Starting pitching has not been a strength for the Milwaukee Brewers so far to begin the 2018 regular season, although no one really expected the rotation to be outstanding in the first place. Nonetheless, some reinforcement may soon be on the way in the form of a veteran southpaw:
Miley, 31, signed with Milwaukee on a minor league contract at the beginning of Spring Training and was mostly an afterthought for fans at that time. The left-hander wound up opening eyes with his Cactus League performance, however, deploying refined mechanics while recording a 4.95 ERA and in 20.0 innings with a 21:8 K/BB ratio. His lofty earned run average was a bit misleading as most of the damage came across in one start against the Reds on March 16th. He coughed up 10 hits and seven earnies across three frames that afternoon, but otherwise didn’t allow more than two earned runs in any of his other five appearances. According to Brooks Baseball, Miley was right around his career average with a 91.28 MPH average fastball, albeit in a small sample and during the preseason.
Miley appeared on track to secure a spot in the rotation to begin the season until he was injured while attempting to field a bunt during his final spring appearance on March 21st. His original minor league deal would have allowed him to opt-out if he wasn’t offered a spot on the Opening Day active roster, but as a non-roster invitee the Brewers weren’t going to place him on the MLB disabled list. Instead, the two sides agreed to a new deal that pushed back Miley’s opt-out date until after he was given the opportunity to get healthy.
Miley will now get a second chance to convince the Brewers that he is ready to contribute starting tomorrow in Biloxi. The club will have to make a decision on whether to keep him and add him to the roster or cut him loose within the next two weeks or so. Milwaukee has received a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 0.4 fWAR from their starting rotation through the season’s first 16 games, with both marks placing them in the bottom third of MLB. Chase Anderson (2.82 ERA), Zach Davies (6.75 ERA), Jhoulys Chacin (5.60 ERA), Brent Suter (4.70 ERA), and Junior Guerra (1.69 ERA) currently occupy the five rotation spots, but with the way things have gone so far this year, there’s no telling what performance or injury issues may arise before the Brewers need to decide on Wade Miley.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com