MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks Pitcher Wade Miley
One highlight of last year’s average season for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ was Wade Miley’s ability to rebound from a lackluster start to finish the season with ten wins, giving the fans hope he could return to his 2012 pitching form for the 2014 season.
Miley didn’t have a poor sophomore season, but his first half was bumpy enough to prevent him from matching his excellent rookie season, when he was runner-up in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
Miley, who made the All-Star team and won sixteen games and posted a 3.33 ERA in 2012, started off 2013 with a decent April. He had three wins while posting a 2.37 ERA, but followed that with horrendous starts in May and June. He won two games and wound up with seven losses and an ERA of over 6.50 during those two months. He was leading the NL in wild pitches and had given up twelve homeruns; it looked like his 2013 season might be written off.
Then in July Miley rebounded in a big way, winning four. He finished the season with ten wins to go along with a very respectable 3.55 ERA, with 147 strikeouts in 202.2 innings pitched. During the All Star break Miley watched film on his pitching mechanics, particularly his slider, which was missing its mark. He noted he was also falling behind the hitters in the count, forcing bad pitching decisions.
Miley, who is 27 and entering his third full major league season, is being projected once again to be the third starter for the Diamondbacks. He is at the stage in his career where he should be showing his consistency.
The left-handed Miley will be looked to avoid his multiple bad outings and become a much more consistent pitcher. One area to watch is batters walked. He gave up 66 walks last year and only 37 in 2012. That resulted in an excellent 2012 walk ratio of 1.71BB/9IP, but a subpar walk ratio last year of 2.93BB/9IP. Another area for improvement is giving up homeruns. Last year he gave up 21 homeruns, which placed him twelfth in the NL.
Miley was a great ground-ball pitcher in 2012 and much of that success revolved around his slider. His slider had the ability to turn ground balls into outs and successful double plays, just another area that was not working for him in 2013.
Hitters were more patient against him in 2013 and there is not much that can be done about that, opposing players simply become more familiar with a pitching style. What Miley can do is keep his slider in check and get back to a better selection of pitches. Hopefully with new Pitching Coach, Mike Harkey, Pitching Consultant, Dave Duncan and even Bullpen Coach, Mel Stottlemyre, JR, who worked with Miley in the minors, Miley will continue to work on his pitch selection in Spring Training. Let’s hope this is his best season yet and keep an eye on that slider.
I hope to see you during Cactus League Spring Training 2014.
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