Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 7/10/12
Mlb-oakland-tampa-bay-rays

CBS's Jon Heyman is reporting that Ben Sheets will start on Sunday for the Braves. Sheets officially signed with the team two weekends ago, and made a pair of rehab starts for AA Mississippi. In those two starts, Sheets allowed six earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, but struck out ten while walking just one, and he didn't allow a homer.

One concerning note from Sheets's rehab is his performance against right-handed hitters. Sheets allowed 11 hits while recording just 14 outs against righties, walking one and striking out just three. Against lefties, Sheets allowed only one hit while setting down 18 hitters, walking none and striking out nine.

Sheets hasn't pitched in the majors in nearly two years, with his final start coming on July 19, 2010 with the A's. Sheets has dealt with numerous injuries since, including his second tear of his flexor tendon. Sheets will turn 34 next week.

To make room for Sheets in the rotation, Atlanta is faced with an interesting decision, which will revolve around young starters Mike Minor and Randall Delgado. On the surface, Minor seems like the obvious pitcher to demote due to his 5.97 ERA, nearly a run and a half higher than Delgado's 4.52 mark. But digging a little deeper, you see that Minor has better strikeout and walk rates than Delgado, and his main issue comes from terrible luck with flyballs going out of the park (15.6% of Minor's flyballs are homers, 4.5% higher than the league average and one of the worst marks in the National League).

The 24 year-old Minor also has extensive AAA experience, throwing 134 innings at the level over his career. Compare that to the 22 year-old Delgado, who has only thrown 21 2/3 innings in AAA, and could probably refine his pitching a little more. I don't see what Minor is going to learn in AAA with a demotion, whereas Delgado could turn into a better pitcher with more instruction in the minors.

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com

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