2009 Impact Rookie: Adam Miller

What should we make of Adam Miller?

The right-handed pitching prospect has been frustrating the Cleveland Indians organization and its fans since he was selected out of a Texas high school with the 31st overall selection in the 2003 draft. Now 24, he has yet to make his MLB debut despite entering his seventh pro season (Top high-school prospects usually take about four years to sniff the Majors).

Miller has lasted a full season in the minors only once – in 2006 and he won 15 games in Double-A with a 2.75 ERA (3.03 FIP), 129 hits allowed in 153.2 innings, as well as rates of 2.52 BB/9 and 9.20 K/9. The next two seasons at Triple-A, he managed a total of just 25 games (17 starts) and allowed 94 hits in 94 innings. The latest injury problem for Miller has been a tendon in a finger on his pitching hand and it’s already caused him issues this spring, which is worrisome to say the least.

Miller entered the spring with a very good shot of making the team as a reliever, which would have theoretically helped his chances of staying healthy. He’s probably Triple-A bound for the third straight season now, but he could make his MLB debut before long. Cleveland has pretty good depth in the starting rotation, although few can match Miller’s potential – as his stuff is still solid with a fastball that can touch the upper 90s with a dominating slider. The health of two fellow injury-prone starters, Carl Pavano and Anthony Reyes, could eventually open up a spot for Miller. New closer Kerry Wood, formerly of the Cubs, is also an injury risk, which could create a hole in the bullpen.

From a fantasy perspective, Miller will likely be extremely frustrating – as a starter or reliever. He has the stuff to dominate – and he could be an impact arm during the 2009 season at the Major League level. But he could also break your heart if you rely on him too heavily.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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