Dodgers: Talent Evaluator Shares on Concern with Bobby Miller

Keith Law of The Athletic wrote a glowing evaluation of Dodgers pitching prospect Bobby Miller, but he did identify one area in which Miller needs to improve.

Keith Law of The Athletic posted his Top 100 Prospects list on Monday, and the Dodgers led the way with a remarkable eight players on the list. Catcher Diego Cartaya (number six) and infielder Miguel Vargas (23) headlined the list for LA, with pitcher Bobby Miller not far behind at 28.

Law’s analysis of Miller left a lot to be excited about, starting with his very first sentence:

For pure stuff, Miller has few peers, if any, among minor-league starter prospects.

Law describes Miller’s stuff in glowing detail, from his power fastball to his power slider to his power curveball to his power changeup (sensing a theme?).

He can sit 96-100 mph and has touched 102 in shorter outings, working with a four-pitch mix where everything is above-average. His changeup has unusual power to it — it shouldn’t be that surprising, if Miller were to throw in the towel, he’d do it harder than anyone else — but also is very deceptive out of his hand, generating swings and misses about half the time he throws it. His slider is 85-91 with sharp downward break, and he’s got a power breaking ball — again, he has power stuff, in case you didn’t catch that earlier — that’s pretty close to 12-6, and I’d probably put it a half-grade over the slider if I didn’t know that the slider was slightly more effective at getting whiffs and chases this year.

There is one concern Law has with Miller, though, and it’s a pretty big one.

The one flaw in Miller’s game is that he’s worse with runners on base, in results but also in stuff, losing about a half a mile an hour on his pitches and missing fewer bats when he’s working from the stretch. With the bases empty, hitters hit .188/.263/.259 off Miller, but with men on base they hit .278/.335/.451, including eight of the 12 homers Miller allowed on the season. It’s enough that Miller is going to have to make an adjustment at some point to reach his ceiling.

Those statistical differences between bases empty and runners on base is stark; nearly every pitcher does better with the bases empty, but the gap shouldn’t be nearly that wide. It’s clearly a flaw in his game and goes a long way to explain why his overall numbers last year — he posted a 4.25 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A — weren’t quite as impressive as his stuff.

But if Miller can fix that one flaw, Law sees a bright future for the big right-hander.

It’s No. 1 starter stuff, with close to average command. If he can hold it better when he works from the stretch, he’ll be a top-10 pitcher in baseball.

If there’s an organization that can help Miller fix this flaw, it’s the Dodgers. Look out, world — here comes Bobby Miller.

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