Last night, Milwaukee Brewers lefty Wade Miley tossed seven strong innings, allowing only two hits and no runs, to a loaded Dodgers lineup. Is Wade Miley actually as good as some of his numbers look?
For the past several years, Wade Miley was basically an afterthought in the pitching world. Miley had an ERA over 5.00 the last two seasons, and an ERA over 4.00 for the last four seasons. He hasn’t been considered a “good” starting pitcher since 2013.
But in six starts with the Milwaukee Brewers, Miley has brought his ERA down to a paltry 1.53 after last night’s gem against Los Angeles. I mean, who predicted that? He looked good in spring training before getting injured but no one expected a sub-2.00 ERA from him.
With all of the talk around the deadline about the Brewers adding a starting pitcher, it looked like Miley could get pushed out of the rotation. But when the possible trades fell through, the Brewers were left with a starting five that had Miley in it.
In four starts since returning from the DL, Miley has only given up four runs and hasn’t allowed more than six hits in a single game. He’s been good, but is this success sustainable?
Can Miley Sustain This Success?
Since MIley has never been the kind of pitcher to put up an ace-like ERA of 1.53, there’s going to be some healthy skepticism about him repeating these results over the rest of the season.
Miley’s success does not look sustainable. While he has a 1.53 ERA, Miley’s xFIP is 4.82. That’s a very large difference between the two. xFIP is a more accurate indicator of what a pitcher’s ERA should look like. And when a player’s xFIP is more than triple of what his ERA is, that’s a big red flag that regression is coming.
His strikeout to walk ratio is also not very good. Miley has struck out 17 hitters, but has walked 15 already. Walks were his big issue in Baltimore last year, when he had a 5.3 BB/9. This year, his walks are down, but it’s still high with a 4.6 BB/9. Considering that before 2017, Miley’s career walks per nine innings rate was at 2.8, this is still a lot of walks for the veteran lefty.
Opponents also have a .233 BAbip against Miley, another indicator he’s getting extremely lucky with his success this season. Opponents’ career BAbip against Miley is .327, nearly a full 100 points higher than what he has right now.
Is an implosion imminent?
It’s tough to say exactly when Wade Miley will come crashing back to Earth. He’s bound for regression at some point in these final two months, so it really could be any start from here on out.
While the Brewers starting pitchers may be putting up good stats so far, there are guys like Miley who are way overachieving and won’t be able to sustain this success.
You can go on believing that Wade Miley is going to be a reliable member of this rotation if you want to. Every good start he has from here on out is just gravy on top. But the Brewers should not be relying on Miley to repeat his success down the stretch.
I don’t want to be all doom-and-gloom over here saying that none of this success is real and Miley’s going to implode and it’s going to be a catastrophe. But when it does, and it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, when it does, all I’m going to say is I told you so.
The Milwaukee Brewers, despite what some may think, are still going to need a frontline starting pitcher if they want to make it deep into the playoffs. Wade Miley should not be counted on down the stretch.