Fans who pay close attention to the Dodgers’ farm system know that the last two seasons where like no other in recent history. In 2020, there was no minor league season at all due to the coronavirus, with only a select few prospects eligible to establish a regular schedule at the team’s alternate training site. Last year, just about every possible player who was mature enough and eligible for promotion got a shot in the majors, showing us just how talented — or untalented — the farm system actually is.
Many of us walked away with the feeling that there’s still hope for the Dodgers’ farm, but most of the players budding with talent are still developing at the lower levels — see players like Andy Pages, Diego Cartaya, Miguel Vargas and Luis Rodriguez. In the meantime, the club needs to figure out a way to bridge the gap between the major league fringe and that next level of outstanding talent.
One player who might be able to contribute in the majors sooner than later is 22-year-old righty pitcher Bobby Miller.
In his first year in the Los Angeles system, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Illinois native threw to the tune of a 2.40 ERA with a 0.941 WHIP and an impressive 70 punchouts over 56-1/3 innings of work. He spent the bulk of the season at High-A Great Lakes, posting a 1.90 ERA over 11 starts, before being promoted to Double-A Tulsa to end the season.
Miller had the chance to extend his 2021 season with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, where he made three starts and two appearances out of the bullpen.
For those who may have forgotten, the Dodgers chose Miller as the 29th overall pick with their first selection in the 2020 MLB draft out of Louisville. Miller began his collegiate career as a swingman, but by the time he had the chance to join the Cardinals’ starting rotation permanently in 2020, the pandemic-shortened season saw him make just four starts.
Over his two-plus years with Louisville in the ACC, he posted a 15-2 record over 41 appearances — 25 of which were starts — with a 3.28 ERA and 175 strikeouts over an even 170 innings.
As he settles in as a professional, Los Angeles scouts and coaches still view his ceiling as a starter, although he may have the tools to blossom as a reliver at some point down the road.
For a younger player, Miller’s repertoire is quite extensive. He features a four-seam, a two-seam, a slider/cutter combo, a changeup, and a spike curveball that he added not long after the draft.
MLB Pipeline grades his heater as a plus pitch at 65 and his slider a little above average at 60. His change is still developing, but some scouts feel it will become a plus-pitch very quickly. Last season, his fastball was clocked as high as 99 MPH on multiple occasions.
MLB Pipeline currently has Miller ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the entire system.
Having performed so well in the hitter friendly confines of the Cal League last year might be a good sign for Miller. Obviously, he’s not yet on the organizational 40-man roster, but with all the uncertainty between the club’s starting rotation and bullpen next season, there’s a good chance a door could open for him in some capacity.
33 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Bobby Miller”
It’s time to let Miller stretch out next season. They were extra careful with him last year and I don’t think they let him go more than 3 innings in any start. Definitely seems like he has enough good pitches to be a starter, so I hope he’s given every opportunity to do just that. A number of our other pitching prospects are thought to have better futures in the bullpen and we could definitely use another Buehler type in the rotation.
Has an almost identical repertoire as Buehler, aside from the developing curveball.
I’d like to see him get another year in the minors.
If we see him in 2022 it means one of two things:
1) We were so thin that we needed to bring him up even though he probably wasn’t ready
2) He was so spectacular that there was no reason to keep him at OKC any longer.
Both extremes. If it happens, I sure hope it’s #2.
He and Pepiot are both approaching “it’s time”. Yeah, I think the Dodgers would prefer another year of development but if these two were in different organizations they might already be up. There are a lot of players younger than them on Major League rosters. Might be a control issue. Don’t start the clock until they are entering their prime years.
Pepiot was really cuffed around when he got to OKC last year. No reason to rush him and have him lose even more confidence.
If they want to use Miller as a starter they need to stretch him out a bit, so at least when he gets here he has a chance to go 5-6 innings when he starts. That might not take a whole season, but he only has 9 innings experience at AA and nothing at AAA yet.
I really don’t think it’s a matter of their holding them back for any reason other than they don’t think they’re ready yet.
I think you’re right I just don’t know why they do it. With 18 year old draftees, sure, but these guys pitched the equivalent of A ball in college. Miller threw 80 innings 3 years ago. Peipiot threw close to that twice. Jackson had an ERA over 5 at AAA and they brought him up. These guys are grown men with good stuff. Get out there and throw strikes for 5 innings then take 4 days off. I think we will see both of them this year. Stretch them out at home against the Diamondbacks and Rockies.
“Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers reportedly offered Seager an eight-year, $250 million dollar extension. An offer to Turner could fall in a similar range, if not higher.
An eight-year, $280 million dollar extension would make Turner the highest paid shortstop in the league right now by average annual value (AAV) at $35M per year. Those numbers slot Trea ahead of the Mets Francisco Lindor ($34.1M) and Corey Seager ($32.5M).”
Peipiot is a 25 year old double A pitcher who got bombed in triple A? Let’s send him to Texas. Jackson and white are even older career minor leaguers. Miller is young and promising but let’s wait until he gets to triple A. My rule of thumb is if they are 24 and haven’t seen the bigs, they probably won’t or at best will fill in as white and Jackson have. There are exceptions but not many. Dodgers of course know this.
You may be right and Pepiot might never be anything, but just for the record 2022 will be his age 24 season. So, by your standards we need to see what happens this year before relegating him to the junk pile.
Chris Woodward just called me and said “Send him on over.”
They are both in our Top 5 prospects. If they weren’t any good they wouldn’t be ranked that high. And if they aren’t any good, trade them for Castillo.
So how does that conversation go.
“I’ve got two prospects who aren’t any good. You can have them for Castillo.”
Kinda similar to the other one.
“I’ve got a bunch of garbage I want to dump. I’ll take Gray and Downs.”
Jefe, take a seat bro.
Ok, first, I would not do that deal as I believe both those guys are mid rotation pitchers. But if I suddenly decided they weren’t what I thought they were, I’d start with “we’ll give you two young studs, both in the Top 100 MLB prospects for a guy that was 8-16 with an ERA a frog’s hair from 4.00.”
Just having some fun Scoop. I wouldn’t trade them either. I wonder if the lockout ended tomorrow whether those two would satisfy the Reds for Castillo. I’m guessing they would want another decent prospect as well.
Yeah, I know. Me too.
I think they’d be interested. But Castillo remains an affordable innings eater for two more years before becoming a free agent. He’s 12-22 the last two years on a club that was over .500 both those years. He led the league in losses this year. Some might ask – “why give two top pitching prospects for a guy with those numbers?” Well, we need a reliable mid rotation starter and we’re feeling generous.
Anyone else here have an opinion?
Darn you are right again Jeff. He’s not 25 u til August. Maybe I was hasty. We’ll see d him to Texas in August.
OK Gordon, we can discuss again at the end of July.
I’m hoping he does so well in the first half that you don’t even bring it up.
What does the “Bear” say?
I know this one! The Bear says “if anyone needs me I’ll be at the maul”.
Cute Scoop. Actually tomorrow I am on a train headed to California for the Christmas holidays. As for Miller, I am not too in tune with our farm system and I have always thought they are suspects more than prospects. I read all the reports and the kid seems to have some serious stuff. But I have seen way too many prospects fizzle out over the years to get excited about any of them before they actually show me something at the major league level. I do enjoy going to Quakes games when I am in California. I saw Sborz pitch down there. But I reserve real judgement on these kids until they are actually in a game situation.
Yeah, I feel the same. I think Miller may be the better of the two, but both are in the Top 100 (Pepiot 61, Miller 78) on MLB’s prospect list, and we need pitching, so I say throw them out there this Spring. I also still believe in Gonsolin. His stats are good, WHIP was under 1, K/9 over 9 before injury, it’s his shoulder that needs to stabilize. He’s 28 in May, not a lot of mileage on his arm, so if he can throw strikes, he could throw over 100 innings and help out. We may have what we need in house. Or, we may have what we need to trade for more better pitchers. I have no idea what the plan is.
I’m with you Bear. How’d that goodness?
Darn phone. How’d that happen? Lol
Jeff, I finally got around to finishing that article on the Dodgers top 10 prospects. Thanks for taking the time to put that out there it was a good read, and now I won’t have to show my idiocy, by asking who Bobby Miller is.😀
Glad you’re finally doing your homework Keith, but do you know who Justin Wrobleski is?
Never mind, I’ll tell you, he was the Dodgers’ 11th pick in this year’s draft. A lefty pitcher out of Oklahoma State. I always like to pick one obscure guy out of each draft to name drop at cocktail parties. You can use this one too. I just realized I haven’t been to a cocktail party in about 10 years. Don’t miss them in the slightest.
Has anyone read anything about the CBA negotiations, are they even talking right now, I couldn’t find much of anything.
Now why would they want to talk, Keith? It’s the holiday season and they have Christmas shopping to do. And then, of course, there’s the New Year’s bash to plan.
Don’t expect to see any meetings until about the second week in January, once they’ve had a chance to get over the holidays and their New Year’s hangovers.
I expect this lockout to bump up against the opening days of Spring Training.
I don’t know why the owners needed to lock out the players on Dec 1 all it seems to have accomplished is stopping negotiations, and showing poor faith on the owners side.
Apparently the owners feel that locking out the players gives a sense of urgency to the negotiations. I have no idea if that’s valid or not, but I heard more than one exec state that as the reason for the lockout.
The Dodgers surprised mosy people and put Grove on their 40 man roster. I am going to assume they either give him a chance or are getting ready to trade him. Pepiot needs to get some time in the majors. Miller pitched well at college, he has developed his pitches and I hope is given the opportunity to play.
I am a believer in Gonsolin, He has the winter to stabilize his shoulder and get in shape.
The rhetoric over the CBA from both sides means they are either very close to a deal, doubtful! Or they are drawing lines and this is going to go into Spring Training and possibly impact the season… I think we lose part of Spring Training.
They wouldn’t need to put Grove on the 40-man in order to trade him. They often trade prospects who haven’t been put on that roster. I think we can just assume that they think highly enough of him that they didn’t want to risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft.
With regard to Pepiot, I totally disagree with you there Tmax. Not that your viewpoint is wrong, we just look at this differently. Before I bring up a prospect, I want him to have a good chance to succeed. Otherwise his confidence is destroyed. Pepiot was pretty horrific in AAA last year. I simply don’t think he’s ready. I would definitely bring him to ST though, and if he’s incredibly effective against major league hitters (not just the prospects or vets that got ST invites), I would be happy to change my mind.
His stats from last year show something I find interesting. He was good at AA (WHIP under 1) and yes, on paper it looks like he got hit at AAA. But his K/9 at OKC was 9.9 and his BB rate was about half that. He also gave up a few home runs in his 40 innings there. That suggests to me he has good stuff but suffered a command issue in Oklahoma. I believe if he can hit his spots he can pitch in the Majors. He’s 24, and our #2 prospect. I’m looking at a scouting report at MLB and it says a 65 fastball (sits at 93-96) a 70 change up, he has added power to his slider and his crossfire delivery enables his pitches to get on hitters quickly. Find the edges with that stuff and he’s in the Bigs. It’s also suggested that the Dodgers rebuffed a lot of inquiries for him at the deadline. I expect him to start at AAA and be successful there. I think Miller’s stuff is just as good and though he’s a year behind Pepiot I expect to see both of them in LA in ‘22. Part of the reason I say that is because that’s their listed ETA at MLB.com.
Next time I talk to y’all it will be from California.
Have a safe trip bear