Unheralded Milone Gets By With Less For A's
OAKLAND—A guy like Tommy Milone
is the reason scouts can go bald scratching their heads.
Milone, 25, lacks the velocity or big pitches that make scouts swoon.
The radar guns do not thump when he throws a fastball; his curve does
not elicit oohs and aahs. Yet Milone finds a way to thrive.
"Obviously, I'm not going to overpower people," Milone said. "But I have
the confidence that I can put the ball wherever I want, keep the ball
low, move it around when I need to. I feel like when you can do that, it
makes it a lot easier."
He is all about the artistry of pitching: hitting spots, changing eye
levels, keeping hitters off-balance. And he does it with a remarkable
poise that rarely comes with so little experience.
"Every time he goes out there, he gives you the appearance that he's
been doing it for four or five years," Athletics manager Bob Melvin
said. "He just looks like a veteran pitcher. He understands what works
for him very well, and how to attack hitters."
The 6-foot, 205-pound lefty has spent much time defying the projections.
The Nationals made him a 10th-round pick out of Southern California in
2008. He had a 16-17, 4.78 career record for the Trojans. Then came the
push through the minor leagues when he won 12 games each in 2009, '10
and '11. He succeeded at every stop, and received a September callup to
the Nats last year, when he went 1-0, 2.81 in five starts. That led the
A's to desire and acquire him in the Gio Gonzalez
The A's say there was no mystery in their desire. They saw his
achievement at Triple-A and the outstanding command, and it was enough
to see if the lefty could repeat his success at the majors. He has,
posting a 9-6, 3.34 record.
He mixes a fastball in the high 80s with a curveball, cutter and
changeup. Only the changeup would grade above-average, but the
combination of location, preparation and a feel for pitching has turned
him into a poised and effective starter in just his rookie year. He has
become an artist on the mound.
• Righthander A.J. Cole
was regaining his form after a dismal 0-7, 7.82
start to the season with high Class A Stockton. Cole was moved to low
Class A Burlington, where he had allowed one earned run or fewer in 10
of his 12 starts. He was 4-2, 2.11 for Burlington.
• Righty Graham Godfrey
reeled off nine consecutive Triple-A wins for Sacramento before taking a loss on July 22.