As reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals have a contract extension in place with starting pitcher Miles Mikolas. Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the deal will cover four seasons from 2020-2023 for $68M. His 2019 salary is unaffected.
The 30-year old Mikolas returned to the United States for the 2018 season after pitching in Japan from 2015 through 2017. In his first season back, he was a workhorse at the front of the Cardinals rotation. He led the pitching staff in wins (18), fWAR (4.3), BB/9 (1.3), and K/BB (5.03). In fact, his BB/9 and BB% (3.6) were best amongst starting pitchers in MLB, while his K/BB was 7th best.
For his efforts, he finished 6th in Cy Young voting and earned an All-Star appearance, and led the league in unique lizard stories. He endeared himself to Cardinal fans early in the season with a homerun in his first start:
Mikolas was originally drafted in 2009 by the San Diego Padres and made his MLB debut in 2012. In the 2013-2014 off-season, he was dealt first to the Pirates and then to the Rangers. In 10 starts in Texas in 2014, Mikolas registered 57.1 innings and a 6.44 ERA.
The Rangers released him after the season, and he signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball. In three seasons in Japan, he found a new level of production. His record was 31–13 with a 2.18 ERA in 62 starts, setting the stage for his splendid 2018 Cardinals debut.
Projection systems see much of the same for 2019. ZIPS sees 3.0 fWAR and a 3.73 FIP while Steamer projects 2.7 and 3.93 in the same categories.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Mikolas extension.