The St. Louis Cardinals went out and signed Andrew Miller this offseason to be their premier reliever (or at least their premier name in their bullpen); and they again sign a lefty on the market that promises better from that side of the pen, as they did with Brett Cecil a couple of seasons ago.
Over the last 5 years, the average relief pitcher in MLB has this line in 60 games pitched:
I already wrote about him when the Cardinals signed him and what that could look like over the next 2-3 seasons.
Here is what my projection system says about the lefty, Miller:
60 games, 60 innings
2.85 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 1.033 WHIP, 4.35 K:BB
6.30 H/9, 13.05 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9
Those numbers, were Miller to attain them, would be multiple standard deviations above league average. We’re talking almost 1.5 runs per 9 innings better than his average colleague. That’s incredible. He’ll easily become the best strikeout pitcher on the Cardinals - even more so than my Flaherty projection. When you talk about Andrew Miller on the mound, you think about this lefty throwing a wipeout slider that can back up to righties (see below) just as well as having lefties chase it away.
What can be pointed out to show that things CAN be better than that?!?
Both 2016 and 2017 were a standard deviation or two better than that even. They were RIDICULOUS seasons. If the Cardinals have THAT Miller on their 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2015 teams, we might be talking about being second in MLB in World Series titles by a large margin rather than the current 2 title lead over Boston and Oakland in 3rd.
How/If things go wrong:
As I wrote in the article to which I linked earlier, I see a lot of similarities within the statistics looking at Miller’s 2018 in comparison to the prior few seasons as I did looking at Luke Gregerson’s 2017 season in comparison to the prior few seasons. Also, see Father Time, again.