Thursday, June 11, 2020

Welcome to the Blue, Bobby Miller!

Last night the Dodgers added another arm to their stable of high-end pitching prospects when they drafted University of Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller with the 29th pick. He is 21-years-old, stands a tall 6' 5" and bats as a lefty. Miller had also been previously drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, out of high school (McHenry, IL), in the 38th round in 2017. Per a Dodger press release:
Miller, 21, made four starts for the Cardinals in 2020, going 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA (6 ER/23.1 IP) with 34 strikeouts against nine walks. He tallied three quality starts in four chances, striking out a career-high 12 batters over 6.2 innings on February 22 against Valparaiso University. 
In 2018, the McHenry, IL native earned Freshman All-America honors and was selected All-ACC Third Team and All-ACC Freshman Team after going 6-1 with a 2.97 ERA (22 ER/66.2 IP) and 55 strikeouts over 17 games (nine starts). In three seasons with Louisville, he recorded a 15-2 record with a 3.28 ERA (62 ER/170 IP) with 175 strikeouts in 41 appearances (25 games).
“Tremendous night for the Dodgers and we are ecstatic to select Bobby,” said Vice President of Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. “He’s a very talented pitcher with huge upside that we are looking forward to developing into a quality Major League pitcher.  His work ethic and character will fit in well with our current culture.” 
He was a four-year letter winner at McHenry High School West Campus and was selected in 38th round of 2017 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles before electing to attend the University of Louisville. He finished his senior season with a 0.80 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 52 innings and was a Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American.
You can follow Bobby on twitter here: @BMilled15. Watch him get the call below, via Bobby Miller on twitter:
Bobby Miller is regarded as a power pitcher who consistently throws in the high-90's -- with heavy, sinking life. Secondary pitches include a slider that touches 90 and misses bats, a changeup/splitter and a work-in-progress curveball. Control has been his biggest stumbling-block, but recent adjustments on the mound appear to have righted the ship. Worse comes to worst, if his control goes sideways he'll end up being a great addition to the bullpen.

Watch the official announcement from the Dodgers on twitter below:
Below are some notes, news and scouting reports related to Miller:
Louisville has recruited well in Illinois for years and landed both Miller and Reid Detmers from the Prairie State in 2017. A 38th-round pick that June by the Orioles, Miller moved into the Cardinals' weekend rotation last March as a sophomore and has boosted his stock since. He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of an NCAA super-regional playoff against East Carolina and wowed scouts with his velocity and slider during fall practice. 
Miller's fastball is notable for both its heat -- he sat at 95-96 mph throughout his dominance of East Carolina and worked at 97-99 in shorter stints in the fall -- and its heavy life. He also can miss bats with a slider/cutter that usually operates at 85-87 and reached 90 during the fall. He has faith in a splitter/changeup with similar velocity and employs a more traditional change in the low 80s. 
With his strong 6-foot-5 frame, Miller has no difficulty maintaining his stuff into the late innings. However, there's effort in his delivery that limits his control and has some scouts wondering if he's destined to be a reliever in the long run. After maintaining his improved stuff and doing a better job of throwing strikes during the brief 2020 season, he could join Detmers in the first round.
This is just a good value pick for the Dodgers here. I’ve said it before in chats and whatnot: Miller is a great example of this draft’s depth because he is so much like 2019 Cubs first rounder Ryan Jensen (long arm action, upper-90s that he holds deep in games, goes right at hitters) except his secondary stuff is better.
Miller was putting together his best season yet before college baseball was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic, posting a 2.31 ERA with 34 strikeouts across 23 1/3 innings in his first four starts. That included a career-high 12 strikeouts in a win against Valparaiso on Feb. 22.
There are a few things that could be concerning with Bobby Miller beyond just the mechanics that could push him to the bullpen. His track record as a starting pitcher is short, so there are some questions about how the stuff holds up over the long haul of even a college season as a starter because he’s never shown it. In his time at Louisville his control wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t exactly good, either. There’s some real “future reliever” risk here.
Miller’s calling card is a mid-90s fastball with lots of life. It has boring and sinking action to righties and runs away from lefties. It also has flirted with triple-digit velocity in his shorter outings. He backs it up with a slider/cutter hybrid that misses plenty of bats. It’s a pitch that’ll need to be refined at the next level, but it could be a good one. He also employs a splitter/changeup hybrid that I liken to Tony Gonsolin‘s. It isn’t that good, but it at least gives him a usable third pitch in hopes of neutralizing lefties. He also has a traditional changeup that’s a low-80s pitch.
  • video -- Dodgers first-round selection Bobby Miller and director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino talk about the first pick:

Video Link:
In 2015, Illinois native Bobby Miller was in Los Angeles playing in Area Code Underclass Games — a showcase for the elite high school players in the nation. Miller told his father that one of the sights he had to see while he was in LA was Dodger Stadium.
“He took me to a Dodgers game, so I was in the first row in right field, and I was thinking, ‘I would love to play here one day. This is my dream,’” Miller recalled on Wednesday night after the completion of the first round of the MLB Draft. “I was like, it can’t get any better than this. This is my dream. If I could pick one team, if I had the choice, this would be the one.”

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