Sunday, June 8, 2014

Random Prospect Sunday: Jarrett Miller

Today, with the help of random.org, we focus on current Hillcats right-hander Jarrett Miller. A transfer to UNC-Greensboro from USC-Lancaster, Miller pitched in 28 games with the Spartans while picking up four starts. He struck out over a batter an inning, but only had a 1.45 WHIP. Nevertheless, the Braves took Miller in the 21st round as the 656th overall pick and signed the 21 year-old to his professional contract.
Pitching out of the bullpen, Miller appeared in eleven games with the Danville Braves and dominated the APPY League hitters, striking out 36 in 20.1 innings with a 1.18 WHIP. By pitching so effectively, Miller was rewarded with a stop in Rome to finish the season. He was far more hittable there, though.

Injuries limited Miller to just 50.1 ING in 2012, but he started his first seven professional games. Still, control, which dogged him the previous season, remained an issue with 5.36 BB/9. He still struck out over a batter an inning, though.

Promoted to start 2013 with the Hillcats, Miller was an effective pitcher for Lynchburg. With other righties A.J. Holland and Greg Ross, Miller was part of a trio that pitched at least 120 innings. Miller led the team with 147 innings and his 122 strikeouts was the fifth most in the Carolina League. He also hit the second-most batters (14) and uncorked a league-high 16 wild pitches. Nevertheless, Miller took the ball every fifth day and more times than not, gave his team a chance to win.

Normally, such a season would be rewarded with a promotion, but with guys like J.R. Graham and Aaron Northcraft repeating Mississippi, the available room was minimal for Miller so he continues to pitch for the 'Cats. In 13 games this season, including 12 starts, Miller has not been nearly as effective. Most of his numbers are nearly the same as far as HR/9, BB/9, or K/9 goes, but he has been more hittable. That has led to more runs scoring and less opportunities to impress.

Miller's velocity sits in the high 80's, low 90's, though he has been known to hit 95 mph as a reliever. He also has a good breaking ball to keep batters off-balance. When his change-up is on, it makes him all the more difficult to hit. However, as a 21st rounder, his future was already limited and disappointing play this season when he's repeating the Carolina League won't help him rise in the minds of the organization. Still, there is some potential here and he can get some groundballs from his heavy fastball. Similar to Northcraft, a guy probably blocking him from a promotion, his future might be better suited as a reliever who can either come in to try to induce a twin killing or pitch a couple of innings if needed. He also could spot start if the situation demanded.

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