Bobby Miller often followed Reid Detmers. This time it squeezed a little.
As a lead starter at the University of Louisville, Detmers is expected to become a top pick in Wednesday’s MLB draw. Detmers was preparing for coverage on ESPN and MLB Network and was one of the potential employees to receive a mobile and hats for all 30 MLB teams.
The Angels cap got camera time when they took Detmers with the 10th choice overall. Just under two hours later, Miller was able to pick the Dodgers cap off the scraps and proudly deploy it to a Zoom call to reporters after the Dodgers made him the 29th and final pick of Wednesday’s first round.
There was only one problem.
“I’m not going to lie, this hurts my head,” Miller said with a smile. “He has a small head. But I felt it is the right situation to wear it now. Frankly, I don’t want to take it off, even if it hurts my head. ”
It’s the third time in the Andrew Friedman era that the Dodgers have pulled a player from the University of Louisville with a top pick.
In 2016, the Dodgers catcher Will Smith caught the 32nd pick overall. In 2015, they took another Louisville right-handed Kyle Funkhouser with the 35th pick overall. Funkhouser did not sign, returned to Louisville for his senior season, and fell in the fourth round of the 2016 concept – down from $ 1.75 million to $ 750,000 in closing value. Funkhouser, now 26, was unimpressive over three seasons in the Detroit Tigers’ farming system. Another Louisville product, infielder Devin Mann, was the fifth round of the Dodgers two years ago.
The 6-foot-5 Miller is considered one of the toughest pitchers in this year’s draft with a fastball hitting 100mph and a slider approaching 90mph.
“I think his size, athletics, and he averages 95 miles per hour on his fastball – I think those three ingredients are a pretty good starting point,” said Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino. “And then you start layering how improved his secondary fields were, multiple pluses. And I think only the character of the child, the makeup and all our information about him was very strong. ‘
As a freshman All-American after a 6-1 with an ERA of 2.97 in Louisville, Miller sometimes had some control problems during this second grade, but took a no-hitter to the ninth inning of a Super Regional against East Carolina last spring, still 95 mph in that last inning.
That was enough to make him “an intriguing option for the year to come,” Gasparino said. The year did not last long. Miller made four starts for Louisville before college baseball was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. He had an ERA of 2.31 with 34 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings, averaging .181.
That was enough to show Dodgers explorer Marty Lamb that Miller had made significant progress as a junior.
“Marty was on his first start and did a great job of ringing early and identifying that he made the leap we thought was possible,” said Gasparino.
“We knew he was a great athlete. We knew we had a lot of arm strength. We were a bit concerned with just throwing punches, command, secondary fields. And give the child credit, he made major adjustments in his delivery He made major adjustments to his slider, his overall fastball soared as three miles per hour.
“So … it was kind of a potential off-season / early season choice to click honestly as soon as we saw the first start we were,” Wow, it happened. ”
Miller said he knew he had to “make a big improvement from last year to this year if I wanted to be the player I wanted to be.” He continued to work on that during the lockdown.
“I really took advantage of this time,” he said. “All I can do now is get better and that’s what I focus on.”
In conjunction with Detmers in Louisville, Miller’s goal now is to team up with his ‘Favorite Pitcher’, another right-handed scouted by Lamb and taken in the first round by the Dodgers – Walker Buehler.
“It’s so electric on the hill and I love that,” said Miller. “I try to be like that.
“I am very proud of that because I am the biggest competitor on the field and there is no doubt that he is the biggest competitor on the field when he is on the hill.”