The following was originally published on Shelly’s Red Sox blog, Green Monster Ball.

 

Oh Yankees, enjoy Andrew Miller for the next four years. We in Boston enjoyed watching him for the last two. However, his time in Boston was not entirely great. Boston can thank Bobby Valentine (I cannot believe I just typed that) for Miller’s transformation.

Andrew Miller was drafted sixth overall by the Detroit Tigers in 2006.  He made is major league debut in the next season and involved an offseason tread that brought Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers.  While a starter in Miami, he had decent K% but his BB% was awful.  From 2008 to 2010, his BB% ranged from 11.4% to 15.2%. He bounced around Miami’s minor league and major league team during this time.  In 2010, Miller was traded to Boston for a relief pitcher and started the 2011 season in AAA. This is where Valentine comes in.  Valentine liked Miller but felt he would be a better reliever.  He suggested to Miller that he should eliminate the windup and pitch exclusively from the stretch.  Once he made this change, his BB% decreased and K% increased.  He missed most of the 2013 due to injury but came out guns blazing in 2014.

2014 was Miller best season by far. He posted a 42% K% and 7% BB%. The only reliever with a higher K-BB% was Aroldis Chapman. What made Miller so great? His unbelievable slider.

Miller was able to get a 26.16 whiff% and batters had a .071/.087/.016 slash line. Unreal. he attacks LH and RH batters the same. Low and inside to righties and low and outside to lefties.

whiff - RH whiff - LH

He finished just outside of the top ten in swstr& with 14.6%, also an elite percentage.

Now, do I think Miller will repeat is 2014 campaign? Yes and no.  I think this was a career year for him but his velocity was down a bit this year. I also think the “short porch” in Yankee Stadium might hurt is numbers. LH pull hitters have the upper hand in Yankee Stadium and Miller’s numbers show a slight spilt towards him giving up the long ball to lefties. Even with these facts, the Yankees are in for a treat.  They have now have a bullpen that includes Miller and Dellin Betances, and it is being reported they are still in the running to re-sign David Robertson. That combination would rival Kansas City’s bullpen. (10 bucks to the person who thought there would be a day where New York would copy Kansas City!)

 

 

Originally published on Shelly’s Red Sox blog, Green Monster Ball.

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One Response to “Goodbye to Miller and His Slider”

  1. Eddy Wahlgren

    Agreed, his BABIP suggests that he was a little lucky last year and the shorter porch WILL hurt. The Yankees won’t get what the Sox and Birds got out of him but he’ll still enjoy some success in the Bronx. I say 1.0 to 1.5 WAR.

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