As is tradition around these parts after the season is over, we’re taking a look at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. That’ll range from someone that didn’t record an out to someone that played almost every inning. Treat it like they are stopping by the manager’s office (umm, also imagine this was before the managerial change) on their way home for the winter for a performance review. Stats listed are ones generated during their time with the Cards and the grade is based not only on their performance but on the expectations for them going into the season. As he has the past few years, the legend that is cardinalsgifs has provided our excellent header image!
Player: Miles Mikolas
Season stats: 2-3, 4.23 ERA, 9 G, 44.2 IP, 43 H, 6 HR, 11 BB, 31 K, 4.40 FIP, 1.209 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, -0.1 bWAR, 0.5 fWAR
Statcast: .326 xwOBA, 7.7 barrel %, 87.7 exit velocity, 37.3 hard hit %, 16.7 K %, 5.9 BB %
Best Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (70th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (45th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 3
Positives: Made it back to the big leagues on May 22 after missing all of 2020….finished the year with a 2.45 ERA over his last three starts….kept righties to a .232 average….had a 3.56 ERA in six home games….leadoff hitters had a .558 OPS against him….batters had a .599 OPS if they took the first pitch….allowed a .501 OPS if he was ahead in the count….did not allow a run in the fourth inning….gave up a .519 OPS between pitches 51 and 75….had a 2.45 ERA when he got six or more days of rest….had a good four innings against the Cubs, allowing just three hits in 17 plate appearances….had a 3.19 ERA in night games.
Negatives: After missing all of 2020, missed most of 2021 as well….went back on the IL after his May start and only returned in mid-August….allowed four earned runs in three straight starts to begin September….only went six or more innings once….had a 5.65 ERA away from Busch….fourth, fifth, and sixth place hitters all had an OPS over 1.000….batters hit .339/.367/.571 if they swung at the first pitch….they had an .890 OPS if they hit the first pitch….had a .978 OPS against if the hitter had the count advantage….five of his home runs came with two outs….batters hit .300 with runners in scoring position….in 16 high leverage plate appearances, allowed a .438/.438/.563 line….had a 6.00 ERA in the first and a 7.00 ERA in the third….batters hit .300 if he threw more than 75 pitches….had a 5.29 ERA on four days’ rest….had a 9.00 ERA in two day games.
Overview: Did you know that currently Mikolas is the fourth highest paid player on the Cardinals? Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Wainwright, and then Mikolas. That feels steep for a man who missed 2020 with elbow surgery and was MIA for much of this season as well. It’s also fair to point out that this contract, which the Cardinals gave to him before they had to, has seen him lead the league in losses (though with a respectable ERA) as well as miss most of the next two seasons. While much of that isn’t his fault, it’s also fair to wonder if the front office was so ecstatic about their success in identifying Mikolas that they didn’t take into account how much 2018 might have been a high water mark. That said, Mikolas showed a lot in September and there’s no particular reason to think he’ll be compromised going forward, so there’s still plenty of time to salvage at least some of that deal.
Outlook: Besides the fact that few teams would be interested, Mikolas has a no-trade clause that will keep him in St. Louis most likely through the end of the 2023 season when the contract runs out. If he can return to the form he showed in 2019 (without all those losses) he could easily slot in as a third starter should the Cardinals not sign anyone in free agency or a top of the line fourth starter if they did.