Dodgers Prospects: Bobby Miller’s Sharp 2021 Season

Bobby Miller

Bobby Miller continued to make a name for himself in a talented Dodgers farm system in 2021. Miller is the Dodgers’ second-ranked prospect behind Ryan Pepiot. He split his time in 2021 between the Great Lake Loons and Tulsa Drillers. With the Loons, Miller pitched 47.0 innings where he accumulated a 1.91 ERA, 29.8 K%, 5.9 BB%, 0.87 WHIP, and a 2.81 FIP. He was more than deserving of a promotion and saw one come in early September just in time to appear in three games with the Drillers.

Miller pitched 9.1 innings with the Drillers while tossing up a 4.82 ERA, 33.3 K%, 4.8 BB%, 1.29 WHIP, and 2.84 FIP. Opponents hit .176 against Miller in Great Lakes and .256 against him in Tulsa. Miller pitched 56.1 innings in 2021 while posting a 2.40 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, racked up 70 strikeouts, 11.2 K/9%, 2.1 BB/9% in 14 games started, and 17 appearances. 

At Louisville

Miller has no problem limiting the walks and racking up the strikeouts. His 70-grade fastball has shown to be more than capable to overpower hitters and he works his secondary stuff well off of it. Miller is more than confident not only in himself but with his stuff. Miller has shown to be a power-pitcher and is that really a bad thing? He is a strike-thrower and it reflects in his K%-BB%. Miller went from an erratic arm to easily pounding the zone during his time at Louisville.

As a freshman, Miller earned his way to being 2018 Freshman All-America honors when he put up a 6-1 record paired with a 2.97 ERA. He tossed 55 strikeouts and just 66.2 innings. The accolades came during his college career and he was eventually picked by the Dodgers with the 29th overall pick in the 2020 draft. Miller was thrown into one of the best overall systems in baseball when it comes to developing players and especially pitchers. 

Development With The Dodgers

Miller wasted no time adjusting to the next level once drafted. In his first 10 starts with the Loons, he had 53 strikeouts in 44.1 innings under his belt. Miller was also a part of the Loons first no-hitter in team history where he pitched 5 clean innings. When you watch Miller pitch you can tell he studies his game plan and he executes it. Miller is in the early stages of his development and so far has shown it is more control than command with the way he is able to attack the zone.

Miller came into the Dodgers system with the ability to move the ball but not move the ball around the zone consistently. There is no doubt he has improved on this over the course of the 2021 season and this is one area where the Dodgers player development has had a great impact with Miller. The Dodgers have publicized that they are big on utilizing technology and pitching analytics to help players at all levels.

From the time Miller came into the league up to his last game with the Drillers, it is noticeable that he has learned more on how to utilize his stuff and has cleaned up his delivery by making mechanical adjustments. Miller had a bit of a violent delivery in college which may have impacted his ability to command his arsenal but his delivery is more fluid now which may be the reason why he is getting more movement on his stuff and also more whiffs especially when he locates up in the zone. 

Continued Growth

Miller works with his dominant fastball, firm slider, good change-of-pace curveball, developing changeup, and has a two-seamer to rely on if need be. Miller’s fastball can top out in the triple digits while sitting in the mid-90s consistently with excellent arm-side life. Miller showed he can hold that velocity deep into his starts in 2021 and get the pitch to jump at hitters throughout his appearances. The slider has no problem missing bats and may be his strongest secondary pitch early on in his development. The slider almost acts as a cutter that plays well off his fastball due to the horizontal movement both have. It runs away from righties nicely and gets in on the hands of lefties that generated some ugly swings in 2021.

The curveball has spiking action that helps Miller steal strikes when he needs to. The curveball was a pitch that Miller had excellent success with in college but he will need to continue the development of it. One of the most exciting things about Miller in 2021 was how his changeup progressed. It was shown to be a weapon against lefties and has plus potential as he continues to play with it. Miller threw his changeup more than some may have anticipated in 2021 but for him to get comfortable with it he has to throw it. It stays in the bottom of the zone and displays sink and split action which increases whiffs, especially against lefties. 

Knocking On The Door

Bobby Miller is a name most Dodger fans are already excited about seeing in the big leagues. The comparison between Miller and Walker Buehler is there and the thought of having the second coming of Buehler should excite every fan. Believe it or not, Miller was once projected to end up in the bullpen according to some scouts but he is far too talented and most likely will end up a frontline starter if he continues to see the success he did in 2021. Bobby Miller has the potential to be knocking on the door in 2022 and his chances could increase if the Dodgers face the injuries to the rotation they faced in 2021. One way or another Bobby Miller is coming. 

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