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Scouting Cardinals Draft Pick Shelby Miller

June 18, 2009 BY ALEX EISENBERG 3 Comments

After looking at two other top right handed prep pitching prospects in Zack Wheeler and Jacob Turner, we take a look at one more: Shelby Miller.

Shelby Miller | RHP | Brownwood High School in Texas | Drafted By – St. Louis Cardinals

Label – High Risk, High Reward Pick

Signability – Doesn’t have any signability issues that I know of…

*Edited on 6/22 – Erik Manning of Future Redbirds informs me that Miller does in fact have some signability issues and might be asking for a $4 million signing bonus. Still, Miller is expected to sign when all is said and done.

Body Type – Very projectable…his frame looks like it could add a significant amount of muscle

Stuff

Fastball – Miller’s bread-and-butter pitch. His four-seamer sits in the 93 – 95 range and he’ll occasionally bump it up to 96 or 97. The pitch has tremendous life and explodes out of his hand…excellent arm-side run. Miller also has a two-seamer that sinks…he throws the pitch at lower velocities, typically in the 89 – 92 mph range.

Curveball – Big breaking, 12-to-6 curveball in the mid-70′s…flashes above average, maybe even plus potential, but it’s very inconsistent…the break is sharp and has the appearance of a fastball coming out of his hand…needs to throw it more as he’ll abandon the pitch early if it’s not working for him…has problems throwing it for strikes consistently. You can see both his fastball and curveball below:

shelby-miller-fastballshelby-miller-curve
*Credit to the MLB Scouting Bureau

Now, you can see Miller’s curveball is not of the power-type where it travels on the same plane as the fastball, but in how it comes out of the hand and the intent in which Miller throws the pitch, the hitter usually reacts to the pitch like they react to his fastball. The one issue I see here is that Miller’s arm slot is slightly higher when throwing the curveball, but I’ve seen other video that shows both pitches coming from the same arm slot, so I’m not sure that’s a big concern at the moment.

Change-Up – Only recently has Miller started using a change-up, so at this point it’s rudimentary at best.

Mechanics

shelby-miller
*Credit to the MLB Scouting Bureau

Very clean and simple delivery…compact and athletic with a short arm action. Notice how Miller sits on his back leg and how Miller’s torso will bend over slightly as he breaks his hands. This enables Miller to generate the necessary torque between his hips and torso. By bending his upper body and then basically popping back up just before foot plant, Miller is also better able to stretch the elastic muscles and tendons in the shoulder region because in my mind, it improves his range of motion. Keep in mind the pitch above is a warm-up toss and not thrown with the usual intent Miller throws with.

Miller’s front side mechanics: not bad, not great. His finish is probably his worst mechanical attribute…he’s a little short with it. He doesn’t give his arm the most room possible to decelerate.

I do think Miller has more velocity left in the tank. I could see him increasing his stride length just slightly in order to get even more oomph on his fastball.

Other Notes

Miller has mostly relied on his fastball to overwhelm hitters at the high school ranks. He’ll have to learn how to mix his pitches effectively.

Command has always been a sore spot for Miller, but his overall stuff has made-up for the inconsistency he’s shown. His repeatable delivery lends itself to solid control, so it’s something that should improve with experience.

Best Case Outcome – Front of the rotation starter

More Likely Outcome – Not quite sure yet…he’s somebody that could wind up as middle of the rotation starter or even end up in the bullpen should he not find a quality change-up or develop more consistent command. Nevertheless, Miller’s upside is undeniable and to get him at 19 is a true coup for the Cardinals.

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