Home BaseballSt. Louis Cardinals Andrew Miller To The Cardinals Is A Good Idea

Andrew Miller To The Cardinals Is A Good Idea

by Aaron Mullins

St. Louis hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to free agent relievers in recent memory, but I think this is the off-season to remedy that. The Cardinals need a lefty in the bullpen that can get out lefties. Andrew Miller has been one of the best. “But Aaron, he struggled in 2018.” I wouldn’t say that necessarily. Miller had his worst month in May, but then missed all of June and July due to a knee injury. I’d venture a guess that his May struggles could have been coming from his knee injury. Even so, Miller had a productive season. His 4.24 ERA may not look too good, but one bad outing in August is what did him in. His ERA rose from 3.24 to 4.24… because of one bad outing.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Andrew Miller is a good idea for the Cardinals. Even in a down year he presents the Cardinals with value. And better yet, the Cardinals seem interested.

Jon Morosi on Twitter

Sources: #STLCards interested in Andrew Miller and are active in the reliever market overall. @MLB @MLBNetwork

I’m not convinced they should get Miller because he is a “lefty specialist.” If he can get outs, he can get outs. If a righty can get out lefties, use him. I don’t think the “matchup” always works. Let’s take a look at the different relievers the Cardinals used for a significant amount of time in 2018.   For the players who have longer track records, stats will be shown for 2017-2018. Also, I will be including names that look to be returning for the Cardinals in 2019, so Bud Norris, Tyson Ross, Greg Holland, Sam Tuivailala, and Tyler Lyons will not be included here.

1. Jordan Hicks – RHP – 2018 – 77.2 IP

RH – 140 AB | .150 AVG | .286 OBP | .171 SLG | .457 OPS |

LH – 144 AB | .264 AVG | .374 OBP | .340 SLG | .714 OPS |

2. Mike Mayers – RHP – 2018 – 51.2 IP

RH – 111 AB | .324 AVG | .375 OBP | .532 SLG | .907 OPS |

LH – 93 AB | .247 AVG | .291 OBP | .430 SLG | .721 OPS |

3. John Brebbia – RHP – 2018 – 50.2 IP

RH – 102 AB | .206 AVG | .241 OBP | .284 SLG | .525 OPS |

LH  – 88 AB | .250 AVG | .330 OBP | .455 SLG | .785 OPS |

3a John Brebbia – RHP – 2017 – 51.2 IP

RH – 115 AB | .183 AVG | .236 OBP | .339 SLG | .575 OPS |

LH – 77 AB | .208 AVG | .282 OBP | .455 SLG | .737 OPS |

4. Brett Cecil – LHP – 2018 – 32.2 IP

RH – 71 AB | .296 AVG | .429 OBP | .507 SLG | .936 OPS |

LH – 58 AB | .310 AVG | .379 OBP | .473 SLG | .862 OPS |

4a. Brett Cecil – LHP – 2017 – 67.1 IP

RH – 154 AB | .208 AVG | .230 OBP | .331 SLG | .561 OPS |

LH – 102 AB | .343 AVG | .397 OBP | .539 SLG | .936 OPS |

The Cardinals do have plenty of other pitchers that will be available in the bullpen in 2019, but many of the arms taht played a significant role are leaving, and most of the kids don’t really have enough appearances to get a good idea on their stuff. Say what you want about Cecil… I tried to defend his 2017 season, and I think his splits show why. Against righties, he was actually really good, but he was garbage against lefties. I was hoping that he could bounce back in 2018, and while he did improve against left handed batters (technically), he got drastically worse against righties. If the Cardinals don’t release him, I expect them to at the first sign of trouble in 2019. So basically, the Cardinals don’t really have an answer against left handed pitching.

So that brings me to Miller. Although 2018 was a down year, his numbers against lefties are still absolutely ridiculous. A couple rough outings near the end of the year hurt his numbers against right handed hitters, but I see a bounce back closer to his recent history.

Andrew Miller – LHP – 2018 – 34.0 IP

RH – 89 AB | .236 AVG | .352 OBP | .461 SLG | .813 OPS |

LH – 44 AB | .227 AVG | .306 OBP | .250 SLG | .556 OPS |

Andrew Miller – LHP – 2017 – 62.2 IP

RH – 154 AB | .136 AVG | .222 OBP | .201 SLG | .424 OPS |

LH – 61 AB | .164 AVG | .268 OBP | .213 SLG | .481 OPS |

Andrew Miller – LHP – 2016 – 74.1 IP

RH – 190 AB | .153 AVG | .195 OBP | .279 SLG | .474 OPS |

LH – 72 AB | .181 AVG | .189 OBP | .333 SLG | .523 OPS |

Even in a down year, Miller was considerably better against lefties compared to the guys we have coming back. And although his numbers against righties aren’t the best in 2018, his last couple seasons show that Miller certainly has the capability to get righties and lefties out alike. Let’s see some other encouraging numbers from Miller.

Since 2012 when he transitioned into the bullpen full time, Miller has had an ERA under 3.00 in five of seven seasons. Miller also owns a ridiculous strikeout rate, never dropping below 11.4 K/9 during that time. Last season saw Miller’s walk rate rise above his normal levels, but he has shown to have great command sitting around 2.5 BB/9 over the past few seasons.

Baseball Reference has a 2019 projection for Miller shown as this.

3-3 | 3.19 ERA | 48.0 IP | 1.17 WHIP | 3.2 BB/9 | 11.1 K/9 |

Would you be satisfied with this over the course of a season? I think I would, plus I think he has a very high ceiling and could easily surpass this projection.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for Reading

 

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