First things first: Tom Milone would prefer that you call him Tommy. He's been Tommy since a young age - probably because it's a better fit with his father, Tony - and he's always stuck with it. So we'll refer to him here as Tommy Milone.
It sounds like a character from a 1950s Broadway musical, but you might want sure you commit that name to memory. While it's far from a lock that the 24-year-old left-hander will be in the Nationals' future rotations, he does plenty of the things that the team likes to see in its young pitchers.
Listed at a generous 6-foot-1, Milone will rarely throw harder than 90 mph. But he doesn't walk people, and gave up few homers in the minors. He's unafraid to throw inside against right-handed batters - he forced Carlos Lee into a harmless pop-up on an inside fastball with runners on first and second in the fourth inning Friday night - and he has a keen sense of what he needs to do better.
He'll have to beat out some talented young pitchers to be in the Nationals' rotation next year. But efficient, low-maintenance pitchers have a way of endearing themselves to Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty.
In many ways, Milone is a lot like John Lannan, who lockers next to him and follows him in the rotation. Both were middle-round draft picks who get by on well-placed fastballs, and Milone said he intends to use Lannan as a resource as long as he's around.
That's not to say that Milone doesn't have plenty to learn in the majors. He got nicked for a pair of runs in the fourth and the sixth innings, after struggling in the fifth inning of his major league debut, and hitters have 1.132 and 1.500 OPSes the second and third times through the lineup, after posting a .305 OPS against him the first time through.
"I'm able to get to two strikes and the second time through, I can't really put them away, it seems like," Milone said. "I'm moreso leaving the ball over the plate. I need to do a little bit better job of leaving the zone when I need to at two strikes."
But he's been unafraid to pursue hitters, sticking with the same philosophy he used in the minors. That grit on the mound is something the Nationals saw with Lannan, and it might help Milone stick with the Nationals.
"He has been the same guy. He always gets outs and never walks anybody," said first baseman Chris Marrero, who played with Milone the last three years in the minors. "He is awesome, man. I love playing behind him."