The Ones That Got Away: Wade Miley

By Robbie Knopf

I didn’t even know who Wade Miley was entering this season. But now that he’s pitching well, we have to regret the Rays not signing him.

Miley is one of the many “Wade”s that the Rays have selected over the years (see the second paragraph here). A 6’0″, 220 lefty, the Rays selected him in the 20th round of the 2005 MLB Draft. He didn’t sign and after attending Southeastern Louisiana University, he was a supplemental first round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. Miley worked his way up through the D-backs system, breaking out with a 2.65 ERA in 153 innings between High-A and Double-A in 2010. He made his big league debut in 2011 but it didn’t go very well as he went 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 7 starts and a relief appearance, posting just a 25-18 strikeout to walk ratio in 40 IP, but he began on Arizona’s big league roster in 2012 as a long reliever. He didn’t last in that role long.

Miley has really broken out for the D-backs in 2012. (Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE)

Miley tossed 4 shutout innings in his first relief appearance in 2012 and joined the rotation on April 23rd. It could not have gone much better as he tossed 6 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7. In his 9 games since then, Miley’s ERA on the season has never risen above 2.76 since he joined the D-backs’ rotation. He came through with another outstanding start on June 13th against the Rangers, suffering a tough loss as he went 7.2 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 8 while walking 1. Overall, Miley has gone 7-3 on the year with a 2.39 ERA, just a 5.9 K/9, but a 2.0 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 10 starts, 3 relief appearances, and 75.1 IP.

Miley works primarily with 2 fastballs, a four-seamer and a sinker, and while he doesn’t overpower hitters most of the time, he has managed a nice 48.5% groundball percentage thus far this season. His breaking pitches, a slider and a changeup, have also been very impressive thus far this season. Miley will not be able to maintain such a low ERA without striking out more batters (his FIP is 3.04 and his xFIP is 3.96), but hitters just have not been able to hit the ball hard against him, and while the rest of the D-backs rotation has been inconsistent, Miley has been a stabilizing force.

What would have happened if Miley signed with the Rays? We’d have another impressive pitcher. He would be in the rotation right now instead of Alex Cobb. It would certainly be nice to have another great pitcher in our rotation, but it all works out in the end. The Rays have an impressive rotation and Miley has flourished this season in Arizona. Congrats to him on his success.