Sometimes players just play better behind certain pitchers. How else can to you explain that Kyle Kendrick has won 20 games and Cole Hamels has won only 17 games over the last two seasons? Yes, Hamels peripheries are way better but it sure did not show up in the win column.
The Phillies have another pitcher in the minor league system who all he does is win. Lefty, Hoby Milner has won 22 games in the last two season while going 12-7 in 25 starts for Clearwater in 2013 and 10-6 in 25 starts for Reading last year. That’s the most wins of any pitcher in the Phillies system over the last two seasons including their $23 million dollar a year ace, Cole Hamels. He has compiled a 29-16 record since being drafted in the seventh round out of the University of Texas in 2012 where he was a relief pitcher in 31 of his 34 games that season.
I will miss Kyle Kendrick. No, it was not because we went to the same barber shop in Dunedin Fl. where his jersey used to hang on the shop’s wall but because he was a ground ball gamer when he was first called up.
I remember him throwing a compete game to Chris Coste, catching him in Reading at the time back in 2007. The next thing that happened next he was called up to join the Phillies starting rotation to replace the injured Freddy Garcia. Kyle had a 1.47 GO/AO ratio the rest of the MLB season. I called it the Kendrick line for if any pitcher could throw sinkers and get ground balls at that ratio or better he could win at CBP even with average stuff.
Kendrick would end the 07 season at 10-4 in the Phillies rotation; start a game in Colorado in the playoffs and wind up fifth in ROY voting, tops for a pitcher that season.
Milner on the other hand is a fly ball pitcher. He has a career 0.71 GO/AO ratio in his three season in the Phillies system. Reading’s ballpark has short walls and the flags that fly there always seem to be pointing out of the stadium. Hoby gave up 25 home runs, including 18 at home, in his 25 starts last year. He finished strong going 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA including a nine inning, three hit shutout in his five August starts. In 2013 in the Florida State League he gave up only 11 homers in the same number of innings and starts. See Here.
If Hoby is to be effective this is how he must do it as he described how he did it in his three hit, nine inning, complete game, 98 pitch, 1-0 shutout:
“I was throwing my fastball for strikes and I had all five of my pitches working. I was getting early contact and that was huge for me. I watched Daisuke [Matsuzaka] pitch against us the night before. Six innings, 60-something pitches and he was getting early contact, bad contact. That was great to watch. You see that and say, ‘That’s how it’s supposed to be done.'”
We wish Kendrick well pitching for the Rockies this season. We hope Milner can keep up his winning record this season at AAA.