25 in 25: Andrew Miller
June 23, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Andrew Miller (30) pitches in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Player Profile: Andrew Miller came to Boston by way of a minor league trade with the then Florida Marlins in late 2010. A former first round pick (sixth overall in 2006), Miller arrived in Florida as one of the centerpieces of the Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis deal. The 6-foot-7 left-hander possesses a low-90s fastball which he compliments with a changeup and a slider, though he has a tendency to rely heavily on his heat, instead of his secondary offering. A starting pitcher in college, Miller pitched at the University of North Carolina, starring with former Red Sox Daniel Bard to form one of the top duos in the country. Miller stuck to starting, with mixed results, through most of 2011. Miller found his niche in 2012 when he was moved to relief full-time.
2013 in review: Miller broke out in the first half of 2013, emerging as one of Boston’s most effective weapons out of the bullpen. Dominating left-handers in 2012, Miller developed into a potent all-around reliever in 2013, controlling not only left-handed batters but also holding batters on the right-hand side to a measly .153/.319/.207 line. While still prone to right-handed walks (note the .319 OBP against), Miller only allowed nine earned runs on the season, good for a 2.64 ERA. Granted, the left-hander appeared in only 37 games as he tore ligaments in his left foot on the July 6.
2014 Outlook: According to John Tomase, Miller should be good to go by spring training, giving manager John Farrell yet another strong bullpen piece. Farrell though, could struggle to find time for Miller, given the already stacked Boston bullpen. Miller will likely join Burke Badenhop, who was also acquired by Florida in the Cabrera deal, as part of a group of reliable middle relievers. Having this much depth for the middle innings could provide a huge boost for the 2014 Red Sox, as recent teams have had to rely on the likes of Alfredo Aceves and Justin Thomas to bridge the gap to the later innings.