One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Miles Mikolas
Season stats: 12-13, 3.29 ERA, 33 G, 32 GS, 202.1 IP, 170 H, 25 HR, 39 BB, 153 K, 3.87 FIP, 1.033 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 2.4 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR
Statcast: .306 xwOBA, 6.9 barrel %, 87.8 exit velocity, 36.0 hard hit %, 19.0 K %, 4.8 BB %
Best Statcast category: BB % (91st percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Whiff % (5th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 6, Goat 7
Positives: After some health issues the last couple of years, stayed on the active roster all season long….lost four games where he gave up two or fewer runs but got no support….lefties hit .207 against him, though they had more extra base hits than righties….had a 2.38 ERA at Busch and allowed a .192 average there….had a 2.54 ERA in the first half….had a 1.52 ERA in April while allowing a .508 OPS….had a 1.60 ERA in his 12 wins….limited hitters to a .633 OPS and had a 2.93 ERA in games where he received two or fewer runs of support….batters hit only .224 when they were ahead in the count….gave up a .533 when he was ahead in the count….the first batter he faced struck out 12 times in 33 plate appearances….batters had a .607 OPS with two outs….allowed a .108/.175/.270 line in late and close situations….struck out 31 batters in the first inning, the most of any inning….batters hit .170 with a .492 OPS the first time around….they hit less than .190 on his first 50 pitches….was in the top 9% of the league in walk percentage.
Negatives: Gave up 10 runs in 2.2 innings in a game in Colorado….gave up six runs twice….burned some sage in the outfield on July 10 but was actually better before that than after….had a 4.10 ERA in the second half, though that was somewhat skewed by the Colorado game….had a 5.33 ERA in his 13 losses….allowed four homers by ninth place hitters….batters had a .787 OPS on the first pitch….gave up seven homers in high leverage situations….had a 5.34 ERA in the fifth inning.
Overview: After the last couple of years, it was fair to wonder exactly what the club was going to get out of Mikolas. Injuries and less-than-stellar work had marred the initial impression he made with a strong 2018. That contract extension was looking like another one of those times where John Mozeliak got a bit ahead of himself. That changed in 2022 as Mikolas legitimately was making a case for some down ballot Cy Young votes until he slipped a bit in the final months (though he did rebound with a good September). Mikolas might not be the flashiest of the members of the rotation but you can feel good about your chances to get a quality outing out of him every time out.
Outlook: Mikolas will be the third (or, depending on how you count Adam Wainwright‘s contract, the fourth) highest player on the roster next year depending on free agent signings. It’s the last year of his deal as well, which means he could be in line for an extension. Given that it took three years into this contract to get a good season, though, I would hope Mozeliak would be a bit more circumspect with those sort of talks and let the season play out before trying to engage with him. No matter how that plays out, though, you’d think that he’s probably in line to be one of the top two pitchers in the rotation, depending on what happens with Jack Flaherty.