Will Arizona Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley Be Able To Improve On Last Year’s Performance?

By Michael Terrill
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley will have the difficult task of topping his outstanding performance from a season ago. Will Miley be able to improve in all pitching areas to help Arizona compete in the National League West?

Miley would have never been a member of the Diamondbacks if it were not for reliever Takashi Saito being placed on the disabled list before Opening Day with a calf injury. He would have begun the season in Triple-A and who knows if the fan base would have ever found out how good he really is.

Instead, Miley made three relief appearances and became an official member of the starting rotation on April 23. He went 16-11 (best record on the team) with a 3.33 earned run average and 144 strikeouts in 194 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old is the first rookie in franchise history to record 16 wins, 29 starts and pitch 194 2/3 innings. For his outstanding performance in the first half of the season he was selected to the 2012 MLB All-Star game.

Ian Kennedy will still be the ace of the starting rotation this season, and newly acquired starter Brandon McCarthy will probably be the No. 2 in line. That means Miley will be the third spot in the rotation, which is not a bad thing because there is a good chance he will record more wins for Arizona by going up against lesser quality starters. At this point, any advantage the Diamondbacks can get with their stud is one they will take.

Manager Kirk Gibson believes Miley can be a very special pitcher for Arizona for a long time. He trusts the left-hander completely and wants nothing more than for him to build confidence with his arsenal of pitches.

“With Wade you hope he throws 230 innings,” Gibson said. “We need him to be consistent. He trusts his stuff. He trusts his catcher. You like to see him to continue to develop all aspects of his game, stay healthy and continue to develop as a total player.”

Miley is able to strike batters out at a consistent rate with his two different fastballs that range from 88 to 92 MPH. When he gets the count in his favor, he will go for the kill by throwing a solid slider, or using his decent changeup against right-handed batters. One pitch the coaching staff would like to see him improve on is his curveball. Once Miley can add that pitch to his repertoire and use it effectively, the sky is the limit.

There is no question Miley has an uphill battle in 2013, as the expectations for him are very high. The Diamondbacks believe they can compete in their division, and they will need their top three starters to help get them to where they want to go.

The Louisiana native also has personal expectations for himself, which includes proving to the NL Rookie of the Year voters that they were wrong to select Bryce Harper over him, even if Miley believes the Washington Nationals outfielder deserved to win the award.

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