10 things to know about Dodgers' top pick Miller

Louisville righty features upper-90s heat

June 11th, 2020

The Dodgers selected Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2020 Draft. Here are 10 facts you should know about MLB Pipeline's 26th-ranked Draft prospect.

• Miller ranks among the hardest throwers in this year’s Draft, featuring two fastballs -- a four-seamer and a sinking two-seamer -- that sit in the upper-90s and maintain their velocity late into starts. That heat is complemented by a slider that occasionally touches 90 mph, a split-change with similar speed and a more traditional changeup in the low 80s.

• Miller's biggest game for the Cardinals came in last year’s NCAA Super Regional matchup against East Carolina. The righty carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning before finally allowing a single, dominating the Pirates in a 12-0 victory that punched Louisville’s ticket to the College World Series. Miller was still hitting 95 mph on the radar gun in the final inning. Hours later, Kumar Rocker would twirl a historic 19-strikeout no-hitter for Vanderbilt.

• Miller was born in Elk Grove Village, Ill., outside of Chicago, and he grew up as a huge Cubs fan. Elk Grove is also the birthplace of a pretty famous Cubs fan: Billy Corgan. The Smashing Pumpkins’ lead man has been a fixture at Wrigley Field for decades, and he memorably sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.

• Miller and fellow top prospect Reid Detmers (the Angels' top pick at No. 10 overall), are Louisville’s sixth and seventh first-round Draft picks in school history -- and they are the third and fourth pitchers in that group, following Kyle Funkhouser (2015, Dodgers) and Zack Burdi (2016, White Sox). The last school to see multiple pitchers taken in the first round of a single Draft was the University of Florida in 2018 (Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar).

• 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.

• Miller recorded just two losses in 41 total appearances across three seasons at Louisville, including 25 starts.

• With his premium velocity, Miller might have had a higher Draft stock coming out of McHenry-West (Ill.) High School, but a torn meniscus in his right knee forced him to undergo surgery a week before the 2017 Draft. The Orioles selected him in the 38th round that year, but he declined to attend Louisville instead, citing the Cardinals as the program he wanted to play for growing up. In fact, Miller didn’t visit any other schools or entertain other scholarship offers before he committed to Louisville as a high school sophomore.

• Miller was the first McHenry player to be drafted straight out of high school, and the school boasts just one former Major Leaguer: second baseman Chuck Hiller, who played in parts of eight seasons with the Giants, Mets, Pirates and Phillies. Miller is now hoping to be McHenry’s second big league alum.

Hiller hit in either the leadoff or second slot for the Giants in all seven games of their loss to the Yankees in the 1962 World Series. In Game 4 at Yankee Stadium, Hiller, who finished his career with just 20 regular-season home runs, belted a grand slam that broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh, spurring the Giants to a 7-3 victory.

• Miller was ahead of the curve, making McHenry’s varsity team as a freshman and posting a 2.40 ERA in his first season. He only got better from there, finishing his senior season with a 0.83 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 59 innings.

• There was initially some two-way buzz around Miller when he was a third baseman/pitcher at McHenry, before he focused solely on pitching at Louisville. He finished his senior high school season with a .375 average and 27 RBIs while hitting in the No. 2 hole.