Royals' pick Miller impresses with raw power
KANSAS CITY -- The road for center fielder Anderson Miller becoming the Royals' third-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft was one almost not traveled.
While Miller was an immediate starter for Western Kentucky during his freshman season in 2013, he tore his labrum after just 19 starts and was forced to miss the rest of the season.
But as proved when he heard his name called on Tuesday afternoon, Miller continued to work and take advantage of opportunities that helped him reach the next level.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m. CT.
"It's been a long road coming back from tearing my labrum my freshman year," Miller said. "Getting the invite to play in the Cape Cod League last summer, that was big. This season it all came together for me."
Following a breakout sophomore year that earned him second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and a spot in the Cape Cod League, Miller dazzled scouts for the Hilltoppers in 2015.
In the outfield, Miller showed athleticism and quickness with his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, making only one error on the season.
What really drew eyes, though, was Miller's raw power at the plate -- a surprise from someone coming so shortly off a shoulder injury.
By the end of the season, Miller ranked in the conference's top 10 in home runs (12), runs scored (47), walks (41), triples (three), slugging percentage (.560), total bases (108) and on-base percentage (.419).
"For the most part, I'm just reacting," Miller said of his plate approach, which helped elevate him to first-team All-Conference USA honors this season -- Western Kentucky left the Sun Belt Conference in July 2014.
The hype for his future grew more real for Miller when he traveled around to numerous Major League stadiums for pre-Draft workouts, including Kauffman Stadium. He still remembers seeing the Crown scoreboard in the outfield and what it felt like to step into a big league clubhouse.
"It's a step up from being in a college locker room, that's for sure," Miller said.
Although, none of it actually became real until Tuesday when he received a call prior to the Royals announcing their pick.
"When they went to pick it, I double-taked, then I jumped up and started cheering," Miller said.
As for what Kansas City can expect from him in the coming months, Miller really only had one way to describe himself after persevering through an injury that once threatened to derail his baseball future.
"Consistency is what I would say," Miller said. "You know what you're going to get from me day in and day out."