Left-handed pitcher McKenzie Mills
This season was the first time the Phillies veteran flipping strategy actually worked for them. They were able to complete three deadline deals to, including one that sent Howie Kendrick to the Nationals. In return, Washington sent back 21-year-old lefty McKenzie Mills.
The Nationals drafted Mills in the 18th round back in 2014. He struggled with control in his first three minor-league seasons, but he took a major step forward this season. Mills walked just 1.6 batters per nine innings this season in 21 starts. He was tremendous in Low-A Potomac with a 3.01 ERA, 28.4 percent strikeout rate, and 0.95 WHIP in 18 starts. After being traded he went to High-A Clearwater, where he didn’t walk a single batter in three starts. He did wind up with a 4.60 ERA in Clearwater but a much better 2.29 fielding-independent pitching.
While Mills had much better control this season, his arsenal doesn’t really stand out. His best pitch is an above-average changeup, while his fastball sits between 88-92 miles per hour. There’s a curveball in there too, but it doesn’t have the hard break to even make it an average pitch. Thanks to his newfound control Mills might be able to make it as a back-end starter, but he doesn’t have much room for error.