Man it was a crazy weekend! I think the biggest event was I saw a dude with a Fangraphs shirt on. Way to wear your heart on your sleeve! With a 79.8% confidence. Then my boy James Paxton was straight up nasty, striking out the White Sox in order in the first inning and turning in a good start. Pour the syrup, hoser! Oh, and I got engaged…
But despite all that hooplah, I’m back, I’m fierce, and I’m ready to hit the Pitcher Profile harder than Wade Miley at the free lobster Golden Corall! “That’s just mean, JB…” Well, what was really mean was if you started Miley in his last start, tagged for 10 runs against the Royals. “Damn that Alex Gordon for bringing me those KC ribs! I had the meat sweats before I hit the field!” Even so, Miley bounced back well yesterday, and still has a surprising 144 Ks in 156.1 IP. He needs three more to surpass his 147 career-high last year that took him 200+ innings, so he’s taken a giant step forward. Which may or may not sound like Jurassic Park. Ok, I’m done! Here’s how Miley looked yesterday, with some analysis-ation on if he can help your fantasy squads down the stretch:
First Inning: Miley’s first pitch is a 91 MPH fastball on the hands of Corey Dickerson, who fouls it off to left. First thing’s first – he’s really not that beefy, I retract my open, but don’t wanna re-write it! I’m the lazy one! Definitely no Bartolo Colon out there… Anyway, another heater at 90 is inside but gets a whiff, 0-2. Fastball again up and away is slashed foul, Miley’s first slider is in the zone and fouled, then another slider sweeping across the zone gets a defensive swing and poked to second for an easy groundout. All strikes thus far as well. First pitch fastball is low to Brandon Barnes, then a fastball on the hands is grounded to third, two down. Good to see Miley able to command the inside corner both to a lefty then righty. And wow, Nolan Arenado gets a first pitch two-seam fastball, and waves through it like a pitcher with two strikes.
Man, you don’t see Arenado doing that on the first pitch very often! Another perfect fastball on the low outside black is fouled, 0-2 fastball away is poked foul again, then with backup catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (who?!) clearly calling for a high fastball, Miley makes a mistake and leaves it down the middle for a hard hit single to center. Miley was baffling Arenado through three pitches, sucks to see him make a mistake there. Up is Wilin Rosario who takes a fastball outside – only 2 balls 10 strikes thus far – but Miley misses again low, 2-0 is a change-up just off the outside corner but Rosario swings through it – bailed out there – a good fastball is swung on late and fouled, fastball inside runs it full, a good change-up in the zone is dribbled barely foul, and 3-2 again is a change-up swung through and missed to get Miley out of the inning.
Second Inning: Miley picks up two runs of support on a Mark Trumbo double, and opens the second with a fastball high and tight to Drew Stubbs. Fastball again low and inside, fastball outside, 3-0. Finally grooving a heater in there 3-1, but Miley loses him with a fastball outside. Five pitches to one of the most strikeout prone hitters in the Majors – and didn’t make him swing once! Rough start. Fastball is inside to Ben Paulsen, then wow – a pretty good slider starting inside and off the plate moving to the inside lower corner is rocked to right center for a two-run homer. The slider hung a smidge, and even though it’s Paulsen’s first career homer, that was a saucy swing. So Miley hoping to bounce back and gets Charlie Culberson to foul off a fastball, fastball again fouled, then Miley’s best slider of the day gets Culberson swinging – and that’s how you bounce back folks.
Nasty pitch there. One out, and DJ LeMahieu takes a fastball barely low, then Miley gets the call on the knees 1-1, two-seamer tails outside, change-up is outside, 3-1 fastball nicked foul, then the payoff two-seamer just off the ouside corner is grounded to first, two down. First pitch fastball is taken for strike one by opposing pitcher Franklin Morales, heater is low, a good fastball with slight sink is swung over, 1-2 fastball is low, then Miley blows him away with a fastball on the outside edge for his third K. Love pitching in the NL!
Third Inning: Still a 2-2 game, and a fastball is high to Dickerson. Perfect fastball hits the low outside corner, slider is hung high and tight, 2-1 is a much better slider sweeping to the outside edge and cut on and missed, then the 2-2 fastball is an absolute paint job – nicking the inside black for Miley’s 4th K looking. Miley starts Barnes with a nasty first-pitch curveball taken for strike one.
At 76 MPH, I love when pitchers can get curves over for strike one – seems to open up the arsenal. Plus the curve is Miley’s 4th pitch, so good to see. Fastball inside, perfect change-up gets Barnes way out in front at 83 MPH, then woof – a fastball that looked perfect low on the inside corner doesn’t get the call… Then fastball again inside and high is slashed and gets a pretty weak grounder that hugs the first base line for a single with Trumbo playing way off the line. Not good contact and a lucky inside out swing. Runner on first, and Arenado takes a fastball on the outside corner for strike one, two-seamer is way outside, Miley gets Arenado to reach for a fastball low and outside and it’s fouled, sinking fastball is low and outside again but taken, a good slider sweeps low and inside to make it 3-2, and the payoff pitch is another slider that dips low for a walk. So runners on first and second, one out, and Rosario takes a change outside, then a perfect fastball on the outside lower black is grounded weakly to second for an inning-ending GIDP.
Fourth Inning: Stubbs gets a fastball and takes it for strike one, Miley is low with the change, whew a good change-up looked like it hit the outside lower corner but called a ball, fastball right down the middle is hit hard foul, then fastball on the hands is hit to right for an easy flyout. Up is Paulsen who had the homer, and takes a fastball on the outside edge for strike one, fastball again close to down the middle is taken for 0-2, slider is way outside, high and tight fastball nicked foul, then a nasty slider which was hard at 89 MPH with tight break (may have been a cutter) gets Paulsen to swing over it as it sweeps outside for Miley’s 5th K. Payback’s a bitch! First pitch curveball is tapped foul by Culberson – glad to see that get strike one again – curveball again is ripped foul, fastball at 92 pounds barely inside, slider sweeps way low and inside, then a high change-up on the outside corner – maybe a bit of a mistake – is tapped weakly to third, but Jake Lamb can’t make the barehanded play and Culberson gets an infield single. Lucky one there. LeMahieu takes a first pitch curve low, Miley finally missing with that one, curveball again is tapped foul, fastball low, change-up low and outside, then change-up again at the knees is flied out weakly to center to end the inning.
Fifth Inning: Good to see Miley get LeMahieu out to end the 4th so he can start against Morales, who oddly shows bunt and takes the fastball outside. Bunt again and it’s barely hit in front of the plate for an easy out. I guess Morales didn’t want Miley to pad his Ks like we did! First pitch slider is hit foul by Dickerson, then fastball on the hands is grounded weakly to second, two quick outs. A solid fastball is right in there to Barnes at 92, curveball drops low, whew nasty change-up that died into the dirt is swung over and missed 1-2, then nasty nasty nasty again with the hard 88 MPH slider sweeping low and inside is swung over for his 6th K. That was a dirty sequence there, and a quick inning with a K.
Sixth Inning: Miley still protecting a 3-2 lead gets a high fastball in there to Arenado, fastball outside is hit foul, two-seamer tails way outside, then two-seamer again out there is reached for and grounded weakly to short, one down. But then a first pitch 92 MPH two-seamer on the outside third is rocketed by Rosario for a laser HR to right center. Rosario sat fastball and got it, but it barely cleared the fence. “I hate pitching in Arizona!”, yells Miley’s inner monologue. Haha. Nasty first pitch curve is taken for strike one by Stubbs, change-up is outside, fastball low, then that curveball hammers in the zone again, 2-2. And wow, curveball again, this one dropping low, gets swung over and missed for K number 7. All three strikes that K on curveballs. Miley pounds the outside corner with a fastball to Paulsen but it’s called a ball, Miley again missing by a millimeter outside, fastball is high, and it’s 3-0. Miley fights back with a fastball in there, fastball again tipped back foul – 93 MPH on both of those – then the 3-2 high slider sweeps from inside to into the zone for Miley’s 8th K looking, and that’ll be the end of his afternoon.
Final Line: ND 6 IP 101 Pitches (62 Strikes) 3 ER 5 Hits 2 Walks 8 K Gamescore: 56 Gamescore+: 60.2
Final Analysis: Miley looked really, really good in this one. Even with the great WHIP and great Ks, he got stung yet again by the long ball, giving up homers 21 and 22 this year. I wasn’t kidding when I telepathically heard he hates pitching in Arizona! That said, he got the Colorado AAA team in this start, so he can’t be too upset. Two hits were really lucky, along with the high Ks, giving him a much higher Gamescore+ value over his Gamescore.
Even though he won’t blow you away with velocity, a four-seamer topping out at 93 (topped out late in the sixth as well!) along with a two-seamer at 90-91 with good tail lays the bedrock for his arsenal. His main off-speed is the slider, which wasn’t at it’s best. He gave up the big 2-run shot to Paulsen on a bit of a low hanger, but he had it going the majority of the time. Fangraphs has it averaging 84.5 MPH, but he ramped up a few in the high 80s, so he’s got some variations on it – or has included a cutter that’s still classified as a slider. Then to the change, which had good downward bite and could really keep hitters off balance. Then I was floored by his seasonal curveball usage – only 0.7% of the time this year. The curveball was nasty yesterday! He threw about 10, and if that pitch can develop into a 6-7% usage rate, he’ll have that full 4-pitch arsenal to mow through hitters.
With this great start, Miley’s numbers are still pretty poopy this year. A 4.61 ERA and 1.32 WHIP isn’t going to get it done. But he struggled early and had a huge outlier of a horrible start earlier last week against the Royals. I didn’t move him down much, I really liked this last start, but he did move just out of the top 50 with the fear he could have another blowup. That said, his next start will be at Miami and should really limit his homer downside as long as he doesn’t through a cookie to Giancarlo Stanton. I’m streaming him in that start in every one of my leagues. His home splits of 6.20 ERA/1.44 WHIP are atrocious, but on the road he’s money with a 3.00/1.19 split. Even with a horrible offense supporting him, I think Miley is a sure-fire start almost every road outing here on out.
JB’s Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto, and from this point to the end of season – green for risers, red for fallers. New indexing key – IL = innings limit concern, WD = wear down concern)
Dropped Out: Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels (TJ – after yet another “non-serious” forearm stiffness… How many times are we going to hear that story?!), Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Dodgers (hip, might miss rest of season), Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates (never had him out of the 90s and Ks are disappearing again)
- Big movers this week – Doug Fister and Francisco Liriano. Yawn!!! Boring vets… Fister I was way wrong on and he’s been ridic. Mostly the latter syllable. And Liriano is on fire with high velocity. Feeling good using either no-question right now.
- Oh man, how good is Kluber?!
- Mike Minor is still a hold for me in leagues deeper than 12 teams. In 2012, with the same exact velocity, pre-break 5.97/1.42 vs. post-break 2.16/0.87. That included a 9.95/1.89 May and a 0.87/0.71 September. Needless to say, he was atrocious and then found it. No way I could start him right now, but since the velo is the same, maybe he finds it in a few starts.
- I know the pair of Yankees pitchers – Pineda and Tanaka – are working their way back, but I have no faith in either one to contribute (well) again this year.
- I don’t know what it is – but I just want to like Eovaldi so much! Back-to-back great starts with 6 Ks in each. Maybe a late-season hot streak could sneak up on us.
What do you think about Miley? Do you think my love for him “can’t stop”? As always, I love your thoughts and comments and let me know what you think on the ranks!