Cardinals: Miles Mikolas is early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year
After five starts, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas has emerged as the early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year.
When the St. Louis Cardinals entered the regular season, they had plenty of question marks throughout their roster. Perhaps none more so than the rotation and specifically whether Miles Mikolas would be able to hold up through the 162-game season.
So far, Mikolas has put himself in the conversation to be Comeback Player of the Year. He has a 1.52 ERA and 25/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 29.2 innings (five starts). Along with Adam Wainwright and Steven Matz, he has kept the rotation together while Jack Flaherty rehabs from an injury, and looks every bit of the starter who won 18 games in 2018.
In fact, Mikolas’ numbers are better now than they were in 2018, when he posted a 2.83 ERA and 146/29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 200.2 innings. While Mikolas may never be a candidate to pitch 200 innings – his injury history will likely have the Cardinals erring on the side of caution – he has proven that he can be a dominant starter when healthy.
It’s why the Cardinals bet on Mikolas and did not sign any other starting pitchers besides Matz this winter. Was it a gamble? A huge one. It could have potentially derailed their season if it went awry. But Mikolas has emerged as their best starter this season and has earned the trust of the coaching staff and front office, as manager Oli Marmol trusted him to pitch in the eighth inning of a scoreless game against the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
While the decision cost the Cardinals the game, a decision that Marmol has admitted he’d like back, it underscored their belief in Mikolas. It was borderline unfathomable to picture that happening so soon, but it’s the reality as the right-hander has been dominant through five outings.
If he continues this pace, he’ll win the Comeback Player of the Year. It’s early, of course, and a lot can change, but he’s surely emerged as the early favorite.