Best National League Rookies: Sophomore Seasons

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With a bulldog mentaility and a 95 mph fastball, Shelby Miller will emerge as an ace in the near future. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Shelby Miller SP St. Louis Cardinals

Shelby Miller was my preseason pick for NL Rookie of the Year, and while he didn’t win the award, he certainly didn’t disappoint. The fiery right hander went 15-9 with a 3.09 ERA that was tenth best in the NL.  He struck out nearly a batter per inning and allowed 7.9 hits per nine innings in 173 of them.  He faded down the stretch and bizarrely appeared in just one game in the playoffs (despite being on the roster for all three playoff rounds), but that was likely due to fatigue.  Miller had arguably the most dominant pitching performance of the 2013 season on May 10th, when he allowed a leadoff hit to Eric Young Jr, and then retired the next 27 consecutive Rockies.  He struck out 13 in the performance.

I think Miller has a chance for a dominant big league career.  Just as he wasn’t in 2013, he’ll never be a better pitcher than Fernandez, but this Texan is here to stay.  He basically carved up National League lineups relying on just his fastball, and once he learns to effectively use his plus breaking ball and develop a changeup, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.  Watch out NL Central.