Pirates Sign Pitcher Adam Miller

According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher Adam Miller to a minor league contract. He was once a highly touted prospect, although he was drafted in 2003 and has not pitched in the majors yet. The 30-year-old Miller spent 2014 in the Cleveland Indians farm system, where he had a 5.44 ERA in 28 relief appearances for AA Akron. He also pitched one scoreless inning in AAA. He had 45 strikeouts in 42.1 innings while posting an impressive 1.73 GO/AO ratio.

Miller was a first round draft pick of the Indians in 2003, taken 31st overall. He was ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects five years in a row, starting in 2005, when they had him 16th overall. His career was derailed by a finger injury on his throwing hand, which required numerous surgeries and cost him most of 2008 and all of 2009-10. Prior to the injury, Miller had hit 101 MPH with his fastball and his slider was one of the best in the minors.

He looks to be minor league depth and could see time at either Altoona or Indianapolis, likely in a relief role since he hasn’t started full-time since 2008.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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My 2006 fantasy baseball team eagerly awaits his debut


Miller was such a beast…his story would surpass Holdzcom’s if he can get to the MLB and contribute. He doesn’t need to but it would be great.


I wonder how much the Pirates reputation as a pitcher fixer had to do with this signing.

dr dng

Gives us someone to keep an eye on. Another candidate for the Pirates pitchers repair shop. Obviously at one time the potential was there. Fix him up and use him or fix him up and use him to trade to get another player in a position we need. He gives us someone else to follow during the season. Hopefully Tim, John and others can keep an eye out on his progress.

John Janesko

With his groundball rate, striking out more than a batter per inning, and his pedigree, I like the signing due to the very low risk. From what I’ve seen his FIP is over a run less than his era and his walk totals aren’t the issue, maybe a mechanics adjustment is all this guy needs to be a serviceable bullpen piece, maybe the Next John Holdzkom.


Pirates still Christmas shopping.

Pie Rat

Stocking stuffers


Orginizational depth. I have seen him pitch several times in the EL over the past few years and he really didn’t show much. An organization needs a lot of pitchers to fill out staffs from A+ up.

Pie Rat

Interesting that he sticks with baseball for 11 years. I don’t think the Pirates have any expectation with this signing. Do AAA teams have roster restrictions like 25 men.


But no waivers, right? So you could have like 35 guys sitting around the ballpark, but only 25 eligible for the game that night. What I mean is, a team is not required to send a guy off their 25 man roster to AA. (maybe I made this whole thing up?)

Pie Rat

Seeing players like this make you realize Glassnow, Kingman, and Bell are no sure thing. In 2005 he was probably on the Indians list of untouchable players that wouldn’t be traded As recently as 2009 he was ranked 82nd prospect by Baseball America.


It had to be difficult for Polanco to leave that $$ on the table.

Lee Foo Young

Pie Rat….no offense, but has anyone ever said any of those 3, plus Hanson, Polanco, etc, are sure things? They may be highly touted, but that is about it. The majors are hard to make and stay.


I believe there were numerous sure thing declarations about polanco last year….or statements which could be construed as such

Lukas Sutton

Maybe we can give players more than half a year before passing any judgements either way. In the short time Polanco saw ups and downs, Travis Snider played like one of the top 25-35 OFers in all of baseball. Weird things happen in half season spurts. Like the Brewers thinking they were a good baseball team.

Lee Foo Young

Lukas…I loved your last sentence! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Pie Rat

Lee Foo Young, I think we all have high expectations and as we can see many don’t make it. It’s just an simple observation. If we went back in time 10 years I’m sure people thought Miller was a sure thing. You’re basically saying the same think in a different way. Some people do believe they are a sure thing and wonder why we would sign pitchers or a 1st baseman when we have players like this in the wings.


We should note the names of those who claim this or that prospect is a “sure thing.” I do not recall anyone making that claim. But it must be common somewhere because so many baseball fans attempt to show it to be false.

Lukas Sutton

Well, it would be rather short sighted to sign an OFer last offseason. You can say “well, Polanco isnt a sure thing so sign a sure thing” but then you just end up blocking cheaper, quality players. No one is a sure thing, but the success rate once a player hits AAA is much higher than any generic prospect. Even for Miller, until injury he was well on his way with his 100 mph fastball and plus slider. If Miller doesnt miss 2 years due to injury, he is a different player. So while no player is a sure thing, healthy Polanco/Bell are players you dont want to block with market price alternatives over multiple years. With the 1B market, id rather bet on Bell than sign the cream of that crop. Gotta take the situation of a prospect on a case by case basis for me, since Polanco is vastly different and his position is in a different place with the organization than Hanson.

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