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2018 #8 Most Valuable Brewer: Wade Miley

His surprising resurgence helped carry the Brewers to success.

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Two Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Before the 2018 season started, it was hard to believe Wade Miley would have any impact on the Milwaukee Brewers when David Stearns and company signed him. Fast forward to now and we know that Wade Miley was one of the most important people on the Brewers’ roster.

Miley inked a minor league contract with the Brewers back in February. The team stated that David Johnson saw something he believed Miley could fix and that would help the lefty have success on the mound again.

During Spring Training, Miley dominated opposing lineups and showed that the team was 100% right. Then he was injured in his final spring training start and couldn’t begin the season with the big league club. After rehabbing for a few weeks, Miley made a stupendous debut on May 2 against the Cincinnati Reds where he allowed a run over six innings.

Unfortunately, Miley injured his oblique in his second start and disappeared for another lengthy stretch. But when he returned in July, he picked up right where he left off. Over the next 14 games, Miley pitched to a 2.66 ERA over 74.1 innings pitched.

Miley was tightly managed during the season by Craig Counsell and Johnson. They often kept him locked to five innings, limiting him so he didn’t see the order the third time and this helped make him successful. Advanced metrics find that Miley’s actual performance was closer to that of an above-average starter than what his ace-level ERA suggested. His FIP was 3.55 and his DRA was 4.13, but he was able to outperform those metrics because of a spectacular defense and stringent management that kept him from failing.

He was also one of two traditional starters who made more than one start in the playoffs. In his four postseason appearances, Miley only allowed two runs total.

It’s undeniable that Wade Miley made a huge difference for the Crew in 2018. Now he enters free agency on the back of a career year. This likely means that he won’t be back in Milwaukee, but no one can dispute that he was a key cog to the 2018 season.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus