Troy Miller isn’t as well known outside of the Lansing Lugnuts faithful but the 6-foot-4 righty who was a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Michigan is showing some potential to keep moving up the ladder with a solid combination of pitchers that he generally struggles to control.
Miller’s issues come more in the realm of command and consistency but there is some solid stuff. After signing in 2018 as a junior out of the Cape Cod League, he had a 3.46 ERA and 1.615 WHIP in 13 innings with the Vancouver Canadians in a relief role. While he struck out 15, he walked only 10.
This season, he’s been up and down as a starter with the Lansing Lugnuts. In his 73 innings, he’s seen a 4.93 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, striking out only 6.7 batters per nine innings while walking 4.7. While we’ve seen a significant improvement in walk rate, there is still far longer to go before Miller has the type of rate that you’d like to see in a starting pitcher.
Miller has had games in which he’s been dominant (June 6 – one run on two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings; July 10 – one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in seven innings), and others in which he’s struggled (July 15 – six runs on eight hits in three innings, May 21 – four runs on three hits and three walks in one-plus innings). The big question lately is which Troy Miller gets on the mound in a given game.
I got a chance to see Miller the Good when I saw him pitch seven strong innings against the Clinton LumberKings on July 21. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and just one walk with seven strikeouts.
Key to the strong outing was the fact that, although Miller had some trouble repeating his motion early, he recovered in the third innings, making quality pitches and using his curveball to get a couple of strikeouts in the inning.
Miller has a fastball with a little bit of arm-side run that sat 91-93 mph on the day I saw him. He featured his curveball that he threw from 73 mph to 77 mph, using it effectively once he found the feel for it. He was using it a go-to pitch, throwing it over for strikes early in the count and getting swings and misses when he threw it outside of the zone. Miller also used an effective changeup that didn’t always have a lot of movement but he had a deceptive arm motion when he threw the pitch, usually between 80 and 82 mph.
When Miller was spotting his curveball and using it to keep hitters off balance, he was excellent. He struck out two in the third, walked one in the fourth, got a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth with two more strikeouts and allowed just a double in the sixth, with the batter hitting a grooved fastball. He came back and struck out two more in a 1-2-3 seventh, finishing the outing off on a high note.
Fortunately, I got a chance to see both the good side of Troy Miller and the not so good side, when he was struggling to locate the ball early. But Miller has the potential to either be a back of the rotation arm or a multi-inning reliever. While he’s being used in a starter’s role now, I think there might be some in the Jays’ organization who might want to move him to the ‘pen eventually, hoping for a bit of a bump in velocity. Otherwise, it’s really up to Miller and the Jays’ staff to find consistency so that he can be effective more often.
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