Tag Archives: andrew miller

Cody Allen doesn’t suck, and why Andrew Miller shouldn’t be assigned an inning


Cody Allen blew a save last night. He blew it in just about as fantastic a fashion as possible – giving up a go-ahead grand slam to an outfielder with 31 career dongs on an 0-2 pitch.

It was bad.

Cody Allen isn’t.

Before last night, Cody had appeared in 16 games since the All-Star break. He struck out 23 batters in 16.1 innings. He allowed 1 earned run and issued just 3 free passes. AND he converted 6 of 6 save opportunities, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Since 2014, three relievers have struck out more batters than Cody Allen. Seven have posted a better K/9. He’s top 20 in K-BB% and FIP, top 10 in WAR. His curveball has the highest Pitch Value per Fangraphs by a margin of 4.5 – that same margin separates #2 from #s 6-7. Opponents are hitting  .200 off him. In 197 games, he’s blown 11 saves. And again, if you’re into that sort of thing, he’s converted 81 of them.


But none of that is the point of this blog. The point of this blog is to talk about why I completely agree with how Tito has deployed his new toy, Andrew Miller, out of the bullpen since acquiring him at the trade deadline – as a stopper with no assigned inning.

Before we talk big picture, let’s touch on last night again quickly. Miller just flat out wasn’t available. He threw two innings the night before. Sure, he did it in just 16 pitches, but a multiple inning outing for a reliever is still a big deal. You get hot, come in, sit down the side, sit down for a half inning, come back out and get hot again before throwing the second inning. A one inning, 16 pitch outing is much different than a two inning, 16 pitch outing.

So two innings on Tuesday. His previous outing before that? Another 2 innings on Sunday, in which he threw 23 pitches.

So in three days, he pitched 4 innings and threw 39 pitches.

He went 2 innings for the Yankees exactly once this year before the trade. Four times in 2015.

So yeah, he was unavailable. And I really, honestly enjoy the people who argue that he should be able to throw basically any time we need him because “he used to be a starter.”

He hasn’t started a Major League Baseball game in five years. 1,863 days since he started a game. That’s like saying I should be able to have a kid today because I kept a Tamagotchi alive for six weeks in 1995.

Also, let’s not forget he was turned into a reliever in the first place for a reason. He was bad at doing something 5 years ago, he’s been really good since he stopped doing that, so let’s make him do less of what he’s been great at and more of what he stunk at? Air-tight logic.

Back to the big picture. Why do I agree with using Miller as a stopper? Same reason I agree with playing Abe Almonte while he continues to hit, even though he can’t help you in the playoffs. You don’t save something for a theoretical advantageous situation in the future when that situation might not occur if you don’t take care of business in the present.

Here are a handful of real-life examples to help get that idea across.

sick turtle

  1. You have a pet turtle that is dying.

Sweet, sweet Ralphie. He’s got a big old heart underneath that weathered shell. His birthday is coming up, but he might not make it. He’s got a terrible turtle disease and his days are numbered. He’s old, too, so it’s not like he has a whole lot of time to turn his health around.

Two grand and a couple of freight ships from China later, and you have the cure in your possession. Your plan was to save the cure and give it to him on his actual birthday as a present.

You walk down to his cage two days before his birthday and he’s turned over on his shell, gasping for air, fighting like hell to stay alive. You had already planned on locking the cure in as his birthday present, no matter what situations came up in the days leading up to it. But your present won’t mean shit to Ralphie when he’s swimming in the giant aquarium in the sky.

You give Ralphie the medicine before his birthday.


2. You get knocked out in dodgeball in 4th grade gym class.

It’s a 3 game series to see who is crowned the school champs. Winner doesn’t have to run warm up laps next week.

If a team is down to one player, and that player sinks a throw into the other team’s basketball hoop, they get to pick a player from their team to come back in. The catch is, a player can only be picked once in the entire 3 game series.

Your team loses the first game. You’re down 4 players to 1 in the second. Not bad, except for the fact that the player that’s still alive is only still in the game because he was cowering in the corner the whole time because it’s goddamn Stuart and he has the athletic ability of the worm your science teacher just dissected last period.

Stuart closes his eyes and hurls his arm violently forward, most certainly tearing his rotator cuff. Swish.

Should he bring in the player that gives them the best chance to win that game, even though that player won’t be available to be brought back in for game 3?

Game 3 doesn’t happen if Stuart doesn’t bring in Dallas, the best athlete in the class, to help win Game 2.

Stuart calls in Dallas.


3. You have one “Automatic 90% on an Exam” pass for your least favorite class.

It’s late in the semester. Your grades have been okay so far, but you need to do well on the final 2 tests in order to pass the class.

Thing is, the professor decides to make the second to last exam the day after Super Bowl Sunday. Which also happens to be your birthday. Which also happens to be the 21st birthday of your life.

You do your damnedest to prepare. Hours and hours spent in the library the week before. You even laminated your notes so they wouldn’t get ruined when someone inevitably destroys an entire side of beer pong cups trying to swat away a bounce and you’re studying in between games.

You miraculously make it to the test that day. “Name….name…..” You get the first question right, you’re pretty sure. Other than that? Not so much.

You can save your pass for the final exam.

If you fail this exam, the final exam won’t matter. You’ll have already failed the class.

You use your pass on the second to last exam, the day after the Super Bowl and your 21st birthday.

And these examples don’t even take into account how good Cody Allen is as an alternative, if you absolutely need to classify one pitcher as our “closer”. That’d be like you having an additional medicine for your turtle that guarantees him another 10 years, or if you had another kid on your dodgeball team that wasn’t as fast as Dallas but could light up a radar gun, or if you only needed to get like a 60% on the final exam to pass the class.

Bottom line – you don’t plan on saving something good for a later time, when that later time either won’t come or won’t matter if you don’t take care of the present.




The #PartyAtNapolis has found its way to Napoli’s bat, Andrew Miller

Even with a couple more hours to go until the MLB Trade Deadline, it’s already been a huge 24 hours for the Cleveland Indians.

It’s been an even huger 24 hours for the #PartyAtNapolis.

First, our gracious host left the yard for the 24th time this season in the 3rd inning of an 8-0 rout of the Oakland Athletics yesterday afternoon.

Pretty cool. Even cooler if you take a look at the engraving on the bat he was using to hit it:

Then last night, when our new bullpen buzzsaw arrived to join the team in Cleveland, he immediately noticed the smell of Fireball, Copenhagen straight and ladies perfume:

Lace up the drinking boots, Andrew. It’s gonna be a bender till November.


PS Just noticed Nap’s header photo on Twitter is Dorn and Lou.


Ask the man what he wants to make in 2017 then double it.

Well that was a pretty wild 24 hours for the Tribe

I sat at the bar before the Indians game on Saturday with my phone out, refreshing Twitter nonstop because we were rumored to be close to trading for one of the best catchers in baseball.

I celebrated after the game on the Thirsty Parrot deck, rapping every word to Will Smith’s “Getting Jiggy With It” because we had reportedly reached an agreement to trade for one of the best catchers in baseball.

I woke up Sunday morning to 12 text messages telling me we’d just traded for one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

Two hours later, a no-trade clause was invoked and a deal that would send him to Cleveland was vetoed by one of the best catchers in baseball.


Now that all the dust has settled, here’s a summary of the roller coaster ride that was July 31st:


LHP Andrew Miller

  • 1.39 ERA, 1.28 xFIP, 77 K’s in 45.1 IP (15.29 K/9) and a 96.7 LOB% so far in 2016
  • Hasn’t had a K/9 less than 14, WHIP lower than 0.86 or an FIP higher than 2.16 since 2013
  • Under contract until 2019


OF Clint Frazier 

  • Fifth overall pick by the Indians in the 2013 MLB Draft
  • #1/2 prospect in the Indians minor league system, 21st in MLB on Baseball America’s 2016 Midseason Update. Now #1 in NYY system
  • .273/.350/.461, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 13 SB, 92 K’s in 362 ABs so far in 2016 (AA/AAA)

LHP Justus Sheffield

  • First round pick by the Indians in 2014
  • Top 5 prospect in the Indians minor league system, 69th in MLB on Baseball America’s 2016 Midseason Update. Now #7 in NYY system
  • 7-5, 3.59 ERA, 93/40 K/BB, 1.37 WHIP in 95.1 IP so far in 2016 (A+)

RHP Ben Heller

  • 22nd round pick by the Indians in 2013
  • Fastball sits upper 90’s, touches 100
  • 3-2, 1.73 ERA, 48/12 K/BB, 12-13 SV in 41.2 IP so far in 2016 (AA/AAA)

RHP J.P. Feyereisen

  • 16th round pick by the Indians in 2014
  • 1.80 ERA, 136/37 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, .184 AVG, 21-23 SV in 105 professional innings (up to AA)


C Jonathan Lucroy


C Francisco Mejia

SS Yu-Cheng Chang

OF Greg Allen

RHP Shawn Armstrong

First, the good news.

We desperately needed a relief pitcher, preferably the kind that throws with their left arm. We acquired one of the most dominant one of those in all of baseball.

I think it’s pretty clear Bryan Shaw will get bumped to the 7th, which will be good for him and my general health. And regardless of what Tito decides to do in terms of the 8th and 9th, it’s a good problem to have. You’ve all seen the eye-popping bottom line Miller stats,  but take a gander at these from Fangraphs:


So not only is Miller an absolute stud, he’s an absolute stud that gets better in big moments.

Those are all on-field benefits from the deal. And they’re great benefits to be sure. But the message this move sends to not only a locker room full of guys that are hungry to win a World Series,  but a fan base that has been foaming at the mouth for a move like this since Y2K, is something I would argue to be almost as significant.

The clubhouse was noticeably waiting. God knows the fans were doing the same. For the front office to be able to deliver, right now, at this juncture, with the club in the best position they’ve been in at this point in any season in recent memory, that is enormous. You can’t measure it in counting stats or ratios but bringing in a guy like Andrew Miller lights a fire underneath anyone who works for or supports the Cleveland Indians, and it does so at a perfect time.

Missing out on Lucroy sucks.

Hanging on to Mejia, Chang, Allen and Armstrong doesn’t.

We sent a huge haul to New York to get Miller, so retaining some organizational depth lessens the sting of the veto a small bit. Mejia, the centerpiece of that package, is a 20-year-old switch-hitting catcher who’s currently riding a 42 game hit streak and was ranked as the 5th best catching prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. He’s now the 4th best prospect in the Indians system. Yeah he’s young and seems to be a ways away from the big show, but you know who else was a highly-touted 20-year-old tearing it up in High A that seemed to be nowhere near ready for the majors one year ago? He’s got red hair, and he now wears pinstripes.

A few specific players that may have woken up today feeling a little bit better about themselves are Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin.

Now I’m not at all convinced that the gripes about guaranteed playing time in 2017 weren’t floated by the Lucroy camp as an attempt at damage control. Common sense seems to say that if you acquire a top 3-4 guy at one position, and you don’t currently employ one of the other 2-3 members of that group, he’s going to play every day. But if there’s any truth to the rumors that the Indians wouldn’t guarantee Lucroy the starting job next year, it just goes to show how much confidence Tito and co. have in Gomes, even after his struggles over the past two seasons. Seems like an eternity ago, but at the beginning of last season he was coming off 3.3 and 4.5 WAR seasons. That was good for the 5th highest total number of wins above replacement at catcher for 2013 and 2014.

And I would have to imagine the way Naquin has played this year at least had a part in the front office feeling comfortable enough to move one and almost two upper-level outfielders without bringing one back. Be interesting to see how his ABs (or lack thereof) against lefties play out the rest of the season.

I’ll keep the bad news short and sweet.

Losing a player with as much potential as Frazier has is never an easy pill to swallow, no matter who you get in return. He’s got an explosive tool set and had become part of Indians folklore with his flowing red hair and, well, interesting personality. People probably knew a little less about Sheffield, but the bottom line is you sent two guys to New York and they immediately became the Yankees #1 and #7 prospects. That’s what it’s gonna cost to get a guy who’s one of the best at his positions, and it happened to be a position we need. Everyone has been calling for us to pay it for years. We finally did.

Also, it kinda sucks that the specifics of the Lucroy deal were released and these four kids know they were theoretically dealt by the Indians. Hopefully they realize this was about winning now, and that’s not to say the club doesn’t think they can help us win in the future.