Every week on the Talk to Contact podcast we try to highlight a player from the Twins minor league system. Sometimes we talk about the big name prospects, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer, but more often than not we dig a little deeper to find guys that you probably haven't heard of. Back in February we took a closer look at Ethan Mildren, and the very next week we unofficially founded the Ethan Mildren fanclub when we had him on the show. You can listen to those two shows HERE and HERE.
Mildren is a tall right hander, 6'4", 215lb, drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2013 draft (350th overall) out of the University of Pittsburgh after his junior season and received $100,000 signing bonus. Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said "He won't light up the gun, he's 90-91 [mph], but he throws straight and we think he's a starter." Prior to being drafted, Mildren was a three year starter for Pitt. His junior year he pitched 114.2 innings and lead the Pittsburgh Panthers with 10 wins and a 2.35 ERA. He also showed the ability to go deep into games, with four complete games. He struck out 76 and was named an All-Big East selection.
Mildren signed quickly and was sent down to Elizabethon where he pitched another 16.1 innings. It's a small sample size, and as a "polished" college pitcher you'd expect him to do well, and he did. He never gave up more than one run in any of his appearances and finished with a 1-1 record. Mildren posted a 1.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP with 13 strikeouts and 7 walks. Mildren will need to improve his command as he moves up, as it's unlikely he'll be able to maintain a high-strikeout rate as he moves up the system.
Mildren will start 2014 in Extended Spring Training (EST), surprising many who are close to the club's minor league who had him penciled into the Cedar Rapids rotation. Cedar Rapids opens the season with a 6-man rotation that includes Twins 2013 first round pick, Kohl Stewart. Mildren may head north to Cedar Rapids when the weather warms, or if any of the six Cedar Rapids starters falters or is injured early.
Mildren has a four pitch repertoire. He works primarily off of his fastball, a good changeup and has both a slider and a curveball, but neither of his breaking balls is a plus pitch. He should get some starts in 2014, even though he's currently been assigned to the bullpen in EST.
Ethan is on Twitter, and is more than willing to interact with fans and small-time podcasters from around Twins Territory. You can follow him @EMildren4040.
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