Sunday, January 29, 2012

Florida State League Prospect

By Corey R. Cunningham

Today’s Florida State League Prospect is young right-hander Shelby Miller of the St. Louis Cardinals. Shelby was drafted by St. Louis 19th overall, out of high school, in the 2009 June MLB Draft. St. Louis must have seen something special in this youngster, as they usually do not go after high school players too often.

I have heard several things about Millers position with the Cardinals, either, he is a future closer, or perhaps stick him in the rotation. Whatever they decide, he will produce in either role. He has a plus fastball, which will reach mid 90’s, although on occasion will hit upper 90’s. His curveball has a very nice 12-6 curveball, at which times are better than others, but the pitch has improved. His change-up could use some work, with a little difficulty locating on the corners. He has a decent array of a 3-pitch sequence, which will need upgraded.

Miller has a smooth delivery, with a release point that is very consistent. He stands on the mound at approximately 6’3” in height; however, his right leg kick would make you think otherwise. He raises his right leg only belt high, but he has excellent balance.

Miller spent the entire 2010 season at “A” ball with Quad Cities pitching in 24 games. He finished the season with a 3.62 ERA, pitching a total of 104 innings. He gave up a few less hits (97) than innings pitched, better yet, he struck out (140) more than innings pitched, which brought his K/9 to 12.1 for the year. He would need to improve on his H/9 allowed, where he gave up 8.4.

Promoted in 2011 to high A Palm Beach, Miller only started 9 games, earning a record of 2-3. His era reached only reached 2.89 throwing 53 innings. Miller showed signs of Palm Beach being no problem for him and he was ready for bigger things.

Miller finished the 11’ year in AA playing for Springfield. He pitched in a total of 16 games acquiring an ERA of 2.70 and a W-L record of 9-3. He was a solid pitcher, and much more than the cardinals could have asked for. Miller combined 2011 season of High A and AA consisted of a K/9 ratio of 11.0, a combined WHIP of 1.18, a H/9 of 7 and a ERA of 2.77.

Miller currently ranks in the top 10 prospects going into the 2012 season. I predict Shelby Miller will be a June call up depending on the Cardinals record. If the Cards are in the playoff hunt, June call up, if not perhaps a September call up. Once called up Miller stays on the roster as either the closer or a 2-3 hole starting pitcher.

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