Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Relievers to Keep Monitoring
By Noah Wright
The Pirates received three players in exchange for Adam Frazier back at the 2021 trade deadline. Jack Suwsinki and Tucupita Marcano were the most notable in the trades, and both are currently on the major league roster. However, you'd probably be forgiven if you forgot the third player involved. That was Michell Miliano, who really didn't have any expectations going into 2023.
2023 marked the third year in a row Miliano would appear for Greensboro. In 2022, Miliano pitched 25.2 innings for the Grasshoppers, working to a 7.58 ERA, 5.68 FIP, and 1.91 WHIP. Miliano only had a .214 opponent average and struck out 29.1% of the batters he faced, but walks were the major reason he struggled so much. Miliano had a horrendous 22% walk rate, and it wasn't a fluke either. Miliano also walked 20.9% of batters in 2021 and had a 16.4% walk rate in 2017-2019.
But Miliano has gotten off to a great start in 2023. He's pitched nine scoreless innings while striking out 19. But the most promising number is the three walks he's allowed. He's faced 36 total batters, so that comes out to a walk rate of just 8.3%, which would be the best of his career so far if he were to maintain that over the course of a full season.
Now keep in mind it is a small sample size. He hasn't even faced 50 batters yet, and he's pitched the equivalent of just a single game's worth of innings. But Miliano only had one streak last season in which he pitched at least nine innings and allowed fewer than five walks. It's also the first time since the very first three games of his career he's had three straight walkless appearances.