Jobu’s back with the Rookie Spotlight Series. This time, he finally profiles a pitcher!
I noticed today that I have only profiled hitters so far in my Rookie Spotlight series. As Greg Maddux once said, chicks dig the long ball, but that still hardly seems fair of me. Pitchers are people too! Anyway, here’s our first pitching candidate for the spotlight. He’s the Cardinals top pitching prospect, and he was recently named their fifth starter. Meet 22-year old Shelby Miller.
Miller, a native of Brownwood, Texas, was the Cards’ first round pick out of Brownwood High School in 2009. He climbed the system steadily, spending 2010 at Quad Cities (A ball) and 2011 at Palm Beach (A+) and Springfield (AA). His 2012 stint in AAA was interesting. He only compiled an 11-10 record with a 4.74 ERA and 1.376 WHIP, but struck out 160 batters in just 136.2 innings. Overall, it was enough to get him a September call up, and he pitched very well, mostly out of relief. In 13.2 innings, he allowed only two earned runs and struck out 16 while walking only 4.
When you combine that with the solid spring he’s had, and the fact that the Cardinals have lost Kyle Lohse (injury) and Chris Carpenter (career ending injury), the Cardinals needed to fill at least one rotation spot. Miller beat out Joe Kelly (who did a good job filling in for Carpenter last season, and will join Adam Wainwright (who recently signed a 5-year, $97MM extension), Jamie García, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn in the big league rotation.
What can we expect from Miller? He was once known for his blow away fastball and lack of control. It seems that, when he was called up last year, he was sitting more in the high 80s and low 90s, rather than the mid-to-high 90s heat he was known for coming up through the ranks. It could be that he’s sacrificing some speed for control, or he could just be experiencing something that seems to be happening to a lot of young pitchers lately. Sometimes guys just lose velocity. It hasn’t really hurt him this spring, however, as he is 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA and clearly impressed the Cards enough.
I think, by the time all is said and done, Miller will be in the conversation for Rookie of the year. That’s really all we can ask for for the Rookie Spotlight Series, right?
Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press
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