The Arizona Diamondbacks made arguably one of the biggest trades this offseason when they acquired starter Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves. Miller will be a solid number two starter behind new staff ace Zack Greinke this upcoming season.
The fallback to the Diamondbacks’ acquisition of Miller was that the organization gave up some really good players to get him. In the deal, Arizona sent three players to Atlanta, outfielder Ender Inciarte, top pitching prospect Aaron Blair and shortstop Dansby Swanson, who was the number one overall pick in last year’s draft and the top overall prospect in the organization.
There was a lot of negative feedback as to what the Diamondbacks gave up in this trade, but over time, most have gotten used to the deal. The Diamondbacks have a plethora of options both in their outfield and pitching depth, so giving up Blair and Inciarte wasn’t as difficult.
The one that is tough to deal with is the loss of Swanson, who was poised to be the shortstop of the future here in the desert. But in reality, Swanson was most likely a couple years away from making it to the majors and Arizona has shown that it’s in win-now mode.
Miller was a very solid addition for the Diamondbacks. They got their ace in Greinke and now they have a legitimate number two starter in Miller, who had a record of 6-17 last season with a 3.02 ERA. You might look at those numbers and say “Wow! The guy had 17 losses? Is he even good?” The answer to that question is, yes. He is quite good.
Miller was the victim of a lack of run support last season with the Braves. In 15 of his 17 losses, Atlanta scored zero to three runs and in 10 of those losses, Miller gave up three runs or fewer and still was credited with the loss. In fact, out of his 33 starts, Miller had 21 quality starts, which means going at least six innings and giving up no more than three earned runs.
Now, Miller moves over to the Diamondbacks who had one of the best offenses in the league last season. So, one would assume he’ll be getting some run support this upcoming year.
One key factor for Miller will be his ability to keep the ball in the park with the move to notoriously hitter-friendly Chase Field. According to a Bleacher Report piece from April 2014, Chase Field is the sixth worst ballpark in terms to its friendliness towards hitters.
Another challenge is that a move to the NL West means pitching often in Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, which comes in at number one on this list. The bright side is that Miller only gave up 13 long balls last season, so it seems he is good at keeping the ball down.
The Diamondbacks made upgrading the pitching staff their main focus this offseason and it looks as though they accomplished their goal by getting both Greinke and Miller. Arizona should have a solid starting staff this season as they now have two starters who surpassed 200 innings pitched (Greinke- 222.2 IP & Miller- 205.1 IP).
This pitching staff paired with the number two offense in the National League, according to ESPN, should produce a contending team in 2016.