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Cardinals top prospect Shelby Miller now pitching at Double-A

Jun 5, 2011, 11:28 AM EDT

shelby miller pose Getty Images

The Cardinals selected Texas high school pitcher Shelby Miller with the 19th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, confident that his sharp high-90s fastball could one day make him a major league ace.

That day may be coming soon.

Miller was promoted to Double-A Springfield last week after opening the 2011 season with a 2.89 ERA and a dominant 81/20 K/BB ratio over 53 innings at High-A Palm Beach. He struck out 140 batters in 104 1/3 innings last season with Low-A Quad Cities, issuing only 33 walks along the way.

This winter, Baseball America rated Miller as the 13th-best prospect in baseball. ESPN’s Keith Law had him as baseball’s No. 4 prospect last week.

The 20-year-old right-hander made his debut for the Springfield Cardinals on Friday in front of friends and family in Corpus Christi, Texas. He allowed just one earned run over six strong innings, fanning five batters against two walks and scattering seven hits to earn his first career victory above the Single-A level.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a quick profile of Miller late Saturday night. The Cardinals, who preach a pitch-to-contact approach with most of their starters, have been slowly molding his off-speed stuff to be as effective as his signature heater. Instead of throwing a looping curveball like he did in high school, Miller now has a “power curve” that is tighter and pairs better with his fastball.

Miller could jump to Triple-A Memphis by the start of next season and could arrive in the majors by mid-2012.

  1. thoran85 - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I know that pitching prospects are very difficult to count on when they are still in the A or AA ball level, but Miller and Carlos Martinez are pretty exciting to have in the system.

    The Cardinals will have a really nice core of Wainwright and Garcia coming into the 2012 and 2013 seasons, plus Westbrook is also signed for both as well. This should allow Miller to slot into the rotation with a lot of pressure to immediately become the ace of the team, which is always helpful on young pitchers.

    When you consider that Carlos Martinez may also be ready for a mid-season call up around 2013, that rotation could be really nasty. Both Miller and Martinez throw serious heat, both of which scouts are saying have top of the rotation stuff. (Interesting to read too that although Law believes Miller might be the best pitching prospect in the minors right now, he thinks that Martinez may actually be better)

    These two guys, along with Zack Cox, are really important for the Cardinals ability to be competitive over the next 3-8 years, especially if the club re-signs Albert to a monster deal.

    • thoran85 - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      * Obviously, I meant to say “…Miller to slot into the rotation without a lot of pressure…”

  2. cintiphil - Jun 6, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    The rich keep getting richer.

    • grizz2202 - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Phil, cmon. I respect you as a Cincy fan (you’re the only one that seems to be balanced and reasonable on this site anyway), but you have two legit MVP candidates and a good, young team.

      While the Cards may be getting “richer” in terms of talent, you’re not exactly the Pirates.

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