Once again, the D-Backs have been bailed out by their unexpected rookie starter. Wade Miley ran his record to 5-1 as he pitched 7 innings of shutout ball in the D-Backs 5-0 win over the KC Royals. The win gave the D-Backs a series win over the AL’s Royals and means that they’ve hit a little bit of a hot streak, winning 4 of their last 6 games.
A quick scan of the current NL Rookies shows that while he’s relatively annonymous, Miley has very likely been the most impressive rookie in the NL this season. Miley isn’t an unknown to D-Backs’ fan, however, as he made 7 starts for the the D-Backs last season. Despite his prolonged 2011 appearance, he is still eligible for rookie status since he pitched only 40 innings last year. Miley ran his record to 5-1 yesterday, while lowering his ERA to 2.14. He leads all rookie starters in ERA and is tied for second in wins.
Conventional wisdom–and ESPN–tell you that Bryce Harper is running away with the NL rookie of the year award. That’s not the case. While he’s certainly been impressive at times, Harper’s overall performance has no doubt been exaggerated by the phenomenal media coverage he’s receiving. Harper is hitting just .244 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 78 at-bats. He’s struck out 16 times and his OBP is a not-too-impressive .333.
If you’re looking for Miley’s biggest competitors look no further than the division rival Padres. First baseman Yonder Alonso is hitting .293 with 1 home run and 13 RBI and the Padres new closer, Dale Thayer, is a 31-year old journeyman who hasn’t allowed a run yet and is 5-5 in save opportunities–despite playing for several MLB clubs he still has his rookie eligibility.
Unfortunately for Miley, awards aren’t given away at the quarter point of the season. He’s still got four months to prove that he belongs in awards talk and in the D-Backs rotation that is certainly not hurting for candidates.