Phillies snag highly touted prep SS Aidan Miller with 27th pick

July 10th, 2023

A few folks wondered if the Phillies might take Monsignor Bonner shortstop Kevin McGonigle in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft because he played in their own backyard.

It turns out they took somebody who played in their other backyard.

The Phillies selected J.W. Mitchell High School shortstop Aidan Miller with the 27th overall pick on Sunday night. Miller’s high school is in Trinity, Fla., which is about a 30-minute drive from Spectrum Field and Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, where Miller is expected to begin his professional baseball career.

Miller, 19, is listed at 6-foor-2, 205 pounds. He has committed to play college baseball at Arkansas, but he is expected to sign with the Phillies.

His slot’s value is listed at $2,968,800.

“The big attraction with Aidan is the bat,” Phillies amateur scouting director Brian Barber said. “He was just one of the best hitters in the country that we saw. It’s a combination of hit and power, there’s strength, there’s ability to hit the ball hard, there’s bat-to-ball skills. It’s just a guy that we walked away from last year and we just absolutely loved the bat.”

MLB Pipeline considered Miller the 13th-best prospect in the Draft. He might have fallen to the Phillies because he broke a hamate bone in his hand this year, which caused him to miss most of his senior season.

The Phillies watched Miller’s play twice this year before he broke his hand. They also attended a workout in early May, when he got cleared to play again. But the Phillies watched him play extensively last year when he won the All-American Game MVP Award and the High School Home Run Derby title during All-Star festivities at Dodger Stadium in July 2022.

Barber said he probably watched Miller play 20-25 games last summer.

Miller batted .385 (72-for-187) with 15 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 47 RBIs and a 1.176 OPS over 62 games in his first three high school seasons.

“We’re not worried about the strength, it’s already returned,” Barber said about Miller’s hand injury. “Not worried about the power, it’s already returned. Yeah, I feel really good about the player. Himself, and where the hamate and the hand is.

“He is definitely stronger than the other kids. You will definitely see the lower half strength. He might have some of the strongest legs that you’ll ever see from a high school player. That translates into the power in his game as well.”

Miller comes from a baseball family. The Rangers selected his father, Jason Miller, in the 24th round of the 1994 Draft. The Reds selected his brother, Jackson Miller, in the second round of the 2020 Draft. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Jason Miller owns Courthouse Performance Center in Oldsmar, Fla., where many local big leaguers work out in the offseason, including Mets slugger Pete Alonso.

“I think it’s always an advantage when you have that type of background, when you have people to turn to and talk to about how the game actually is and what goes on behind the scenes,” Barber said.

The Phillies want to see if Miller can stick at shortstop, although he could play anywhere on the infield. He is the first high school infielder the Phillies selected in the first round since Cornelius Randolph in 2015. He is the 17th infielder selected by the Phillies in the first round since the first Draft in 1965.

The Phillies are scheduled to make their next two selections Monday in the third round (No. 98 overall) and fourth round (No. 130 overall). They will have the 29th pick in each of the final 15 rounds (6-20).