Date of Birth: October 10, 1990
2017 Line: 4 starts, 22 innings pitched, 4.09 ERA, 20:12 K:BB
2017 Value: 0.4 bWAR
2017 Salary: 4.7 million dollars
SnakePit Rating: 3.49
Heading into 2017, Shelby Miller was going to be a key pitcher for the Diamondbacks. After an atrocious 2016 which saw him put up a 6.15 ERA, Miller needed to right the ship in 2017. His first three starts of the year were promising: two 5.1 inning, 3 run starts, and one 7.1 inning, one run start. Then, during his April 23 start against the Dodgers, the words “forearm stiffness” appeared, and everything changed. Doctors discovered a partial tear of his UCL, and about a week later he announced that he would be undergoing Tommy John surgery. Miller had the option to try to rehab and avoid surgery; however, doctors estimated that rehab had between a 25 and 50 percent chance of working, and would have cost the 27-year-old two years if it had failed. As we all know now, Zack Godley would be called up from Reno to replace Shelby in the rotation, and filled in admirably.
In the past, Tommy John surgeries took about 12 months to recover from. With Miller’s surgery date on May 10, that would put his return date some time in mid-May. However, teams nowadays tend to be more conservative with their timetables; Patrick Corbin took about 15 months to return from his 2014 TJ surgery. I can’t help but wonder if Shelby will have a spot in the rotation when he comes back. If Greinke, Ray, Walker, Corbin, and Godley pitch like they did last year, it would be tough to make a case for Miller commandeering one of their spots. However, injuries happen; under-performance happens; baseball happens. We are way too far away from 2018 to predict what will happen with Shelby when he comes back in the second half next season. Heck, we don’t even know if Shelby Miller will be on the Diamondbacks next season. MLB Trade Rumors projects that he will make 4.9 million dollars through the arbitration process. Do the Diamondbacks pay him, or do they non-tender him? I strongly believe the Diamondbacks should pay the man, as starting pitching depth can disappear in a hurry. However, that is a decision for Mike Hazen and Co. to make.