Atlanta Braves: So what is wrong with AJ Minter?

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Things have not been going well lately for the Atlanta Braves. Between losing both Kyle Wright and Max Fried for a while to the offense's struggles the last few games, the vibes around the Braves are decidedly less exciting than they were earlier in the week. Funks are going to happen in small samples, but one of the more troubling trends that have extended past the last few games have been the struggles of AJ Minter.

Late last month, Trent put together a nice look at how the peripherals seemed to show that folks shouldn't be worried too much about AJ Minter and to be blunt, Trent was and is correct. There are a lot of things about Minter's pitch data and batted ball profiles that point to this stretch being the result of baseball being a cruel, fickly mistress.

However, that doesn't change the fact that AJ HAS been struggling and the results HAVE been decidedly not good. At the core of it, there are things that have not gone well and not all of them have been easy to explain. Here is an attempt to explain why one of the best relievers in the game has posted an ERA north of 8 into the middle of May.

He has been a bit unlucky

This isn't groundbreaking information here as Trent touched on this in his article as well, but it is worth repeating. Going into his appearance on Saturday against the Blue Jays (which also did not go well), the batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was sitting at .370. Not only is that abnormally high in general, but that is roughly 70-90 points higher than we were accustomed to seeing out of him the last few years.

His BABIP isn't the only indicator that points to AJ getting a bit unlucky. A cursory look at his expected ERA (xERA) from his Statcast profile going into Saturday was 3.85 which is nearly half of what his actual ERA (7.50) sat at at the time. With decreases in the hard hit percentage against him combined with the average exit velocity against him (86.8 mph) staying the same, this points to some poor fortune in 2023. He isn't getting barreled more, the balls are just finding a lot more holes.