ATLANTA -- A.J. Minter will become the newest member of Atlanta's bullpen, and Max Fried will now have a chance to increase his innings total while making a couple starts over the remainder of the Minor League season.The Braves recalled Minter and optioned Fried to Triple-A Gwinnett before Wednesday night's
ATLANTA -- A.J. Minter will become the newest member of Atlanta's bullpen, and Max Fried will now have a chance to increase his innings total while making a couple starts over the remainder of the Minor League season.
The Braves recalled Minter and optioned Fried to Triple-A Gwinnett before Wednesday night's game against the Mariners at SunTrust Park
"I called my dad and said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you can't go to work tomorrow, you've got to come see your son pitch in the big leagues,'" Minter said. "It was one of those moments you dream about your whole life, to be able tell your dad. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."
Minter ranks as the Braves' 24th-best prospect per MLBPipeline.com. The 23-year-old southpaw has the capability to be the best reliever Atlanta's organization has produced since Craig Kimbrel. But injury woes have plagued him throughout this season, and he has pitched on back-to-back days just once during his professional career.
Fried, who ranks as the organization's 10th-best prospect, got a taste of the big leagues as a reliever after the Braves opted to promote him from Double-A Mississippi on Aug. 5. The 23-year-old left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits while issuing six walks and recording four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for Atlanta. Most of the damage was incurred on Aug. 16, when he allowed a Trevor Story three-run homer during his third inning of work at Coors Field.
While Minter spends the remainder of this season introducing himself to the big league scene, Fried will now make a couple of starts for Triple-A Gwinnett before likely returning to Atlanta in September after the Major League rosters expand.
When the Braves selected Minter in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft, he was just a couple months removed from the Tommy John surgery that ended his career at Texas A&M. Minter posted a 1.30 ERA over three Minor League levels last year, but he never pitched with fewer than three days of rest.
Minter had an outside shot of beginning this season in Atlanta's bullpen, but he missed most of Spring Training because of an inflamed nerve near his left elbow. Minter then strained an adductor muscle while making his season debut on April 11 for Class A Advanced Florida.
Cleared to begin pitching again in June, Minter was promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett in early July. He struggled through his first couple weeks, but he's allowed just one run and four hits while recording nine strikeouts and allowing six walks over his past nine innings. Minter did not pitched with less than three days of rest in any of the six appearances he made this month.
"The little bit I've seen of him, it's been like, 'Oh God, I don't know how guys hit him,'" manager Brian Snitker said. "Guys who have played with him say, 'This guy is something else.'"
Fried has completed 93 1/3 innings this season. and as he nears the end of his age-23 season, he has a career-high total of just 118 2/3 innings. The southpaw missed most of the 2014 season and all of '15 recovering from the Tommy John surgery performed before he was acquired in the December 2014 trade that sent Justin Upton to the Padres.
If Fried makes a coupe starts for Gwinnett, pitches out of Atlanta's bullpen in September and possibly logs some innings in the Arizona Fall League, he could at least approach his career-high innings total and possibly increase his potential innings limit for the 2018 season.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.