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Does Zach Miner Have a Place in the Royals Plans?

On the official site yesterday, Dick Kaegel wrote about current Royal farmhand Zach Miner. A former semi-mainstay with the Tigers, Miner missed 2010 with Tommy John surgery, but resurfaced last season in the Royals subterranean leagues. There was no discussion of Miner's sneakily hard to spell full name, which features the always impossible Zach/k issue and the Miner/or foil.

As Miner told Kaegel:

"The arm's great. It probably took me until the middle of July last year until I started feeling normal," Miner said. "It didn't hurt, which was encouraging, but it wasn't bouncing back between innings and my velocity would fluctuate. Which was frustrating."

In 157 games for Detroit from 2006-09, Miner managed a 107 ERA+ mostly out of the bullpen, although he did make 35 starts. Always a low strikeout (career K/9 of 5.5) and low walk pitcher (3.7 BB/9) Miner is the kind of pitcher who needs to sequence events properly and have a good defense behind him to succeed. In 2007, his most effective career season, he was almost entirely a reliever and he had a huge groundball spike that generated success. At this point, five years and a TJ later, it's hard to know what to expect.

The Royals gave Miner 11 starts at NWA last season (7.16 ERA, though according to the peripherals he wasn't that bad) followed by 12 relief appearances with Omaha (1.59 ERA). In NWA Miner couldn't miss bats, and his 4.9 K/9 number at AA is terrifying. However, he was just coming back from injury, etc. etc. In Omaha, the strikeouts came back a little bit, but his groundball numbers dropped, so it's an ambivalent package.

Given the wealth of bullpen options the Royals have, it's hard to foresee Miner contributing to the team, unless he takes another step forward.