Wade Miley was not a name focused on this preseason, but the Diamondbacks fifth starter has pitched his way onto the roster of many a fantasy team. While many believed it would be hot prospect Trevor Bauer putting up awesome numbers at the back end of Arizona’s rotation, Miley has given the D-Backs a reason to let Bauer continue to develop at Triple-A.
Miley’s stuff looked underwhelming when I watched him pitch last season – fastball around 90 mph, two seamer around 95 and couple of OK offspeed pitches – but the changes in his two-seam fastball have brought forth tremendous results. Miley has added velocity to both fastballs, but most notably the two-seamer, which has seen a jump of almost five mph. That increase in velocity has given Miley more confidence to not only throw the pitch more often, but to pound the strike-zone with it.
Overall, the improved command within the strike-zone has led to fewer free passes and more ground-ball outs. Even when Miley has missed the zone, more often than not he has missed low, which is a good thing.
Despite the improvement in his two-seamer and command of his pitches, Miley is still a bit of a risk going forward. He has posted a .266 BABIP despite a line drive rate allowed of over 20-percent. Also, his HR/FB rate is also extremely low (3.8 percent) and he’s not missing many bats, so there is a chance that he finds a bit less fortune in his balls in play.
He's the type of pitcher that you ride while he's hot, but always look for a chance to use his bright numbers as a nice throw-in to a bigger trade.