Best Hope for the Diamondbacks' Future (2012)

Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks

It's been a while since any Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher's been in the National League Cy Young discussion. As Diamondbacks, Brandon Webb won the best-pitcher trophy in 2006, and Randy Johnson won it four years straight from from 1999 to 2002. Now comes slow-talking, happy-go-lucky, Louisiana left-hander Wade Miley, Arizona's only contribution to this year's NL All-Star team. Miley's unlikely to win. He's a rookie. The only rookie to ever win the Cy Young was Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, and nobody really knew how old Fernando was (some joked that he was 30-something before he reached the majors from deep in Mexico). Valenzuela also won the NL Rookie of the Year award in '81, and guess what? Miley's in that discussion, too.

The 25-year-old is 12-8, with a 3.02 earned-run average, and it's not that farfetched to think that he could win both honors (Webb won the Cy with a 16-8 record and a 3.20 ERA). Miley's in the same neighborhood statistically as Washington Nationals hurling golden boy Stephen Strasberg, and his primary competition for the NL rookie award is Cincinnati Reds infielder Todd Frazier. How does this small-town boy (who's been good-natured about being the butt of hayseed jokes in the team's locker room) do it on the mound? His best pitch is a low and away, hard slider that confounds the hell out of hitters. The guy may be corn-pone, but he's in the championship zone.


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