willie Calhoun and Rougned Odor, and a grand slam by Danny Santana in the fifth, helped Rangers pitcher Mike Minor set career highs for both wins and innings pitched in a 7-5 victory over the Red Sox at Globe Life Park.
Minor went 8 2/3 innings to earn his 14th win and also finished with a personal-best 208 innings and 200 strikeouts. He struck out nine, joining Lance Lynn (236) as the second set of Rangers pitchers with 200 or more in a single season, joining Nolan Ryan and Bobby Witt, who did it in 1990.
- As of the start of the 2020 season, Minor has a career record of 70-60 with 3.90ERA, having allowed 142 home runs and 1,024 hits in 1,095 innings.
Mike has an exceptional pickoff move. He developed it in college and he really controls the running game.
"At Vanderbilt, we worked a lot on attacking the running game instead of just controlling it," Minor explained. "The thing I do is when a fast runner gets on, I try to make them feel as uncomfortable as I can, by throwing over there with different picks, slide stepping to the plate, leg raises to the plate, long holds.
"A lot of pitchers get into the habit of set and go, set and go, set and go. We attack the running game by picking over numerous times, different ways, so they can't get a good jump."
February 24-May 2, 2014: Minor hoped he'd be ready for spring training and part of the Braves' starting rotation when the regular season began. But he was still recovering from a surgical procedure that removed scar tissue from his urethra. The surgery took place on December 31, 2013.
September 20, 2014: Minor was sidelined for the last week of the season after tests revealed inflammation in his pitching shoulder.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says Minor may have aggravated the shoulder by pushing to make up for his late start to spring training.
March 10, 2015: Inflammation in the rotator cuff in his left shoulder caused him to start the season on the D.L. An MRI showed inflammation, and Minor was examined by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
"They say there is nothing wrong structurally," Minor said. "Hopefully, the stretching and shoulder exercises will knock it out. There is no tearing or frays. It is just weak, and that is causing it to pinch."
Minor decided to undergo season-ending surgery on May 13, 2015, repairing the labrum in his left shoulder.
May 14-end of 2015 season: While performing an exploratory surgical procedure in Los Angeles, Dr. Neal ElAttrache repaired a slight tear of the labrum in Minor's left shoulder. Minor missed the remainder of the season.
- March 15-November 4, 2016: Minor missed the entire season on the 60-Day D.L. He was recovering from labrum surgery in 2015.