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VOL. 43 | NO. 41 | Friday, October 11, 2019

Chapel Hill’s Minor rebounds from injury for All-Star year

By Tom Wood

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Former Commodore Mike Minor was joined by Sonny Gray and Walker Buehler of Los Angeles in posting 200-strikeout seasons. All three were selected for the 2019  MLB All-Star Game.

-- Photo By Louis Deluca|Ap

Of all the former Vanderbilt baseball players who had impactful 2019 major league seasons, perhaps none were bigger than that of Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Minor.

Minor, who starred for the Commodores from 2007-09, posted a 14-10 record with a 3.59 ERA in his second season with the Texas Rangers – excellent production, to be sure – but not what he’ll be remembered for this season.

The Chapel Hill native posted an MLB-best 2.40 ERA in his first 17 starts to earn a selection to the American League All-Star Game, joining Vanderbilt alums Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Sonny Gray of the Cincinnati Reds, who led the NL All-Star team.

That trio made MLB history as Vanderbilt became the first NCAA program to have three pitchers reach 200 strikeouts in the same season. Buehler finished with 215 Ks and Gray 205. Minor reached the milestone in his final start of the season.

Minor and Texas teammate Lance Lynn (236 strikeouts) became only the second set of Rangers pitchers to register 200-plus strikeouts, with Nolan Ryan and Bobby Witt achieving the feat in 1990.

And in an even rarer highlight to cap an outstanding season, on Sept. 26 in the eighth inning of a 7-5 win over the Red Sox, Minor recorded three outs on three pitches. It was the third time it happened in 2019 but only the 81st time in the AL since 1903 and just the 187th time in both leagues combined since 1894.

Quite an accomplishment since coming back from major shoulder surgery in 2014.

“I’m really pleased with Mikey Minor on, first of all, how he’s come back from major injury, which is not very easy to do,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin says. “And how he’s grown as a person. I just see him from afar.

“I remember Mikey as a 10th-grader when he used to come down to the fence before games and tell you that he was here and watching, and it’s just unique to watch him get to Vanderbilt, No. 1, and a small-town kid and how he grew inside this environment, and now watch him do it at the major league level.

“It’s been fascinating.”

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