Wade Miley Had a Year to Remember- Even if the Writers Failed to Recognize it.

By Noah Dougherty

Wade Miley just turned 26 on Tuesday following his impressive rookie campaign in 2012. On Monday he was told he lost out on the National League Rookie of the Year award by a mere seven overall points (112 to 105) to Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper– the fourth closest result since its inception in 1947. While there was definitely some grumblings around the country with their choice for ROY, Miley shrugged it off saying, “It would have been a great honor, but either way I’m just glad it’s over with and I can go back to my normal life.”

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley (left) is congratulated by manager Kirk Gibson during a ceremony honoring him as an all star. Image: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

As a Diamondbacks fan it was an easy choice for us to say Miley was the clear-cut winner as he was literally dominate in every month of play this season- September did see a drop off. Miley finished his season with a 16-11 record throwing 194.1 innings and posting a 3.33 ERA- all of which led N.L. rookie pitchers. His 16 wins tied Yu Darvish for the Major League lead and were the most by a N.L. rookie in over 25 years.

For a Diamondbacks rotation that was anything but consistent, Miley supplied his team with 18 quality starts while walking just 37 hitters. His strikeout-to-walk ratio also placed him first among all rookies and 10th overall in MLB.

In comparison, Bryce Harper finished his season with a .270 average, 22 homeruns and 59 RBI’s. None which are really blowing my hair back but it is worth mentioning that the 22 homeruns are the most by a teenager since Tony Conigliaro hit 24 in 1964. He did strike out 120 times but also hit nine triples and led his club with 98 runs scored. And while Miley struggled in September, Harper was named rookie of the month in the final month- perhaps another case of the ‘what have you done for me lately.’

Still, the last time a position player won the N.L. ROY award with numbers comparable to Harper’s was back in 1992 when Eric Karros won with a .257 average, 20 homeruns and 88 RBI’s (still 29 more than Harper). Oakland’s Bobby Crosby won it in 2004 with a .239 average, 22 HR, 64 RBI’s in the American League.

The last starting pitcher to win the N.L. award was Dontrelle Willis (160.2 IP, 14 wins, 3.30 ERA)in 2003 while Jeremy Hellickson (189 IP, 13 wins, 2.95 ERA) was the last to win it in the A.L. in 2011. I know that people will argue the importance of wins as there are other factors that may skew the number; see Clayton Kershaw or Ivan Nova for the other side. However, it’s hard to deny the fact that Miley threw 194+ innings this season and posted an ERA in the low 3’s to complement his 16 wins. Those are top of the rotation numbers and the lone D’back All-Star deserved to be recognized with the award.

So, essentially I guess I’m just reiterating what we already know which is that Miley deserved to win this award. I assume that two big points among the voters were a) Harper was 19 years old and b) he was an everyday player. While neither one of these points are fair platforms to vote against Miley, that is the nature of subjective voting. Reminiscent of when Rickey Henderson was left off Arizona sports writer Corky Simpson’s Hall of Fame ballot stating he just “wasn’t a Rickey guy and that he would vote for him next time.” Next time will have to work for Miley too and while he did miss out on this award, a repeat of 2012 in the upcoming season would be a fine tradeoff for me. Congrats to Mr. Miley on a rookie season to remember.

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