When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Left-handed starting pitcher
Baseball America 60
Erik Miller, a St. Louis native, was ranked first by PerfectGame among all Missouri prep prospects prior to the 2016 draft, but due to his strong commitment to Stanford wasn’t drafted. That should change as Miller has the goods to be a late first-round or early second-round selection this year. These are his results to date for Stanford:
2017 17 G, 13 GS, 61.2 IP, 62 H, 21 BB, 34 K, 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
2018 13 G, 13 GS, 48.2 IP, 43 H, 23 BB, 52 K, 4.07 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
2019 9 G, 9 GS, 46.2 IP, 34 H, 24 BB, 57 K, 2.12 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Miller’s stats, with the exception of a nice start for the Cardinal this year, haven’t really blown anyone out of the water. If you throw in his miserable results in the Cape Cod League this past offseason (7.71 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 31 hits and 15 walks over 23 2⁄3 innings), there wouldn’t seem much to be excited about. However, hard-throwing southpaws often develop at a different rate than other pitchers.
According to MLB, Miller’s bread-and-butter pitch is a 96-97 mph heater. Two other solid pitches in his repertoire include an above-average slider and a solid but inconsistent changeup which should only get better with increased usage. However, he does have trouble with walks, and being behind the count as often as he’s been, Miller hasn’t been able to maximize his abilities. MLB states the reason he’s struggled with command is that he has a stiff front side, which has kept him from finding the strike zone consistently enough.
MLB grades his fastball and slider as 60, changeup as 50, and control as 45. Miller’s professional future should be that of starting pitcher, considering his sturdy 6´5´´, 240- pound build. Obviously the more success he enjoys in the Pac-12, especially in regards to control, will put his Cape Cod League struggles in the rearview mirror and escalate his status in the upcoming draft. If he continues his outstanding junior season, one can easily picture the hard-throwing southpaw being selected in either the second or third round. You still have to love the upside, as displayed in this Stanford video last year:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State University OF
Cameron Cannon, University of Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Cronin, University of Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, University of Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, University of Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn University SS
Seth Johnson, University of Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University C
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Andrew Vaughn, University of California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss University OF
Kenyon Yovan, University of Oregon RHSP