December 5, 2017, virtually an unknown pitcher, Miles Mikolas, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. Twenty-nine years old and had spent the past three years with the Japan Leagues. Prior to that Mikolas was with the San Diego Padres making his debut May 5, 2012. He spent two seasons with the Padres, 34 IP/3.61 ERA. His third MLB season he was with the Texas Rangers, 57.1 IP/6.44 ERA. But, Cardinals fans did not know this guy. And to be a starter?!
After his 2014 season, he left the States to go overseas where he did quite well and became known as the "Lizard King". In his three seasons abroad, he was 31-13/2.18 ERA in a total of 424.2 IP in 62 games logged.
Even though he found success in Japan, some fans compared the Japan League as just another Triple-A stint for the young pitcher. But after watching this season's Japan All Star tour and their All Stars out-besting our MLB All Star team, in my opinion, the above presumption is totally not true.
Mikolas first start in the Cardinals 2018 Spring Training games, fans were shaking their heads. He had been signed to a $15.5 M/2 Year deal and he closed his outing, 1.2 IP/6 ER on seven hits. What were the Cardinals thinking and played right into the hands of those who love to bellow the loudest.
Personally I held out on my opinion. I felt this young pitcher would be okay after his initial outing, getting rid of the 'butterflies'. With each game pitched, this 'unknown green horn' began to show promise and fans began to change their views and relax somewhat.
He was placed in the Cardinals rotation for the 2018 season. Fans still a bit hesitant to really be all in on this pitcher. Mikolas proved he was a strength for the Cardinals closing his first season, 18-4/2.83 ERA and pitched in 32 games. He definitely won fans over in his ninth season start, May 21, going the distance with a 6-0 shutout, only allowing four hits and fanned nine against the Kansas City Royals for his sixth straight win. In a total of 200.2 IP, he only allowed 186 hits.
In the National League, Mikolas ended his season 6th for the Cy Young, tied Washington Nationals Max Scherzer and Chicago Cubs Jon Lester with 18 wins, 4th in earned runs and was named to the 2018 All Star team in his 'debut' season with the Cardinals.
Monday night, Miles Mikolas was honored with the Jack Buck Sports Award as Sports Personality of the Year in 2018.
A very deserving award winner. Congratulations to Miles and anxious to see him back in rare form in 2019.
The very first recipient was HOF Bob Gibson in 1970, per Bill Pollock, Missourinet Mikolas is among a very elite list in the past 48 years.
I do believe he squashed any ill-will comments by the disgruntled. If not - only proves those types are always unhappy in life ... about baseball.
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