Miller's bat coming as advertised in Single-A

May 18th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Phillies drafted in the first round last summer, they could not say enough about him as a hitter.

Through one month of his first full season in pro ball, it's easy to see why.

Miller has dominated with Single-A Clearwater, teeing off on opposing pitchers to the tune of a .333/.422/.570 slash line with 14 extra-base hits (four home runs and 10 doubles) in 23 games. The 19-year-old prospect came out of the gates strong after hitting just .216 without a home run in a brief 10-game stint with the Threshers last season.

Miller's hot start has turned heads both within the organization and beyond. He moved up to the No. 2 spot in the latest Phillies' Top 30 prospects list, released earlier this week by MLB Pipeline. He also checked in as the No. 49 overall prospect across baseball.

“The big attraction with Aidan is the bat,” Phillies assistant GM of amateur scouting Brian Barber said after the club drafted him last season. “He was just one of the best hitters in the country that we saw."

It's unlikely Miller would have even fallen to Philadelphia at the No. 27 pick had it not been for a hand injury he sustained in the months leading up to the 2023 Draft. Miller was ranked the No. 13 Draft prospect, per MLB Pipeline, but he missed most of his senior season due to a broken hamate bone.

That did not deter the Phillies -- and they're reaping the benefits early in his career.

Miller's power was on full display when he won the All-American Game MVP and Home Run Derby during MLB's 2022 All-Star break in Los Angeles. And while some teams might have had some concern that the injury may have zapped some of that power, Miller has resumed crushing the ball with a seemingly effortless swing.

Entering Friday night, Miller had registered six tracked hits with an exit velocity of at least 105 mph. Only one player in Single-A -- 24-year-old teammate -- has more such tracked hits (eight).

But Miller is also far from a one-dimensional player. He has 13 stolen bases in 33 career games with Clearwater, all while exclusively playing a solid defensive shortstop. There has been speculation that the Phillies could mix in some reps at third base with a potential future move in mind, but he's played well enough to this point that he's been a fixture at shortstop.

Let's take a look at what else is going on with the Phillies' other affiliates:

Triple-A Lehigh Valley: 's prospect days are far behind him, but he earned a mention here after hitting for the cycle on Wednesday -- in a seven-inning game, no less. Playing in the first game of a doubleheader at Norfolk, Dahl went 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, a homer and two RBIs in a 4-3 win.

On the prospect side, (Philadelphia's No. 11 prospect) has had mixed results in his new bullpen role. Not surprisingly, McGarry's strikeout stuff has still played in relief, as he's racked up 24 strikeouts in just 16 2/3 innings. That said, control continues to be an issue as he's also walked 11 batters and carries a 1.50 WHIP, though he’s limited the damage (3.24 ERA).

Double-A Reading: The Phillies are still waiting for 's bat to come around this season. The club's No. 13 prospect is slashing .156/.230/.244 (.474 OPS) with two home runs in 25 games this season. He's struck out 40 times in 90 at-bats. There was some hope that his two-homer game on May 9 against Hartford would get De La Cruz going, but he’s gone just 2-for-23 (.087) with 13 strikeouts in six games since.

High-A Jersey Shore: Left-hander continues to stifle opposing hitters, though he's run into some command issues over his past couple starts. After allowing just two earned runs over 28 innings in his first five starts this season, Aldegheri was tagged for four runs over four innings on Wednesday. He's allowed only 13 hits while striking out 37 in 32 innings, but he's also walked five batters in each of his past two starts.