One of 16 college pitchers taken by the Cubs with their first 18 picks in 2016, Miller went in the fourth round to become the first NCAA Division II selection that June and the highest choice ever out of California Baptist (surpassing 2014 seventh-rounder Trevor Oaks). He broke out in 2018, when he led the Class A Advanced Carolina League in strikeouts (126 in 127 innings), opponent average (.220) and WHIP (1.09). He continued to thrive in Double-A in the first half of 2019 but Triple-A hitters tagged him for a 7.58 ERA following his July promotion.
Miller has had more success the last two years by shelving his two-seam fastball in favor of his four-seamer, which ranges from 90-95 mph and plays better than its radar-gun readings with high spin rates and natural cutting action up in the strike zone. His mid-80s slider/cutter works well when he mixes it with his four-seamer and keeps it down in the zone. When his velocity on both pitches dipped in the second half of last season, he got pounded.
Miller has some feel for a changeup, though it couldn't keep left-handers from teeing off on him in Triple-A. His control is better than his command, and he'll need to do a better job of locating his pitches because he won't miss many bats in the strike zone. His ability to maintain his stuff over the course of a season may determine whether he's a back-of-the-rotation starter or just a middle reliever.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
The first NCAA Division II player drafted in 2016, Miller went in the fourth round and surpassed Trevor Oaks (seventh round, 2014) as the highest pick ever out of California Baptist. One of 16 college pitchers taken by the Cubs with their first 18 selections that June, he didn't stand out in his first two pro seasons. That changed in his third, when he topped the high Class A Carolina League in strikeouts (126 in 127 innings), opponent average (.220) and WHIP (1.09).
Miller found success by going to his four-seam fastball more than his two-seamer. His four-seamer has ordinary velocity at 90-93 mph and a peak of 95, but it has a high spin rate and can get swings and misses up in the strike zone thanks to its cutting and riding action. His slider is a solid second pitch when he plays it off his four-seamer and keeps it down in the zone, and he also exhibits feel for a changeup.
Miller has a history of throwing strikes, though his command isn't as fine as his control and he doesn't have much margin for error. He may not be more than a back-of-the-rotation starter, but the progress he made in 2018 was encouraging and he has built on it this season.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
It can be hard sometimes for pitchers at small programs to get noticed by the scouting industry. Pitching extremely well in the Cape Cod League, as Miller did last summer, made everyone put Division II California Baptist on their must-see destinations this spring.
For the most part, Miller backed up his Cape showing with a strong junior season. The fact that he his starts came largely on Wednesdays or Thursdays actually helped him get seen more, as it didn't conflict with Division I weekend series. Tall and projectable, with loose actions and a lean, athletic body, the 6-foot-4 Miller will flash a fastball up to 93 mph, with the potential for more once he gets into a player development system. He'll show glimpses of a decent slider and has an average changeup to round out his three-pitch arsenal. Miller tends to throw strikes, though he is more control over command at this point.
The earliest a Cal Baptist player has ever been drafted was in 2014, when the Dodgers took Trevor Oaks in the seventh round. Miller's size and upside potential give him the chance to beat Oaks by a couple of rounds.