After pitching in Japan for three seasons after originally struggling to get his career off the ground in the major leagues, the Cardinals signed Miles Mikolas to a two-year deal last offseason, and following a season in which he finished sixth in the National League Cy Young voting, the team has given him a four-year extension worth $68 million. The deal also includes a $5 million signing bonus that will be stretched out over the next five seasons as his new contract will not kick in until next season.
Mikolas experienced a career renaissance this past season, using very good control, posting a K/BB rate of 5.03, which was way up from the 2.11 that he posted in 2014, which was his last season in the major leagues before going over to Japan. His walks/nine innings of 1.3 also led the major leagues among qualifying pitchers.
Not only was he doing a great job of keeping the ball in the strike zone, but he was throwing good strikes, allowing 49.3% of the batted balls against him to be ground balls and overall he allowed majority medium contact as opposed to hard contact.
His FIP was a decent amount higher than his ERA, signifying that he could be set for somewhat of a down slide if the defense behind him is not great. With him not being a heavy strikeout pitcher he does rely a lot on the defense behind him.
Overall though, the 30-year old should be set up for another good season, assuming he is able to keep the ball out of the middle of the zone. This is somewhat of a gamble for the Cardinals simply because he is 30-years old and will be 31 before seasons end, plus he only has one season under his belt since coming back from Japan, and while he was very good in Japan, he doesn’t have a large sample size of pitching in the majors since being back.
The St. Louis organization is around him every day however and they see how he works and must be very confident in giving him this new deal.