Of the five-plus men who should compete for the number one job in the Red Sox rotation, righty Wade Miley, obtained from Arizona in December, is the most intriguing. Only 28 years old, he has shown success at every level of competition, from Rookie Leagues to the majors. Just two years ago, he was considered one of the top hurlers in baseball.
A Louisiana native, Miley played college baseball at Southeast Louisiana University. Signed in the first round by the Diamondbacks in 08, he moved up rapidly in the minor league system. By 2010 he was excelling at AA Mobile, with a 9-7 mark and 2.65 ERA with 65 walks and 113 K’s. After an 8-3 mark the following year between Mobile and AAA Reno. he was called up to Arizona on August 15, 2011. He impressed immediately, with a 4-2 mark in 7 starts. At the age of 25, he Miley enjoyed a breakout year in 2012. He started strong, and was named April NL Rookie of the Month (3-0, 1.29 with 15 strikeouts in 21 innings). By July, his continued success won him a place on the National League all-stars. He finished the year 16-11 and 3.33 with only 37 walks and 144 K’s. Miley was a close second to Bryce Harper as league Rookie of the Year.
Like many hurlers, Wade faded a bit in years 2 and 3. In 2013, his marks fell to 10-10 and 3.55 and faded further in 2014 to 8-12 and 4.34. However, in two important areas his stats remained strong-walks vs strikeouts and homers allowed per 9 innings, important areas for a Fenway pitcher. Like fellow rotation member Rick Porcello, he has been quite durable, averaging close to 200 innings per year. For a team that has been saddled with injured starters in recent years (Clay Buchholz and John Lackey are prime examples). this is also a definite plus.
Miley, who throws a variety of fairly hard fastballs, did not come cheap. The Bosox were forced to part with Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, hurlers who a year ago were considered a strong part of the Sox future. But unlike those two men, Miley has had a taste of success at the top level.
Barring a terrible spring, Wade should be a part of the rotation in April. It is unlikely that he will start the opener in Philly, but we should see him soon.