ADAM MILLER, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: November 26, 1984
Drafted: 1st Round, 31st Overall, 2003 (Indians)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: McKinney (TX) HS
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Miller topped the Cleveland prospects list for four years in a row, yet so far hasn’t pitched in the majors. He was drafted as a high school pitcher who sat in the low-90s with a power slider. The fastball eventually sat in the 93-95 range, sometimes higher, and Miller has hit triple digits. Like many pitching prospects, especially high school draftees, his change needed work. The two power pitches, though, were enough to give him a rare combination of good control, missed bats and a high groundball rate.Unfortunately, Miller was undone by injuries. It wasn’t the usual arm injuries, although he did suffer from a strained elbow in 2005 and 2007. His main issue was with the middle finger of his right hand, which has undergone numerous surgeries. The finger problem cost him two full seasons plus parts off every other season since 2007. He spent a season and a half in independent ball in 2012-13, before returning to the Indians on a minor league deal in 2014. By that time, he reported that his fastball was back up to 90-96, but he was struggling with his secondary pitches. The Pirates signed Miller to a minor league contract for 2015.
Miller had a better year in his debut than his ERA indicated. That’s especially true considering that he was a high school draftee pitching in an advanced rookie league.
Miller had a breakout season, dominating both class A levels at age 19. He fanned over a batter an inning and posted a low walk rate, while pitching even better after his promotion to the higher level. In the Carolina League playoffs, he threw 14 scoreless innings and hit 101 mph with his fastball. After the season, Baseball America rated him the Indians’ top prospect, a spot he held for four years. BA also rated him the 16th best prospect in baseball.
The Indians shut Miller down in spring training with a strained elbow ligament. He didn’t join their NYPL affiliate until late June, showing reduced velocity through season’s end. He didn’t pitch well in his limited time, but at least stayed healthy.
Miller bounced back with a big season in AA, with his fastball back in the 93-95 range. BA ranked him the 23rd best prospect in baseball after the season.
Miller’s season was derailed by continuing elbow issues and the first appearance of the finger problem that would prove the bigger issue. He ultimately had several surgeries on the finger in 2007 and 2008. When he was able to pitch in 2007, he wasn’t as effective as usual but at least maintained excellent walk and K rates. BA still rated him baseball’s 29th best prospect after the season.
Miller’s season ended in May, after six starts, due to another surgery on his finger. BA still ranked him 82nd on its top 100 prospects list.
Miller seemed to be doing well in spring training and was considered a candidate for the Indians’ bullpen, but the finger issues reappeared and he had reconstructive surgery in April, as well as another operation in July. The surgeries kept him out all year. Cleveland removed him from its 40-man roster in the off-season and re-signed him to a minor league contract.
Miller suffered a setback and had to have another operation on the finger in December. That kept him out for the 2010 season.
Miller joined the Indians’ high A affiliate at the end of April and pitched out of the bullpen there and in AA. He continued striking out a lot of batters in class A, but his control was much weaker than previously and he was generally ineffective in AA. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Yankees.
The Yankees tried Miller for five games in the bullpen in AAA, then sent him to AA for eight starts. He was ineffective in both roles, with a nearly non-existent K rate. New York released him in late June and he caught on in the independent American Association, where he bounced back only a little.
Miller spent the season in the independent Atlantic League. He was mostly a reliever, but also made five starts.
The Indians signed Miller to a minor league deal during spring training. Beginning in mid-May, he pitched out of the AA bullpen, except for one inning in AAA. Despite the high ERA, he pitched reasonably well, with his walk and K rates returning to previous levels.
The Pirates sent Miller to Indianapolis to pitch out of the bullpen
The odds of Miller bouncing back and reaching the majors are obviously very long, but he should be an interesting project for the Pirates. He’ll be in the bullpen with Indianapolis to start the 2015 season. He missed about a month from mid-April to mid-May, then went on the disabled list in late May. He returned in August only to miss two more weeks with an ankle injury. When he was able to pitch, Miller wasn’t that effective.
Miller will be a free agent again after the season.
|2015: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $1,250,000
MiLB Debut: 2003
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/19/2007 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2008, 2009)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 3, 2003: Drafted in the 1st round, 31st overall, by the Cleveland Indians; signed on June 10.
November 19, 2007: Contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians.
December 12, 2009: Non-tendered by the Cleveland Indians; opted for free agency on December 13.
January 3, 2010: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Cleveland Indians.
November 2, 2011: Became a free agent.
December 16, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent with the New York Yankees.
June 27, 2012: Released by the New York Yankees.
March 16, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Cleveland Indians.
November 4, 2014: Became a free agent.
December 18, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.