Game 32, Tigers at Mariners
Millwood vs Verlander, 7:10 pm.
When people talk about potential rotation changes, inevitably we end up hearing someone talk about how Millwood should be the first guy to go. After all, he’s 37-years-old, so he’s not any kind of long term solution, and his 5.34 ERA shows that he’s washed up. Really, though, only the first part of that sentence is true.
Millwood’s relevant stats to date: 7.9% BB%, 15.0% K%, 45.4% GB%. AL averages for starting pitchers in 2012: 7.9% BB%, 17.6% K%, 43.9% GB%. Millwood’s stuff has declined to the point where his strikeout rate is just south of league average, but he’s right in line with the norms in both walk rate and ground ball rate. Look at his career line, and this is what Millwood is – an average BB/GB guy and a slightly below average K guy. He is essentially the classic #5 starter.
His ERA is bloated by a .344 BABIP and a 59.2% strand rate, neither of which are going to continue. There’s nothing wrong with Kevin Millwood, and he’s a decent enough guy to have as an innings eater at the back of the rotation to let the kids develop down in the minors so the organization doesn’t have to rush them before they’re ready. He’s better than Blake Beavan, and at this point, he’s better than Hector Noesi, though at least Noesi has the upside to become something more than what he is now. Don’t be so quick to throw Millwood to the curb – he’s still a useful piece for this team.