Miley finishes close second to Harper for NL ROY

Miley finishes close second to Harper for NL ROY

PHOENIX -- Just days before the start of the 2012 regular season, D-backs left-hander Wade Miley thought for sure he was headed to Triple-A Reno.

Not only did Miley make the team, he wound up being the team's lone All-Star representative and he capped his year by finishing second in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

The award is voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Washington's Bryce Harper won the award with 112 points, while Miley finished second with 105. Miley received 12 first-place votes to Harper's 16, but received 13 second-place votes to Harper's eight. Only one of the 32 voters left Miley out of the top three.

"It would have been a great honor, but either way I'm just glad it's over with and I can go back to my normal life," Miley said. "I was ready to get it over with and go back to being a good ole country boy, hanging out and doing some hunting."

2012 NL ROOKIE OF YEAR VOTING
Voting results for NL Rookie of the Year, conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America
Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Bryce Harper Nationals 16 8 8 112
Wade Miley D-backs 12 13 6 105
Todd Frazier Reds 3 7 9 45
Wilin Rosario Rockies 1 2 1 12
Norichika Aoki Brewers 0 2 5 11
Yonder Alonso Padres 0 0 1 1
Matt Carpenter Cardinals 0 0 1 1
Jordan Pacheco Rockies 0 0 1 1

Miley, who turns 26 on Tuesday, made his Major League debut in 2011 and appeared in eight games for the D-backs down the stretch.

After the D-backs acquired right-hander Trevor Cahill and re-signed lefty Joe Saunders in the offseason, it appeared that there would not be a job for Miley when Spring Training opened, and even after a solid spring, his chances didn't look good.

"I had my car packed to go to Reno on the last day," Miley said during the summer. "But it's baseball. It's a crazy game."

Though manager Kirk Gibson begs to differ now, it seemed the only reason Miley was able to start the year in the big leagues was because reliever Takashi Saito injured his calf a few days before the opener.

Regardless of how the opportunity came about, Miley certainly made the most of it.

As the long man in the bullpen, Miley tossed seven shutout innings to start the year, and after three relief appearances, the team shifted him to the rotation.

It was a spot Miley would not relinquish the rest of the season.

In his first 12 starts, Miley compiled a 2.09 ERA, and that proved to be good enough for him to be selected to the All-Star team.

How Miley found out he made the All-Star team illustrated both how much his teammates like him as well as how much they enjoy teasing him.

During Spring Training, the team had a daily "Words With Wade," where he would be given a word each morning that he would have to spell, give the definition of and use it in a sentence.

And he drew some ribbing in the clubhouse this season when he told his teammates he was hoping to visit Alcatraz prison while they were in San Diego. Alcatraz is of course located near San Francisco.

So on the Sunday the All-Star rosters were announced, Gibson called a team meeting after learning Miley would be on the All-Star team.

On the TV in the clubhouse were the words "Worlds With Wade," and closer J.J. Putz asked him a couple of questions.

"They asked me where Alcatraz was at," Miley said. "I told them, 'San Francisco.' They asked me, 'What state do the Kansas City Royals play in?' I got it right, I said, 'Missouri.' Everybody thought I was going to say Kansas. Then they told me to spell All-Star. I said, 'A-L-L-S-T-A-R.' And they said, 'Errrrrrr.' Then they said my name. That's how they told me."

Though he tapered off somewhat in the second half, Miley's numbers were still very impressive. He finished his first full big league campaign with a 16-11 record to go with a 3.33 ERA.

According to Fangraphs, Miley finished 2012 with a 4.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) mark, the highest by a rookie pitcher since Hideo Nomo had a 4.9 WAR in 1995.

"I wasn't even sure I was going to make the team," Miley said. "It was all a big shock and then baseball is crazy, and I was fortunate enough to have a pretty good year and then I got my name up for this award. It was a great experience."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.