What Can We Expect From Shelby Miller?

The battle for the fifth slot in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation is now complete, with Shelby Miller named the starter — or, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, “It’s Miller’s time with Cardinals.”

(Wait, should a St. Louis newspaper reference to a Milwaukee beer in a headline?)

MillerBut, yes, after yesterday’s game against the Twins in which Miller pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed one run on six hits with two walks, Mike Matheny delivered the news.  And the reaction, as noted in the aforementioned Post-Dispatch article by Rick Hummel?

Miller, when asked how he felt after received his news Monday, said, “Oh, man. I’m speechless.”

He did, of course, go on to speak but he admitted he was “really humbled” by the decision reached. “It’s unbelievable news,” Miller said.

“I’m still trying to take it all in. To be told that you’re a fifth starter for any team is amazing. But to be told you’re the fifth starter for the St. Louis Cardinals is a different kind of feeling. Hands down, it’s one of the best respected organizations in baseball.”

Now that Miller is part of the rotation, what can be expected from him? We know his spring numbers, how he fared in his lone big league start last October, what his minor league stats are. How will that translate into the 2013 season?

Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I’ll turn to those who do — or at least have the mathematical formulas to predict how Miller will do. And here are several projections compiled at Fangraphs, along with his professional stats thus far. (Click the link for a slightly larger version on the Fangraphs site.)

projections-miller

All of those show expectations are for a solid season for Shelby. Not necessarily as many strikeouts as the minors, perhaps a few more walks, not a lot of home runs allowed and a good to slightly higher ERA — all of which you might expect from a rookie season, right? And, if you care about wins and losses, a respectable record there as well.

Plus, who knows? He could do much better than what’s projected. Easily. He’s one of the top prospects in baseball, and will finally be doing what he’s been working for ever since he was drafted. (And it’s still March — now is the time for unabashed optimism, right?)

Just in case you were curious (as I was) about what Fangraphs has as projections for Joe Kelly, you can find those numbers here. Not a lot worse than Miller, but not better either, and I’m still more comfortable with the decision that was made yesterday to use Kelly in the bullpen.

What do you make of the projections — what are your thoughts on “Miller time” for the Cardinals?



Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.

4 thoughts on “What Can We Expect From Shelby Miller?

  1. If Shelby posts a 2.9 WAR, the Cardinals should jump with joy. That’s what Lance Lynn did last year.

    And by way of comparison, on Fangraphs, Kyle Lohse is predicted for 2.4 to 3.1 Wins Above Replacement. Could the Cardinals effectively replace a pitcher Milwaukee will pay $11 million in 2013 with one making 4% of that amount, while getting just about the same production? Could happen.

  2. If Shelby posts a 2.9 WAR, the Cardinals should jump with joy. That’s what Lance Lynn did last year.

    And by way of comparison, on Fangraphs, Kyle Lohse is predicted for 2.4 to 3.1 Wins Above Replacement. Could the Cardinals effectively replace a pitcher Milwaukee will pay $11 million in 2013 with one making 4% of that amount, while getting just about the same production? Could happen.

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