Mikolas grew up in Jupiter, Florida as a fan of the Marlins. Jupiter is where the Marlins have spring training.
After pitching for Jupiter High School, Miles played through his junior year at Nova Southeastern University in South Florida, where he ranked fourth all-time with 167 career strikeouts and fifth with 32 games started.
In 2009, Mikolas got drafted by the Padres (see Transactions).
In 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Mikolas as the 16th-best prospect in the Padres organization. They had him at #25 in the spring of 2013.
THE LIZARD KING
To square up on clubhouse dues, Miles accepted the $250 dare waged by Padres teammates and downed a live lizard, swallowing it with a large gulp of cold Mountain Dew. It went almost-viral on YouTube.
Mikolas said, "We were joking around in the bullpen and one thing led to another and there was some money on the line so … you know. I’m a little bit fearless. Even eating a lizard won’t turn me away. Hopefully, I can open their eyes a little bit more.”
Mikolas is also known as "Lizard King." And it's not because he's a huge Doors fan. No, it's because he ate an actual live lizard while in the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Padres. And he washed it down with a Mountain Dew.
Miles pitched for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan for three years, posting a great 31-13 record with a 2.18 ERA ion 62 starts.
The last time Miles pitched in the Majors, then-Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux helped send him on a path that has come full circle. After spending three years in Japan, Mikolas is set to start the 2018 season in the Cardinals' rotation, with Maddux as his pitching coach.
"I really like their philosophy and everything they're all about here," Mikolas said. "I think they scouted me pretty heavily over there, you know, they've got some great scouts over there. They're there every year and they're watching other guys, and Spring Training in my hometown, coaches I'm familiar with, great support staff, great players, great team. They kind of checked off all the boxes."
"The time we spent in Texas was brief, you know, maybe two months," Maddux said. "And just the evolution I saw in those two months, he threw a lot, it was really big overall in mechanics, how to throw the baseball, and that was really what we worked on. In his last start for the Rangers he went eight shutout, so we were getting on the right track.
"And then he went to Japan and continued to do what we worked on and he really found his niche. I think he grew up, got married, a little responsibility, has a child -- that'll make you grow quickly and I think that's what Miles has done. He's grown as a man and as a person and he's carried that onto the baseball field." (Farrell - mlb.com - 3/27/18)
Miles' wife, Lauren, spent the 2015-17 baseball seasons in Japan with her husband, They were married in January, 2015.
"We had been on our honeymoon for just two days when his agent reached ot with the prospect of a job across the Pacific," Lauren Mikolas said. "And he said, 'I need to know in 24 hours, so call me back.'
"The move meant quitting my job as a teacher. (But) we found ourselves saying yes -- again -- to a new adventure.
"In Japan, they're fascinated by anything in the 'now' of pop culture. And I, apparently, was having a moment. It seemed every week I was calling to tell my family about a new opportunity. UFC ring girl. Under Armour women's ambassador. A Japanese publisher turned my blog, 'Fearless Charm,' into a book.
"I became a spokesperson for health supplements produced by a Japanese company. I went on Japanese TV shows," Lauren said.
June 2009: Miles was the Padres 7th round pick, out of Nova Southeastern University, an NCAA Division II program in Davie, Florida. Rob Sidwell is the scout who inked Miles to a $125,000 contract.
November 25, 2013: The Pirates sent OF Alex Dickerson to the Padres, acquiring Mikolas and Jaff Decker.
December 30, 2013: The Rangers sent 1B Chris McGuiness to the Pirates, acquiring Miles.
- Dec 5, 2017: The Cardinals signed free agent Mikolas after he pitched successfully in Japan for several years. He received $15.5 million for a two-year contract.
|Birth City:||Jupiter, FL|
|Draft:||Padres #7 - 2008 - Out of Nova Southeastern Univ. (FL)|
Mikolas has two plus pitches: a 91-96 mph FASTBALL and a hard downer 74-77 mph 12-to-6 CURVEBALL that features tight rotation, plus an 87-88 mph power SLIDER that he learned from Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman in 2014. He lacks feel for his CHANGEUP.
Miles' heater doesn't have much life, so a good hitter can turn it around if it catches too much of the plate. But his hammer curve keeps hitters uneasy. The key for him: get that big curve in the strike zone.
Miles made his Major League debut on May 5, 2012, coming out of the Padres' bullpen to face the Marlins, his favorite team while growing up in Jupiter, Florida, where the Marlins have spring training.
Mikolas' debut ended better than it started. He served up a solo homer to Giancarlo Stanton, the first batter he faced, before walking Gaby Sanchez and retiring the next three batters. He struck out John Buck and Jose Reyes.
“Could have went better, could have went worse,” said Mikolas, who attended Jupiter High School. “I settled down and made some really good pitches there toward the end. One bad pitch. Right after he hit the home run I was like, ‘Well, you know, there it is. Welcome to the Major Leagues. Gotta get outs.’”
- At the start of the 2015 season, Mikolas' career record was 4-6 with a 5.32 ERA. He had allowed 12 home runs and 96 hits in 91 innings in his Major League career.
- 2016-18 Improvements : Mikolas used to throw a four-seamer, two-seamer, curveball, slider and changeup, the same repertoire that he features to this day. That’s where the similarities end. Mikolas 1.0 pitched out of the stretch at all times. That could have come from his history as a reliever, or as an effort to simplify his delivery, but it’s a significant difference from modern Mikolas, who uses a full windup with no one on base. He also used to set up on the extreme first-base side of the rubber, whereas now he’s more or less right down the middle.
The next difference isn’t quite so obvious, but it’s just as important. Old Mikolas threw almost straight over the top. He still has a high release point, partially because he’s 6’ 5”, but his arm is further away from his body, closer to a three-quarters angle when he delivers the pitch.
- July 21, 2013: Mikolas was on the D