Friday, August 20, 2010

Tom Milone needs to be on your radar

Photo courtesy of MiLB Snap Shots

Meet Tom Milone, a 6’1” lefty who has been carving up the minor leagues the past three seasons since being selected as a 10th round pick out of USC. Under the radar for his first couple of years, Milone has produced a bevy of standout performances in his first year as part of the Harrisburg Senators, a member of the AA Eastern League.

Currently Milone leads the Eastern League in K's, BB's, K/9, BB/9, K/BB, and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). He's third in WHIP and 8th in HR/9; in short, he’s been a monster on the mound.

While the stats immediately bring to mind images of fellow lefty control artist Cliff Lee, Milone gets by with a totally different approach to pitching. Blessed with only a mediocre fastball, even for a left hander (84-87 MPH), Milone relies on making pitch after pitch in the precise location. Where Lee can get away with a mistake due to his 92 MPH fastball, Milone has to be razor sharp at all times, and to his credit, he has been.

Heading into 2010, Milone was not a player scouts loved, or even saw as a prospect. You won’t find him on any Top 10 organizational prospect list, but quite frankly, he doesn’t need to be. His numbers do the talking for him. Currently Milone’s FIP sits at 2.62; that’s a whole 0.58 runs better than the second best pitcher in the league. Think about that for a second, Tom Milone’s FIP is over a half a run better than the second best pitcher, that’s not just a great year, that’s utter dominance.

While Milone’s numbers are great, how exactly would they translate to the major league game? After all, very few pitchers can survive with a fastball that is slower than some guy’s changeup. To my surprise, Milone not only stacks up favorably with the rest of the Nationals staff; he’s actually projected to be the second best pitcher on the staff behind Strasburg,! Using Minor League Splits great MLE tool (Minor League Equivalency), Milone’s Major League FIP comes out to be 3.71*, second only to Strasburg and even besting Livo’s 3.77.

Tom Milone isn’t a prospect. Blessed with a below average fastball, he’ll never win over the scouts touting the radar guns. Heck, he might not even have the respect of the hitters he’s handling with ease on a night in, night out basis. But pay that no mind. He’s a lock to win Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. In short, Milone is the real deal. Don’t believe me? That’s fine; I’ve got a hunch Tom Milone will only be too happy to continue to prove the doubters wrong.

* - Minor League Splits has Milone at a 2.82 FIP, which is incorrect due to them crediting him with four extra innings pitched than he already has. His 2.62 FIP would translate to an even lower FIP than 3.71, but for the sake of keeping them simple, I’m just posting the number Minor League Splits spit out.


  1. added you to my blogroll. keep up the god work. we're rooting for Milone too.