Kevin Millwood was signed by the Yankees to provide a fallback option for the rotation and now Phil Hughes is struggling enough to make removing him from the rotation a possibility, but it doesn’t sound like Millwood will be back in the majors any time soon.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a scout who saw Millwood pitch in extended spring training and said he was “terrible.”
Of course, the same scout also said of Millwood: “Here’s a guy who used to throw 94-95. Now he’s throwing 86.”
There may have been a point when Millwood threw 94-95 miles per hour, but it hasn’t been for a very, very long time. At least a decade, in fact. During the nine seasons in which Fan Graphs has velocity data Millwood’s fastball has averaged 90.8 miles per hour and going back to 2002, when he was with the Braves, his fastball averaged 91.4 mph.
None of which makes the fact that “now he’s throwing 86” any less of an indictment of Millwood’s current abilities, but it does say something about always taking the word of scouts as gospel. Sometimes the numbers tell plenty.