Jordan Milbrath named Pitcher of the Month for July

Milbrath is a prospect for the Indians

Named Pitcher of the Month for July

Springfield’s Jordan Milbrath was named Pitcher of the Month (July) by the Cleveland Indians. 

“When looking at everything such as run prevention, strikeout / walk rates and so on, the best performance ended up coming from Low-A Lake County Captains’ right-hander Jordan Milbrath,” writes Tony Lastoria, editor-in-chief, in Indians Baseball Insider. Lastoria’s story follows: 

Milbrath, who just turned 24 years old this week, is an older player in Low-A. In normal circumstances that would be a significant ding to his prospect value since older players playing in the lower levels is a strong sign of low prospect value since they are not progressing either by organization choice or because of performance / development issues to go along with limited upside due to age. But Milbrath is in some ways the exception considering how inexperienced he was coming out of the draft in 2013. While he has spent the last two seasons in Lake County and is older, he’s still building a foundation with his mechanics, working to be more consistent with his stuff and is working to refine his command.

So far this season Milbrath is 3-9 with a 4.93 ERA and in 107.2 innings has allowed 133 hits, 13 homers, 34 walks and has 103 strikeouts. While the numbers may not be catchy to the eye at first glance, there are things that go deeper than the numbers that show a pitcher who is making progress. He’s been a bit unlucky with the hits (.368 BABIP) so that is something that has helped inflate his ERA a little, but what is truly impressive is the significant improvement in his walk rate from last year (3.5 BB/9) to this year (2.8 BB/9) and his strikeout rate from last year (5.5 K/9) to this year (8.6 K/9). Those are some impressive improvements in the swing and miss as well as the command departments, which have helped double his strikeout to walk ratio from last year (1.57 K/BB) to this year (3.03 K/BB).

So what is so impressive about a 24-year old showing improvement in a repeat year at Low-A? For one, the stuff is noticeable as he features a fastball that routinely sits in the low 90s and is up to 95 MPH with good life and the potential to be more. He also has a chance for two average secondary offerings with his curveball and changeup. In addition to the stuff, what is really intriguing is his size where with his 6-feet-6 frame and long arm span he really leverages hitters well and gets his ball on a nice downward plane. He can be tough to lift the ball against because of that and he’s had some nice groundball rates as a result (career 1.28 GO/AO). He has also proven to be rather durable as he’s already logged over 100 innings this season and should end up with around 135 innings when all is said and done this season.

With the ability to get swing and miss, some projection still to his stuff, the ability to get a groundball and some durability, you can see why Milbrath is a prospect for the Indians. The connection point will now be how he puts it all together and how he does at High-A Lynchburg next year. In the end, he could very well be a late bloomer who was mined out of nowhere in South Dakota who proves to be a solid middle to backend starting pitcher, and if he struggles to develop his changeup could then find a home in the bullpen.

Milbrath is the son of Dave and Lori Milbrath of Springfield.