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Options for replacing Michael Pineda on your fantasy team

April 23, 2012

Michael Pineda has suffered another setback with his right shoulder.

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda on Saturday felt lingering pain in the back of his right shoulder, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

The issue arose during an extended spring training game in Tampa, his first action since his final spring training start. Pineda lasted only 15 pitches Saturday.

This is sour news for Pineda fantasy owners. The 23-year-old began the season on the 15-day DL and has yet to see the mound for New York in 2012.

However, there are plenty of prospects available to replace Pineda.

Consider the Atlanta Braves’ Mike Minor, a 24-year-old former first-round pick who has allowed just one earned run in the past 15.1 innings.

Minor started 15 games in 2011, compiling a 4.14 ERA to go along with a 1.49 WHIP. While that may not be impressive, his 77 strikeouts in 82.2 innings are. He gave up only 30 walks.

That’s a ratio of 2.57, the 41st-best number among those pitching at least 80 innings in the National League. Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was right behind him at 2.56.

But what’s most promising about Minor isn’t last year’s numbers. His performance through three starts in 2012 should have raised some eyebrows.

In 20.1 innings, Minor has compiled an ERA of 3.10; his WHIP is 0.89. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 19-to-5, or 3.8.

While that ratio may not persist at such a high level, it could be a sign the lefty has reached a major stage in his development.

Minor showed moxie in spring training when asked about his role on the team. He entered the season competing with two other talented prospects for the Braves’ fifth starting spot.

“If they don’t have room for me here, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade me,” Minor said, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

You’ve got to respect the edge he’s bringing this year, and hopefully it translates to the mound.

Minor’s next start is scheduled for Tuesday against the Dodgers. If you find yourself in need of a replacement for Pineda, I would consider giving the Braves southpaw a shot.

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