Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who is Andrew Miller?

Andrew Miller was the consensus number one pick going into the 2006 MLB draft and……the newest member of the Detroit Tigers! With the Tigers picking sixth in what has widely been considered a mediocre draft, Andrew Miller is not anyone that Tigers fans should have concerned themselves with. At least that was the case before the Tigers were the benefactors of Miller’s slide out of the top five due to signability issues.

Dave Dombrowski proved that the Tigers are no longer a draft day nightmare. He also proved that the Tigers will no longer hassle over a few millions dollars if it means getting prime talent into the organization. Miller was slated to go number one to the Kansas City Royals by virtually every scouting organization. It is not often that a polished, 6’6 left-handed pitcher gets passed up when he is considered the number one draft prospect. The Tigers have pitching depth at every level of the organization. The addition of Miller eliminates one of the Tigers ongoing problems in the minors. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that virtually all of the Tigers’ pitching prospects are right-handers. In fact, the number of elite, young left-handers in all of MLB is closer to zero than ten. Dontrelle Willis and Scott Kazmir are the two brightest young left-handers in the league and that’s about it. There are other potential impact lefties in the league right now like Zach Duke and Cole Hamels but both are too young to anoint as dominating pitchers.

Since Miller is a three-year college guy, he’ll likely take the abbreviated route to the big leagues. At 21, he’ll probably spend a 1 ½ to 2 years at the most in the minor leagues before making his big league debut. At that time, Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman should be stalwarts on one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Miller will give the Tigers the left-hander that has eluded the franchise for decades. In the meantime, rumors will circulate about the Tigers trying to acquire a dominating left-handed pitcher for the playoff run. The Tigers have the prospects necessary to make a run at Dontrelle Willis. It doesn’t take much to imagine a rotation that includes Verlander, Bonderman, Willis, and Miller in just two short years. Throw in Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney and the Tigers will have the deepest staff in MLB. That says nothing for Mike Maroth and Nate Robertson who are more than adequate left-handers.

Just a few short years ago June stood for everything that was wrong about the Tigers organization. This June, the Tigers find themselves with the best record in MLB and the owners of the number one pitching prospect in America. Dombrowski has all but ensured the Tigers will be better in two, three, and four years than they are right now. Considering they have the best record in the majors; that is something that makes this Tigers fan ecstatic.

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