Name: Wade Miley
Draft: 43rd Overall, 2008
Position: Left Handed Pitcher
Weight: 210 lbs
History: Overmatched as a freshman, Wade Miley continued to improve in each of his three seasons at Southeastern Louisiana University. By his junior year, he made a name for himself as one of the preeminent collegiate strikeout artists; his total of 119 punchouts ranked sixth in the nation.
Statistics Courtesy of The Baseball Cube
Despite his high strikeout totals, Miley wasn't all that effective of a pitcher. He averaged one hit allowed per inning, walked his fair share of batters, and even tossed 16 wild pitches. He did show excellent durability by completing four games in both his sophomore and junior seasons, but that workload is the main reason the D-backs limited Miley to seven games of relief last year.
Although it was forged in a small sample size, Miley's stat line at Yakima mimicked his numbers at Southeastern Lou: plenty of strikeouts but a high WHIP. On the one hand, Miley figured to perform better by not needing to face a batter more than once in a game. On the other, he was facing a higher caliber of hitter, so his lack of improvement was understandable.
Makeup: Miley is just an average-sized pitcher, but a very tight delivery allows him to throw lots of pitches without wearing down. He doesn't utilize much of a windup or leg kick, just whips his arm southwards (and sometimes across his body) from a nearly overhand delivery. Despite his low-effort mechanics, Miley lazily falls off to the third-base side on his follow-through, making it difficult for him to cover first base or field bunts.
Mentally, Miley still needs to learn the subtleties of pitching. He does not mix his pitches particularly well, although he will use all of the plate. He works quickly, keeps the ball down, and has good mound presence, but does not attack the strike zone the way your typical Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect would.
Pitches: Fastball, Slider, Changeup, Curve
Although Miley's fastball doesn't have much sink to it, he keeps the offering down in the zone and has really avoided the longball the past two years. He hits 90 MPH pretty consistently with the heater, and can crank it up to 91 at times. His command of the fastball makes it an effective pitch as long as hitters are not able to sit on it.
Miley's slide piece is what turns scouts heads. Because he throws over the top, the pitch has excellent dip to it in addition to good horizontal movement. Unfortunately, the movement is so good that Miley does not always quite know where the pitch is headed. Other times, he does not trust its ability to get hitters out in the zone and uses it as a chase pitch. It ranges anywhere from 77 to 82 MPH. He will occasionally drop down his arm slot for the slider, which gives it different action, but also telegraphs the pitch.
Miley also telegraphs his changeup, which generally registers between 75-77 MPH. He slows down his arm speed as many pitchers his age do, and also inverts his hand to create a tailing action with it. Not only will seasoned batters know when it is coming, but Miley does not yet have good command of this pitch, which can make it a tasty treat.
Miley's curveball could be described as his taking something off his slider. Miley did not throw any true curveballs at Yakima and may scrap the rarely-used offering entirely even if he does remain a starter.
Major League Clone: Garrett Olson
Prediction: For the second straight draft, D-backs scouting director followed a great-stuff first-round hurler with a slider-wielding right-hander of average size who projects to the back of the rotation. Wade Miley and Wes Roemer have a lot in common, but Roemer's uncanny control sets him apart. Miley will need to improve his command/approach and develop a solid third pitch to remain a starter. You would figure that he would excel as a situational southpaw in the bullpen, but Northwest League lefties clubbed him at a .455 clip while he held right-handers to a miniscule .182 batting average. Again, we're only talking about an 11-inning sample size.
Timetable: Like Roemer before him, Miley will likely skip over South Bend and begin his first full pro season at Hi-A Visalia. He might have a lot of success there if he can continue to be stingy with the longball in the hitter-friendly California League. The D-backs finally have some depth in their left-handed pitching corps, so don't count on them rushing Miley to Double-A even if he does dominate Cal League batters.