|Venus de Milone||Tweet|
|Poulin No Foolin|
|Written by Fred Poulin|
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012 08:34|
Consisting of seasoned veterans and talented young hurlers, the Athletics' rotation is competitive year after year despite some of its best arms (Gonzalez, Cahill, Haren, Hudson, Zito, etc.) leave for greener pastures. Yesterday, Mike Schmidt profiled Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, but another member of this surprisingly good rotation so far this season is Tommy Milone.
After starting five games (26.1 IP) as a 24-year-old for the Nationals last season, posting a 3.81 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP, Milone was shipped out as part of the deal that brought Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez to Washington. Milone, now 25, has worked his way into the Athletics’ rotation this season despite an underwhelming fastball.
Generally, Milone’s four-seamer (a pitch he throws about 48% of the time) has averaged less than 87 mph. To give you a better idea of how underwhelming that is: in the past three years, major-league starters have averaged 91 mph on the four-seam fastball. In addition to the four-seamer, Milone throws a cutter (about 10% of the time), as well as a changeup (his best pitch) and a curveball.
So far this season, the southpaw is 3-1 in four starts with the A's, posting an excellent 2.00 ERA and a sensational 0.85 WHIP in 27 innings pitched. A contact pitcher, Milone has only struck out thirteen batters while walking six, and opponents are hitting a lowly .185 against him, but one has to wonder - what are the odds of Milone performing above league average for the rest of the season given the lack of movement and speed on his fastball?
While pitchers who rely more heavily on sinkers and cutters have a better chance of outperforming their velocity than their counterparts, when we compare his pitching repertoire to other lower velocity pitchers such as Doug Fister and Mark Buerhle, there’s reason to believe Milone can remain highly effective. He’s crafty, very deceptive, and throws many more types of pitches than most pitchers. He has a very good command of all his pitches and a delivery that can fool hitters, leading to pop-outs and ground balls. He's made an art of pitching with mediocre velocity.
Milone, a 10th round draft pick of the Nationals in 2008 from the University of Southern California, always had success in the minors. He was very successful in college as well, but his lack of a booming fastball limited his draft stock. He had a strong year in 2009, going 12-5 with a 2.91 ERA and a 106/36 K/BB ratio in 151 innings for High-A Potomac in the Carolina League. Scouts were sceptical at first, wondering if he could repeat this in Double-A. Well, he did. In 2010 he went 12-5 again, this time with a 2.85 ERA and a 155/23 K/BB ratio in 158 innings. He removed all the doubts last year, going 12-6 with a 3.32 ERA and a 155/16 K/BB ratio in 148 innings with Triple-A Syracuse of the International League.
While Milone will never rack up strikeouts by the dozen, his command and control have been remarkable at every level. Though Milone still needs to improve his breaking ball to succeed in the majors, he has all the assets to be a successful pitcher for the Athletics, especially in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum, one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in the league.
Milone makes a solid pick-up in AL-only and deep mixed leagues; he's only owned in 28% of CBS leagues, 8% of Yahoo! leagues and 6% of ESPN leagues. If you're looking to improve your ERA and your WHIP, as well as get quality starts, grab him immediately as he's only a few quality starts away from garnering much more attention in fantasy circles (his dominating start against the White Sox last night – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K – ensures an ownership jump this week). If you're looking for strikeouts, Milone is not your solution; he'll need to gain more experience in the majors before he can rack up strikeouts at a more interesting pace.
I personally own Milone in two of my fantasy leagues, so I need no more convincing!
You can follow me on Twitter (@FredPoulin98) to get more information on baseball or ask me fantasy questions.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 10:09|