2021 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects: No. 5, RHP Bobby Miller

Bobby Miller.

Next up on the hit parade is one of the more interesting pitching prospects in the system. Variation is the name of the game with this big right-hander.

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Previous Entries

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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.

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Editor’s Note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I observe/obtain to the people. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date). “Comps” are usually the best-case scenario based off stature and production. They in no way guarantee the player will mirror the career of the comp.

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Rating Key

80 — Elite
75 — Borderline Elite
70 — Plus-plus
60-65 — Plus
55 — Above-average
50 — Average
45 — Fringe-average
40 — Below-average
30-35 — Poor
20-25 — Very Poor

5. Bobby Miller

DOB: 4/5/99Age: 22Height: 6’5Weight: 200Bats: LeftThrows: RightPosition: RHSP

Acquired: First round, No. 29 overall of 2020 MLB Draft, University of Louisville, $2,197,500 signing bonus

Strengths: Premium fastball velocity with movement, improving slider, prototypical starter’s frame

Weaknesses: Changeup lagging behind, short track record of dominance

Key statistics: N/A

Role: No. 2 SP

Player comparison: Brady Singer (with more velo)

Summary: Miller opened some eyes in the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season with Louisville. He struck out 34 batters (against nine walks) in 23 1/3 innings before the shutdown. The Dodgers liked him enough to take him at No. 29 in the 2020 MLB Draft and, if his Spring Training performance is any indication (5 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K), they may have gotten another one.

He operates with a mid-90s fastball that features heavy action and bores into right-handed hitters and runs away from left-handed hitters. He can also change the grip and get a few extra ticks of velocity on it. His 4-seamer has touched 99 MPH, and you can be sure the Dodgers are going to get him to utilize that pitch. He pairs his varying fastballs with a potentially plus slider that sits in the mid-80s. He’s also experimenting with a low-90s cutter that is a variation on his slider. He also has a changeup that, while clearly behind his other pitches, still has a chance to be an average offering. Like his other pitches, he throws two different versions of it — one that has splitter-like tendencies in the mid-80s and a low-80s one that’s more “traditional.”

Miller’s delivery wasn’t ideal coming out of college, but it looks like the Dodgers have already cleaned it up a bit to be more streamlined. He used to dip down a bit with his back shoulder before delivering the pitch. In Spring Training, he was a bit more upright with the back shoulder. He still has longer arm action than other pitchers in the system which could negatively impact his command/control profile, but so far, things are trending in the right direction. Plus, his athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery. If his command/control can make a jump to even above-average, he has a much better chance of reaching his ceiling.

Speaking of his ceiling, Miller has the look of a No. 2 starter if everything clicks. If his changeup doesn’t come along as hoped or his command/control lacks, he could still be a solid mid-rotation starter. There’s also some reliever risk, and he could absolutely thrive in a late-inning, high-leverage role. He hasn’t officially debuted as a pro, but his showing at Camelback Ranch last month was impressive. He should go straight to High-A Great Lakes with a good chance of reaching Double-A Tulsa at some point this season.

Video

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball4570
Slider4060
Cutter3555
Changeup3550
Command/Control3050
FV/Risk60Extreme

2020 Ranking: NR
2021 Location: High-A Great Lakes/Double-A Tulsa
ETA: 2022

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Next Up: Prospect No. 4

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.