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Article: Five Things To Know About Tommy Milone

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 08:54 AM

On the morning of Thursday's trade deadline, the Twins announced that they've acquired left-hander Tommy Milone from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld.

There's really no room for criticizing this move. Although Milone isn't likely to be quite as good as his 3.84 ERA in four big-league seasons might suggest, any time you can get a 27-year-old proven MLB starter with multiple years of team control in return for an expendable fourth outfielder, you've done well.Understandably, Milone asked for a trade after being bumped down to Triple-A with a 3.55 ERA in early July after the A's acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel as part of their all-out World Series push. He has been sent to Rochester initially but is likely to be up in a Twins uniform soon.

What can we expect from the new acquisition? Here are five facts that will help you familiarize yourself.

1) He doesn't throw hard but can get some strikeouts

Over the course of his career, Milone's fastball has averaged 87 MPH, and he's been right around that mark on a consistent basis. For comparison, Andrew Albers last year averaged 86 MPH with the heater.

As a big-leaguer, Milone has averaged 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings, which is below average but still a step above many of the soft-tossing, pitch-to-contact hurlers who have populated Minnesota's rotation in recent years. His 7.3 K/9 rate in 2013 would have led all Twins starters.

2) He's an extreme fly ball pitcher

There are only a dozen pitchers in baseball with a fly ball rate above 40 percent right now; Milone's career rate is 41 percent. His grounder rate consistently ranks among the lowest in baseball. This isn't necessarily a terrible thing -- there are plenty of successful fly ball pitchers -- but it means he'll give up his fair share of homers, and puts added emphasis on the necessity of a quality defensive outfield. It also plays into this next fact:

3) His success has been largely dependent on his home park

With its spacious foul territory and favorable dimensions, Oakland's o.Co Coliseum is among the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. Unsurprisingly, Milone has thrived in that yard, where he owns a 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his career. In all other stadiums, he has a 4.59 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. He will no longer have the luxury of pitching his home games in Oakland, but fortunately, Target Field is also considered a workable environment for fly ball pitchers.

4) He's better against righties than lefties

As a southpaw who hits his spots and lacks great velocity, you'd think Milone might be particularly vulnerable to lineups stacked with right-handed hitters (think Brian Duensing), but that's not actually the case. Milone leans heavily on a strong changeup that helps neutralize opposite-sided hitters, and in his career he has actually held righties to a lower OPS (.719) than lefties (.775).

5) He's under team control for at least three more years.

This is the main reason I was surprised that the A's couldn't get back more than Sam Fuld. Assuming he comes up soon enough to hit Super 2 status, Milone will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2015. From there, the Twins can go year-to-year for three seasons. If he implodes, he can be non-tendered. If he succeeds, he can be brought back on affordable one-year deals through 2017, or the Twins can seek an extension at some point. That's a good situation to be in with a young pitcher.

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#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:08 AM

Jeremy did the math on Milone's service time, and you can hear the details on last night's Twins Hangouts Trade Deadline show), but if he were to be called up and start on Sunday, he would likely end the season with exactly three years of service time (meaning 3 years of arbitration). If they wait a week and call him up, he would be just shy of 3 years, meaning he would have four years of arbitration and team control. 

 

Makes it interesting.


#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:11 AM

Great writeup, thanks. Given that service time thing, it would be odd / bad for them to call him up before Sunday, wouldn't it?

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#4 beyondclarity

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:30 AM

They don't need to call him up at all.  We have so many quality pitchers, we should just leave all of our assets in AAA where they can languish away until their arms fall off.  Wait til 2016 to bring him up, I say!  UGH!  SO frustrated with the way this team manages their young pitchers.

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#5 minn55441

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:33 AM

Apparently he was not happy in Oakland.Felt he had pitched well enough to stay out of AAA.I wonder how much of that frustration was related to his service time and the fact that he could miss super two status? 

 

If I remember correctly our own Glen Perkins had the same issue, I think he even went so far as to file a grievence with the union.Many thought he would never play in Minnesota again as he demanded a trade.

 

I wonder what the real story is benind this?If we wait a week to bring him up and he misses the opporutnity to become a super two how would he handle that?


#6 spycake

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 10:06 AM

Jeremy did the math on Milone's service time, and you can hear the details on last night's Twins Hangouts Trade Deadline show), but if he were to be called up and start on Sunday, he would likely end the season with exactly three years of service time (meaning 3 years of arbitration). If they wait a week and call him up, he would be just shy of 3 years, meaning he would have four years of arbitration and team control. 

Good catch, I did the math wrong in the original trade thread (I left off the ~5 days he was in MLB at the beginning of July).

 

But yeah, assuming he isn't recalled until his first start later next week, he should have 4 years team control left, through the 2018 season (albeit all at arbitration prices, unless we buy them out).


#7 spycake

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 10:12 AM

Apparently he was not happy in Oakland.Felt he had pitched well enough to stay out of AAA.I wonder how much of that frustration was related to his service time and the fact that he could miss super two status? 

 

If I remember correctly our own Glen Perkins had the same issue, I think he even went so far as to file a grievence with the union.Many thought he would never play in Minnesota again as he demanded a trade.

 

I wonder what the real story is benind this?If we wait a week to bring him up and he misses the opporutnity to become a super two how would he handle that?

If we call him up at all in 2014, he should make Super-2, thus get 4 arbitration awards rather than the usual 3.  That's not really at issue for us (although Oakland could have made a case for leaving him in AAA longer, given their full rotation).

 

The issue is when he becomes eligible for free agency.  Probably not as contentious, because it is not as immediate.


#8 GCTF

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 10:17 AM

I wouldn't worry about any of this stuff with Milone. Good chance he's not even in the organization in three years.

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#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 10:29 AM

I wouldn't worry about any of this stuff with Milone. Good chance he's not even in the organization in three years.

 

Correct, but after posting a 6 1/2 ERA in AAA with the A's, giving him one or two starts in Rochester before promoting him might make sense too. The other stuff is a bonus.


#10 Dantes929

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 12:52 PM

8 quality starts in his last 11. ERA went from 5.6 to 3.55 and he went 6-0 in that time frame.  Has anyone every been less deserving of a demotion than he was?

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#11 DaveW

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 01:02 PM

8 quality starts in his last 11. ERA went from 5.6 to 3.55 and he went 6-0 in that time frame.  Has anyone every been less deserving of a demotion than he was?

Free Joe Dillon!

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#12 Thrylos

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 05:18 PM

3) His success has been largely dependent on his home park

With its spacious foul territory and favorable dimensions, Oakland's o.Co Coliseum is among the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. Unsurprisingly, Milone has thrived in that yard, where he owns a 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his career. In all other stadiums, he has a 4.59 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. He will no longer have the luxury of pitching his home games in Oakland, but fortunately, Target Field is also considered a workable environment for fly ball pitchers.

 

that is not this clear.Here are some WHIP normalized numbers:

 

2014
Home 1.115 WHIP, .248 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.304
Away 1.319 WHIP, .276 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.386

2013
Home 1.265 WHIP, .280 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.310
Away 1.279 WHIP, .298 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.245

2013
Home 1.054 WHIP, .274 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.116
Away 1.522 WHIP, .352 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.254

 

Might be a slight edge at home, but I think that the average league pitcher (or the league as a whole) has a slight edge at home too (here are the league splits for 2014)

 

So not sure that he is much of Oakland product.

 

He is much better than Albers or (the good) Diamond (fastball velocity similarities aside; remember he was traded for Gio Gonzalez at some point) for 3 reasons:

- his change

- his command and control

- his cutter (and this is not much mentioned) which is a pitch with a lot of promise (and effective) and somewhat a work in progress for him.

 

I think that he would round up the Twins' staff as a fifth starter better than the likes of Correia.But that is what he is: a bottom of the rotation starter/long man.  

Excellent deal for the Twins.

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#13 Thrylos

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 05:19 PM

About his AAA ERA numbers: His PCL ERA is totally irrelevant either way.Feel free to check his IL ERA (and the rest.)

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#14 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 05:46 PM

that is not this clear. Here are some WHIP normalized numbers:

2014
Home 1.115 WHIP, .248 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.304
Away 1.319 WHIP, .276 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.386

2013
Home 1.265 WHIP, .280 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.310
Away 1.279 WHIP, .298 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.245

2013
Home 1.054 WHIP, .274 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.116
Away 1.522 WHIP, .352 BABIP, normalized WHIP: 1.254

Might be a slight edge at home, but I think that the average league pitcher (or the league as a whole) has a slight edge at home too (here are the league splits for 2014)

So not sure that he is much of Oakland product.

He is much better than Albers or (the good) Diamond (fastball velocity similarities aside; remember he was traded for Gio Gonzalez at some point) for 3 reasons:
- his change
- his command and control
- his cutter (and this is not much mentioned) which is a pitch with a lot of promise (and effective) and somewhat a work in progress for him.

I think that he would round up the Twins' staff as a fifth starter better than the likes of Correia. But that is what he is: a bottom of the rotation starter/long man.
Excellent deal for the Twins.


Good take. That's basically what I think of Milone. He's a great pickup but he's a back of the rotation arm for a contender.

And I'll give that up for Sam Fuld any day of the week. Fuld has a lot of value to Oakland, almost zero to the Twins.

#15 kab21

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:24 PM

Good take. That's basically what I think of Milone. He's a great pickup but he's a back of the rotation arm for a contender.

And I'll give that up for Sam Fuld any day of the week. Fuld has a lot of value to Oakland, almost zero to the Twins.

 

the conclusion was good but I disagree with the analysis.

 

He is a product of Oakland.Their ballpark continually has one of the lowest BAPIP's in baseball (in the .270's) each year while Target Field has a .300's BAPIP (a little above league average).

 

In addition he wasn't traded for gio Gonzalez.That's like saying Mulvey was traded for Johan.Peacock (not a bad prospect although lowish upside), Norris and AJ Cole were traded for gio.Milone went along for the ride.

Is 2016 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? And the answer is NOPE!


#16 DocBauer

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:53 PM

I like the move, even if never pays off in any big way. Any time you trade away an OK 4th OF, albeit having the best year of his career, BACK to the team that cut him for a functional 27 yo LHSP who has actually had ML success and solid numbers, it's a win any way you slice it. I like Thrylos' numbers. I think they offer a more balanced perspective. While there are pitchers that simply don't fit their home parks for various reasons, think Hughes as an example, I think most pitchers, like position players, tend to perform better at home. Further, Target Field is not a bad pitchers park either. Is Milone a more proven version of Gilmartin I wonder? I don't want to get in to a big debate here about who should be promoted, should have already been promoted, etc. The simple facts are that right now, this season, May has pitched with overall consistency than Meyer. And that's not a knock on him or his potential. It's just a fact for NOW. But if we accept that May might be up sooner, and again, might be more ready NOW, we could see Hughes, Gibson, Nolasco and May as our top 4 for next season, and even to finish out this one. Milone could be a nice LH #5 option until Meyer or Berrios would be ready. A playoff rotation? I don't know, jury is still out on Hughes' consistency and Gibson's ceiling to be sure. May's potential is very good. A healthy Nolasco offers a huge boost and a very solid option. So playoff rotation? Maybe. Any way you'd slice it, those 5 would constitute the best SP rotation we've had in a few years to be sure.

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