Milone was drafted in 2008 (10th round) and has been remarkably consistent throughout his brief minor league career. In 2009 at High-A he went 12-6 with a 2.91 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 151.1 innings. In 2010, he went 12-5 with a 2.85 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 158.0 innings at Double-A. Then, in 2011 at Triple-A, he went 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 148.1 innings. This past season he led all minor leaguers with an astonishing 155/16 strikeout-to-walk rate before receiving a well-deserved and earned callup in September. In five late season starts he pitched 26.0 total innings, winning one game with a 3.81 ERA.
Considering Milone will turn 25 next February, there are good indications that his development is done which gives the S2S crew some concern over this lack of “plus stuff”. His command and changeup are certainly his strengths, but his curveball and slider rate average at best. He’s been able to get by thus far against minor league pitching so there’s reason for optimism that he’ll be able to maintain some level of success as a MLB starter.
If his command doesn’t elude him and the strikeout successes translate to the Majors, the S2S crew believes he could develop into the next Mark Buerhle – an interesting thought considering the organization’s reported interest in the veteran left-hander. Naturally Milone is not there yet and in all likelihood could be a few seasons away from being at the same level, however it does add an additional factor into the discussions surrounding whether or not the team should actually sign Buerhle. Milone may be ready to start in the Majors now, and there appears to be enough depth in the organization should he struggle, so perhaps bringing in a pitcher of Buerhle’s caliber may be a moot point.
Time will tell how this one plays out, but one thing is for certain – Milone has proven he is a talented pitcher. Now it’s time for him to prove that in Washington.