There are several candidates for the National League Rookie of the Year award, although one choice appears easy. If BBWAA voters believe in pitching, Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley is the only option.
Miley leads major leagues rookies with 15 victories after beating San Diego on Saturday, and his 3.07 ERA and 1.15 WHIP lead all rookie qualifiers. Texas right-hander Yu Darvish (14-9, 4.14) might have made more of a national splash, but it is not difficult to make a case for Miley as the best rookie pitcher in the majors this season.
Miley, who is scheduled to make his next start Saturday against San Francisco, said he has followed a simple formula.
"I've been trying to stick with the game plan and make adjustments as the game goes along. That's pretty much it. Throw strikes early and go after guys. I'm just trying to make pitches. I'm not trying to strike people out. Just get outs as quick as possible and get the offense back in the dugout," he said.
Manager Kirk Gibson said, "Really, it's been all year. Command. Just command and belief in throwing the ball for strikes. He keeps coming."
Miley, 25, has the second-most victories for an NL rookie since 1986, and with four starts remaining he has a chance to tie or pass Colorado right-hander Jason Jennings for the most in the league in 26 years. Jennings was 16-8 with a 4.58 ERA in 2002, and Colorado used the same formula on him that the D-backs have used with Miley. Jennings was 4-1 in seven starts and pitched 39 1/3 innings in 2001, short of the 50-inning cutoff. Miley was 4-2 in seven starts while pitching 40 innings in 2011, recalled after an injury to Jason Marquis necessitated a roster move.
With Miley in the lead, the D-backs' rookies lead the major leagues with 22 victories, causing catcher Miguel Montero to say, "I feel like grandpa now."
"The kid is tough as nails," closer J.J. Putz said. "He is mentally tough. He works his tail off in between starts, side sessions. He's a bulldog out there. He's a fast worker. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Mark Buehrle (Putz's former teammate with the White Sox), the way he works fast. He's got great stuff. He's just very quick. No nonsense. He just gets on the rubber and lets it go."