- Full name James Matthew Miller
- Born 04/28/1982 in Randolph, NJ
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Louisiana - Monroe
- Debut 09/01/2008
Drafted in the 8th round (230th overall) by the Colorado Rockies in 2004 (signed for $12,000).
View Draft ReportThough Louisiana-Monroe was just 27-26 during the regular season, the Indians unquestionably had the best collection of arms in the state. For sheer arm strength, Miller ranks with Thomas Diamond and Jason Quarles, pitching at 92-94 mph and scraping 95-96. Undrafted last year as a junior, mainly because he wanted to complete his degree in mathematics, Miller turned down free-agent offers after pitching at the National Baseball Congress World Series. A two-pitch guy who works out of the bullpen now and will continue to do so as a pro, he backs up his fastball with an average curve. When he throws strikes and works down in the zone, he's difficult to hit.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Miller went undrafted as a junior in 2003 at Louisiana-Monroe, and he turned down free agent opportunities after starring at the National Baseball Congress World Series because he wanted to complete his mathematics degree. After graduating in 2004, he signed for $12,000 as an eighth-round pick and led the Northwest League in saves during his pro debut. He tallied 34 more to lead the system last year, when he was untouchable following a second-half promotion to Double-A. He can overpower hitters with a 93-95 mph fastball. It doesn't have much life, but he can blow his fastball by hitters up in the zone and locate it on both sides of the plate. He also uses a slider and an occasional changeup, though he hasn't shown the confidence to throw either consistently. Despite his success thus far, he'll have to refine a second pitch to use against more advanced hitters. If he can do that, he could reach Colorado by September.
Undrafted as a junior, Miller turned down offers to sign out of the National Baseball Congress World Series in August 2003 so he could finish his degree in mathematics. That worked out fine for the Rockies, who signed him for $12,000 last summer. After working just 33 innings last spring for Louisiana-Monroe, Miller led short-season Northwest League relievers with 17 saves and 15.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He works off a 93-95 mph fastball he can locate on both sides of the plate. His heater is fairly straight, but he complements it nicely with a darting slider. He'll also mix in an occasional changeup. With his aggressive approach and the way he has taken to the closer's role, Miller could move quickly through the system. He should be able to handle a jump to high Class A in 2005.
Minor League Top Prospects
Undrafted following his junior year at Louisiana-Monroe, Miller has gone from a budget-minded eighth-round pick who signed for $12,000 as a senior to one of the better relief prospects in the minors. He has averaged 13.7 strikeouts per nine innings in two years as a pro and racked up nine saves and a 0.60 ERA in 16 games following his promotion to Double-A. Miller thrives in closing games, working quickly and aggressively with a 93-95 mph fastball that he commands well. He has a tendency to overthrow at times, causing his fastball to get straight or his plus slider to flatten out. "He lives off the fastball and it's plenty good," Beyeler said. "And he has the breaking ball when he needs it. We had big problems getting anything going off of him."
Miller more than doubled the saves total of every other pitcher in the league, and was so dominant that he ranked seventh in the league in strikeouts by averaging 1.76 an inning, or almost 16 per nine. Miller does it with a fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range and can venture higher when he gets into the flow of the game. He can work it effectively to both sides of the plate, though it tends to arrive fairly straight. His slider offers no such movement problems with its late two-plane break. Miller also features a solid changeup, though he rarely used it. "He's very tough to beat," Kennedy said. "He's got an above-average fastball, and then can bury you with that slider late."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Reliever in the California League in 2005
- Rated Best Slider in the Colorado Rockies in 2005