When Miles Mikolas returned to the U.S. in 2018 he made an impact, emerging as a solid fantasy option in all formats. While his strikeout rate was limited (6.55 K/9), elite control coupled with enough groundballs allowed him to post a 2.83 ERA. That led to some large expectations heading into 2019, but ultimately a repeat performance wasn’t in the cards:
144 Strikeouts (7.04 K/9)
32 Walks (1.57 BB/9)
47.4% Groundball Rate
The strikeouts were up marginally and the control was still elite, but the results simply weren’t there. The biggest difference was the regression in his Hard%:
- 2018 – 32.6%
- 2019 – 41.5%
That spike and the lack of a truly elite groundball rate led to regressions in both his “luck” (BABIP went from .279 to .302) and his HR/9 (0.72 to 1.32). Things did get progressively worse, with Hard% of 55.2% and 48.3% over the final two months. The issues came against all of his pitches, outside of his curveball, and that only adds to the concern (AVG // SLG):
- Fourseam Fastball – .292 // .476
- Sinker – .251 // .475
- Slider – .287 // .477
You have to wonder if this was a case of familiarity leading to far worse results, given his “skills”. He’s never going to miss enough bats to make a significant impact, and while he could improve on his home run rate that’s not going to be a guarantee given the Hard% and groundball rate. That’s a scary combination, and while the control is going to allow him to remain usable for his WHIP that’s going to be the only real selling point.
Consider Mikolas a potential streaming option, at least for those in deeper formats, but for most the upside is minimal at best.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball