It’s Time to Pick Up that Pitcher Who Came Over From Japan

miles mikolas
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas pitches against the Houston Astros in the March 9 exhibition game. (AP Photo)

No, I am not talking about Ohtani. If he is available in your league right now, do me a favor and find a more competitive league. I am referring to Miles Mikolas, who signed a two year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had pitched in the Majors (Padres and Rangers), before moving onto Japan.

Mikolas credits his time in Japan from turning him from a thrower into a pitcher. He learned it’s not how fast you throw; it’s how well you throw fast. (Ok, I stole that from those John Deere commercials, but it was just lying out there waiting to be used).

Mikolas has two rough starts giving up 4 runs in his first two starts of the season. However, he did go 5.2, then 6.1 innings. His latest start had him going 7 full innings while only giving up one run. Now, this was a struggling Cincinnati team that has the worst record in baseball. However, the point I am trying to make is, Mikolas goes deep into games because of how he pitches. Despite his first two rough starts, he didn’t walk anyone in those games. His first walk came in his latest outing where he walked two.

Mikolas is not a strikeout machine and wasn’t in Japan. So that might be a reason he is only owned in 36% of Yahoo leagues. What he lacks in strikeouts, he makes up for in innings. If you are in a quality start league, Mikolas could be that hidden treasure on the wire you’ve been waiting for. He pitches to contact and goes deep into ball games. That is a winning combination. His xFIP before the outing on the 14th was 2.48.

That’s about as far as I will go with Mikolas as of now. He has only pitched in 3 games and the data isn’t deep enough to a full analysis just yet. Just remember that Ohtani isn’t the only pitcher from Japan that can help your fantasy team.

Since writing this short article about 2 weeks ago, Mikolas has given two 2 run 7 inning performances for the Cardinals. Still, at just 60% owned according to Yahoo, Mikolas seems to still be undervalued by the fantasy community. He had stats, (minus the hitting and the strikeouts), almost as good as Ohtani’s in the Japanese league. However, the strikeouts are coming. He struck out 6 against the Reds on April 22nd and 7 against the Pirates on the 27th. This man is a quality start machine. He has had 5 starts, in those 5 starts he’s walked 2 BATTERS. That is right just two batters. He knows how to pitch efficiently and get that quality starts every time out. In a time where a lot of established starters are struggling early, (Paxton, Luis Castillo, etc “not endorsing you to drop them for Mikolas”), Mikolas gives that steady hand your pitching staff needs.

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