Red Sox 25 in 25: Wade Miley
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came to the Red Sox in a trade last month from the Arizona Diamondbacks for two-fifths of last year’s season closing starting rotation,
in a pattern the Red Sox developed this offseason after losing the
sweepstakes to the Cubs. The strategy seems to be to develop a solid rotation from top to bottom instead of throwing a huge pile of dollars at an ace. Of course there are still aces looming in potential trades and free agency, but as currently constituted they have a solid group of proven starting pitchers.
Let’s take a closer look at Wade Miley who is under team control through the 2017 season. Miley is in his first arbitration year of his allotted three and is in the process right now. He has submitted a figure of $4.3 million for his 2015 salary, the Red Sox have countered with a $3.4 million figure. The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since the John Henry ownership tenure began in 2002, so the final agreed upon salary figure is generally somewhere in the middle of those submitted by each side.
Miley was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft by the D-backs out of Southeastern Louisiana University. Miley was born in Louisiana, as well as graduating high school there, before staying in his home state for college. He had been drafted by the Rays out of high school in the 20th round in 2005, but chose college instead.
The scouting report on Miley is that he is a quick worker with a three pitch arsenal. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s. His change-up might be his second best pitch, coming in about ten miles per hour slower than the fastball, with a deceptive late drop. His slider comes to the plate between 87 and 90 miles an hour, allowing him to be effective to both right and left handed batters. Occasionally, Miley will mix in a curveball, but it is unlikely he would ever go to it in a key situation since it is probably his least effective offering.
What the Red Sox have done aside from not securing an ace this offseason is to get a bunch of groundball pitchers. The Pittsburgh Pirates induced the most groundballs in the majors last year at 50.5%. Miley’s rate was 48.6% last year which would be second if the league if he constituted a whole team. He is actually the low man in the rotation, Justin Masterson is first with 56.6% League average is 44 percent. If the team fields well, and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) stay reasonable, a pitcher like Miley could be very effective.
With durability concerns swirling around Joe Kelly (220 innings total over the last two seasons), Clay Buchholz (only 2 seasons over 170 innings, never made 30 starts in a year), and Justin Masterson battling back from an injury filled stretch, a horse like Miley is something the Red Sox starting rotation needs to be its anchor. Miley has made 95 starts over the past three seasons, throwing at least 190 innings each year. At the very least, Miley will eat up innings and take some pressure off the bullpen.
With Miley and Kelly under control at least the next two seasons, the Red Sox have the core of a solid young rotation. Red Sox fans are hoping the team that went last to first in 2012 to 2013, can do it again in 2014 to 2015.
Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Red Sox 25 in 25: Edward Mujica [related category category=”25 in 25″]