Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals
After pitching so well in his return to the big leagues last season, the Cardinals rewarded Mikolas with a hefty four-year, $68 million extension on top of the two-year, $15.5 million deal he signed a couple winters ago. Comparatively speaking, his first half of play wasn’t all that fun, as he produced a 4.53 ERA through 99.1 innings.
After the All-Star break, though, he more closely resembled the 2018 version of himself from a run prevention standpoint, posting a 3.72 ERA over his final 84.2 innings. When looking at his splits, there isn’t much of a difference in his strikeout rates, walk rate, BABIP allowed, or strand rate. He also watched his hard-hit rate allowed jump more than 10 percentage points over this time. So what led to this shift?
Mikolas’ contact rates allowed also don’t look incredibly different, but he was able to increase his chase rate from 32.8% in the first half to 38.3% in the second half. While it was great that he found a way to bounce back, he may have to keep working hard to outperform certain peripherals if those trends continue into 2020.