Fifty Prospects In Fifty Days: #15 Patrick Weigel and #14 A.J. Minter

RHP Patrick Weigel of the Gwinnett Braves. (Photo: Chuck Pitts/Gwinnett Braves)

15. Patrick Weigel, RHP
Age: 23 | Throws: R
4.14 ERA | 3.98 FIP | 15 G, 15 GS | 78.1 IP | 3.22 BB/9 | 7.81 K/9
Current Assignment: Class AAA Gwinnett
Acquired: Drafted, 7th Round – 2015
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking: 16

History: Few prospects that Braves have drafted during the rebuild has improved his stock more than Patrick Weigel. A hard-throwing but control-challenged reliever most of his college career, Weigel and Braves coaches have worked hard to overhaul his mechanics. Weigel was one of the top starters for the 2016 Rome championship team before his late-season promotion to AA Mississippi, where he pitched to a 2.18 ERA his last three regular season starts and was named the organizational Pitcher of the Year. He started the 2017 season back in Mississippi, but after 7 effective starts, Weigel was bumped up to AAA Gwinnett. Other than two disaster starts with Gwinnett, one of which he was pitching at least partially with a torn UCL, Weigel pitched to a 1.74 ERA with Gwinnett. Unfortunately, after that last start it was confirmed the Weigel would require Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

Pitching:  Weigel is 6’-6”, 220 pounds and he uses that length to get his mid-90s fastball quickly to the plate. Despite the college scouting reports of control problems, Weigel spots his fastball well, and often seems to get stronger as the game progresses. He throws both a slider and a curveball, both of which can be swing-and-miss pitches when he’s spotting them well. His change-up remains a work in progress, but it’s possible he won’t need it as he has been able to handle left-handed hitters with his main 3 pitches. He did find strikeouts a little harder to come by at the AAA level, and that’s a key component for Weigel staying out of trouble; however, this may have been an effect of his elbow started to give way.

What’s Next: Weigel will spend most of the 2018 rehabbing his elbow. He could be throwing off the mound in spring training, with possible rehab assignments toward the end of the season. That would set Weigel up to be back to full health for 2019 and knocking on the door of the major leagues.

 

Atlanta left-handed reliever A.J. Minter. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

14. A.J. Minter, LHP
Age: 24 | Throws: L
3.33 ERA | 3.39 FIP | 26 G, 0 GS | 24.1 IP | 4.44 BB/9 | 11.10 K/9
Current Assignment: MLB – Atlanta
Acquired: Drafted, 2nd Round – 2015 (pick acquired from Diamondbacks)
Midseason 2017 OFR Ranking : 24

History: 

Minter was recovering from Tommy John surgery when the Braves make him a 2nd-round supplemental pick in the 2015 draft, taking a gamble on a player that likely would have been a first-rounder if healthy. Minter didn’t make his pro debut until May 2016 and ultimately pitched 34.2 sensational innings while shooting up to the AA level. The following spring however found Minter struggling with forearm inflammation and he started the season on the DL, and while rehabbing suffered a groin injury. Minter didn’t get back into games until mid-June, but once again he was terrific in his limited time. On August 25, Minter was called up to Atlanta. In 15 innings with the big league club, he pitched to a 3.00 ERA while striking out 26 hitters.

Pitching: Minter is a classic high-leverage short reliever, a fireman who is called upon to get the most critical outs of a game. Minter’s works a 96-98 mph four-seam fastball with with good movement, and he complements it with a cutter that moves away from right-handers in the low-90s. Minter’s primary swing-and-miss is a hard, biting slider that he throws down and away to lefties. The knock on Minter is the ongoing question of his stamina. In his pro career, he has only pitched back-to-back games once, and once he gets past 20 pitches he typically starts to lose his command and typically will miss in the strikezone. Minter is an extreme flyball pitcher, and while most of his outings are short ones, he can be hurt with the home run.

What’s Next: A.J. Minter was the first player drafted during the rebuild to make it to Atlanta, despite his medical issues. Barring another setback, he should be ticketed for an important role in the Atlanta bullpen in 2018 as the most impressive pure relief prospect since Craig Kimbrel.

 

OFR Top 50 Prospects:

14. A.J. Minter, LHP
15. Patrick Weigel, RHP
16. William Contreras, C
17. Brett Cumberland, C
18. Dustin Peterson, OF
19. Kyle Muller, LHP
20. Travis Demeritte, IF
21. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
22. Drew Waters, OF
23. Lucas Herbert, C
24. Jacob Lindgren, LHP
25. Freddy Tarnok, RHP
26. Izzy Wilson, OF
27. Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B
28. Kade Scivicque, C
29. Akeel Morris, RHP
30. Devan Watts, RHP
31. Tucker Davidson, LHP
32. Drew Lugbauer, 1B/3B/C
33. Corbin Clouse, LHP
34. Jarad James, OF
35. Huascar Ynoa, RHP
36. Tyler Pike, LHP
37. Anfernee Seymour, OF
38. Thomas Burrows, LHP
39. Matt Withrow, RHP
40. Jeremy Walker, RHP
41. Tyler Neslony, OF
42. Ray-Patrick Didder, OF
43. Leudys Baez, OF
44. Jonathan Morales, C
45. Derian Cruz, 2B
46. Jefrey Ramos, OF
47. Drew Harrington, LHP
48. Wes Parsons, RHP
49. Caleb Dirks, RHP
50. Alan Rangel, RHP

About Andy Harris 131 Articles

Andy Harris has been a baseball fan since seeing the Big Red Machine in 1978 and hardcore baseball fan since reading Bill James’s Historical Baseball Abstract in 1990. Andy moved to the Atlanta area in 1991, which turned out to be a pretty good year for the local team.

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