This week at BJOL:
Hey Bill, when Andrew Miller was on the red Sox, did you think he would ever be this good? He didn't pitch in relief that year, did he?
Asked by: manhattanhi
He was with the Red Sox for the better part of four years, the last three as a reliever. We believed absolutely that he had tremendous upside potential,and he did pitch very well for us in the last 100 games or so that he was with the Red Sox. He was getting better and better throughout the time that he was with us.
The quick summary of Miller's career, for those who just joined us:
- 2006 = drafted top 10 out of college, a James Paxton, Brandon Morrow, David Price type
- 2006-11 = mostly used as a starter, mostly ran ERA's like 5.85, walked 5.5 to 7.2 men per game
- 2012 = Boston converted him to a RP; he ran 11 K's and 4.5 walks per game, started contributing
- 2012-14 = Miller improved steadily and advanced to top setup man, huge K's ... 2014, swapped to O's (was going to test the market)
- 2015-16 = Yankees offered him the closing job and $9M per year; now he's untouchable
Meaning that it was years 7, 8, 9 after debuting in the majors that Miller took flight, and about year 10 that he became Andrew Miller.
Dr. D tries not to read other sites before postgaming, in the hopes that it keeps things a little fresher. But we're guessing that one or two of them noticed that Diaz' last 10 outs are via strikeout. That's 29 strikeouts in 15.1 innings and that's no mirage. Diaz gets the enemy bats firing REAL quick, first couple pitches, and when he yanks that slider at the knees 88 MPH, it's pretty much the most unhittable offspeed pitch we've seen since ...
:: taps chin ::
No pitch comes to mind quite the same way. Am sure there have been some. But boy, are these guys screwing themselves into the ground on low sliders.
The luxurious part of it all is that Diaz came up as a control artist. Andrew Miller needed 6, 7, 8 years to throw two pitches for strikes. Diaz isn't quite there yet, still yanks some fastballs, but you see closers who are wilder than Diaz. .... the good version of Fernando Rodney was wilder, and worse generally, than Edwin Diaz is right now.
Mel Stottlemyre came out to the mound Sunday after Diaz yanked a couple of 99, 100 fastballs into the hitters' shoetops. Just. Slow. It. Down., said Mel, and that was exactly right. An extra breath between pitches; an extra tick gathering back over your back leg. And what could be easier?
CLOSER BY COMMITTEE
Fifteen years ago, the whole Boston brouhaha started on the whole premise that ---- > if a team had ONE relief ace, here is how it should use him to win games.
Implied in that, is that there is a huge difference between having 0 stud relievers and having 1. Many SSI denizens will remember the 1997 Bobby Ayala, Scott Sanders Mariners .... for a while there we forgot even what you're supposed to DO when the other team starts rallying late? One time I asked a roto-friend that very question. He laughed. "Bring in your stud setup guy." Paul Assenmacher, Mike Jackson, whoever it is.
Case in point: Sunday's game, Mariners ahead 6-4, very dangerous offensive team up. Bring in Diaz. Orioles strike out three times. Next time up, Mariners score. Rest of the game's a cakewalk.
This one hoss reliever is going to make a lot of difference.
What is the going rate for a well-paid closer these days? Two top-100 prospects and two grade B prospects? And that's assuming they make more than Diaz' $500K. No, seriously, Andrew Miller is being talked about for this trade deadline. And what are the trade packages being bandied around. Would you rather have Miller at his salary, than Diaz at his?
I dunno how often you have a prospect who:
- Is top-100 in baseball
- Is questionable in terms of SP durability, at least in the minds of some
- Has RP max-effort and arsenal
- Has the makeup to face the fire right away
But when you do wind up in that situation, well ... Jerry DiPoto is making it look like a no-brainer. Use him to lock down W's for a year or two. I know it ain't as easy as dat, but this Seattle situation is making it look like teams should Diaz their AA hot shots all the time.
At any rate, take four W's and call Dr. D in the morning ;- )