The Bobby Miller era is upon us. LA’s top pitching prospect will make his highly anticipated MLB debut this afternoon in Atlanta and eyes all around the league will be watching. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shared his message to Miller ahead of start number one.
“Just be yourself. Don’t try to throw 110. Just throw 100 and then it’ll be there. … Enjoy the moment. You’ve earned it. You belong here. And go compete.”
Everyone around baseball knows about the big fastball. The fireballer touches 100mph with ease and sits in the 98-99 range. But he’ll need more than that to compete at this level. Roberts spoke over the weekend about the areas of improvement for Miller, and the differences between the lower levels of the minor leagues — where he dominated — and big league hitters.
“The first thing is command. When you’ve got a big fastball you can bully guys and overpower guys. And as you get higher up, you can’t do that. Guys can spoil pitches, they can hit the fastball. Yeah, it’s two part, it’s commanding the fastball and it’s also understanding when and how to use the breaking stuff because skillset wise, there’s a lot of talent.”
It won’t be an easy task for the 24-year-old Miller. The Braves have one of the best offenses in baseball with a team OPS of .799, and 78 homers as a group, both tops in the NL.
Certainly, the Dodgers would like to have given guys like Miller or Gavin Stone on Monday softer landing spots than Atlanta but that’s just where circumstances have brought them. Dave Roberts talked about the situation these rookies find themselves in.
“I don’t think we let ourselves think anything other than it’s a great opportunity for these young pitchers. They’re both talented. It’s not what we expected, but that really doesn’t matter. So I think that the only way to look at it is you’ve got to embrace this opportunity for these guys and it’s up to all of us to make them feel comfortable and perform at a high level.”
Both are joining a team in the middle of a pennant chase and pitching against a budding bitter rival for LA. But for them, it’s about sticking to their game plan. For Stone, it produced mixed results. The rookie allowed 5 runs in 4+ innings on Monday but he also rebounded from a tough first inning to face the minimum in the second, third, and fourth innings.
Get To Know Bobby Miller
Bobby Miller was the Dodgers first round draft pick in 2020, number 29 overall. He’s been a quick riser in the organization, advancing to the Triple-A level in just his second full pro season. He was the starting pitcher for the National League team in the 2022 All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium where he struck out the side in his lone inning.
Despite the accolades, 2022 was something of a down year compared to his 2021 where he compiled a 2.40 ERA over 56.1 innings.
He came into spring training this year nursing a sore shoulder but still was placed in the big league clubhouse. Miller spoke with DodgersNation.com this spring sharing that he had come into camp in the best shape of his life after losing weight in the offseason. The 24-year-old right-hander features a 100mph fastball, changeup, slider, curveball pitch mix. Prospects evaluators have lauded Miller’s pure stuff but he also comes with some question marks. He struggles with command at times, as evidenced by him walking nearly 4 batters every 9 innings this season. He also seems to be worse with runners on base, as noted by prospects guru Keith Law of The Athletic.
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