Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve known that Los Angeles Angels outfield phenom Mike Trout has been tearing up baseball. Bryce Harper of the Nationals had a hot stretch but has since cooled off. Those aren’t the only rookies who are playing this year though. There are a ton of rookie pitchers this year that deserve to be talked about. In this piece I will be talking about three pitchers who are working on their first full year in the big leagues.
The first rookie starting pitcher that I will be looking at is Arizona Diamondback, Wade Miley. Miley was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft and since then he’s done a good job at progressing through the minor leagues. Last season he made seven starts but was anything but impressive. He had a 5.08 FIP and struggled with his command. This year he has performed much better. He’s only walked batters 4% of the time, but it’s that number is like to rise as he pitches in more games. In the minors he never walked batters less than 6% of the time. He’s also done a good job at limiting the long ball. Through 143 innings he’s only given up 10 home runs. Overall he has a 3.14 FIP and a 3.77 SIERA. That comes down to 3.6 fWAR on the season, and in terms of all rookie pitchers that is the highest. It’s hard t0 say how good Miley will be going forward but so far this year he has pitched like a #1-2 pitcher.
The major league debut of Texas Rangers starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, was highly anticipated. After spending over $100 million in order to obtain him, the Texas Rangers had high hopes that he would become an ace for their staff. While he has had some good moments he has also struggled. One thing that leaps out is problems with his command. His 12.2 BB% is one of the worst in all of baseball. Only Edison Volquez, Carlos Zambrano and Ubaldo Jiminez have higher marks. On the other hand he’s also doing a tremendous job at striking batters out. His 26.3 K% ranks third in the game, the only two pitchers with a higher number are Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. His 3.74 FIP isn’t bad but it isn’t where you want your ace to be. His 3.1 fWAR is a good number but according to Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR he’s only been worth 1.6 WAR. This is because of his high 4.81 R/9. There’s no doubt that Darvish can be a good pitcher but he has some work to do before he can achieve that.
Last off-season the Oakland A’s had an old fashion “fire sale”. They traded starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill. As part of the deal that sent Cahill to Arizona the A’s received Jarrod Parker in return. In his first stint in the big leagues Parker has looked fairly impressive. He’s striking batters out nearly 19% of the time and as time goes on he could see that go above 20%. He’s always had a high number of walks so it’s entirely plausible that his 9.7 BB% stays. He’s done a good job at keeping the ball in the ballpark, he’s only given up 6 home runs. His 4.29 is fairly high but he’s still been worth +2 WAR. Parker should be a solid middle of the rotation guy as he gets more experience.