The A’s starting rotation isn’t set in stone completely yet, but the team is expected to roll with Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, and Tom Milone as their top three starters. McCarthy and Colon were expected to be the team’s No.1 and No.2 starters, but Milone, who was recently ranked #6 on our Top 10 A’s prospects for 2012, was not considered to be a No.3 starter this year for the A’s.
At the very most, Milone was considered a No.4 or No.5 starter for the Athletics this year. Milone, however, proved otherwise this spring. In his most recent start coming on Saturday, the left-handed Milone tossed six perfect innings en route to securing his rightful spot in Oakland’s starting rotation this year. The A’s acquired Milone in the trade that sent All-Star lefty Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals.
The A’s scored big with the Gonzalez deal, landing not only Milone, who opens the year as the team’s No.3 starter, but prospects Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole, and catcher Derek Norris as well. The biggest surprise of the bunch so far, though, has got to be Milone, who has continued to impress the fans and front office officials of the A’s.
Milone has been compared to fellow A’s pitcher Dallas Braden. He’s not going to overpower hitters with his fastball, which clocks in at the mid-to-high 80s, but he’ll work efficiently to get hitters out. He’s also been extremely accurate during his professional career. In 24 starts last year with Washington’s Triple-A affiliate, Milone went 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA and more importantly, posted an impressive 9.69 SO/BB.
Having a young guy who is that efficient and effective in the strike zone should definitely help the A’s pitching staff this year. Losing Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill was tough, but adding guys like Milone to the staff makes those loses a little easier to swallow.