California Baptist University doesn’t jump to mind as a baseball powerhouse, but for a Division II school, its becoming a manufacturer of big-league pitching talent. The Chicago Cubs selected Tyson Miller in the 4th round of the draft, making him the sixth Lancers’ pitcher to be selected in the MLB draft in as many years.
Miller became the highest Lancer drafted in school history. Trevor Oaks, his former teammate and current member of AA Tulsa was drafted in the 7th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014.
“Head Coach Gary Adcock should be given a lot of the credit,” Miller said. “He knows what’s best for us. Sometimes he knows more of what we need than we know ourselves. In the long run, we would always see that he was right.”
Coach Adcock instills tremendous preparation, a fast tempo and an attack style of pitching into his starters.
“If they’re ringing the bell for a fight, we’re not meeting you in the middle, we’re actually going to go to your corner,” coach Adcock said. “We don’t spend much time in-between pitches. Our pitchers are on the mound and ready to go.”
In today’s day and age, where fans constantly complain about the length of games, this style is a refreshing change of pace from the methodical pitching baseball fans and scouts have become accustomed to.
This up-beat style of pitching is perfect for Miller. His coaches tout him as a steady, “poker-face” pitcher. He’s not fiery on the bump, you won’t see him pound his chest or scream after a big strikeout. Internally, he’s as competitive as they come, but on the surface, he’s calm, cool and collected at all times.
“I try to have a short memory up there,” Miller said. “If the other team sees you showing emotion, they can get in your head. Then they win. You’ll never know if I’m upset with myself or if I’m happy with myself on the mound.”
Miller spent last Summer pitching in the Cape Cod League as a member of the Brewster Whitecaps. Six of his Whitecap teammates were selected in the first two rounds of the draft. During his time there, he proved that he had the ability to pitch against the best collegiate hitters in the country.
“I think from a confidence stand-point, though he already believed in himself, the Cape Cod experience really stamped it,” Adcock said. “He chose to come to CBU because he believed in the coaching staff and the program, but last Summer he was able to show that he can pitch anywhere in the country.”
He and his coaches agree that he has plenty of work left to do. In college, he relied heavily on his fastball (91-94 MPH) and his slider (81-84 MPH). On those two pitches alone, he was able to carve through Division II lineups.
Now, he’ll be challenged to feature his secondary pitches more often. He throws a change-up (81 MPH) and a 12-6 curveball (72-74 MPH), and he believes he’ll need to master these pitches in order to succeed at the next level.
Since high school, Miller has added 25 pounds onto his 6-foot-4 frame. With his broad shoulders, Coach Adcock believes he can gain another 25 pounds which would benefit his velocity greatly.
During high school, Miller didn’t receive a single Division I offer. “My senior year of high school, I didn’t think I was going to get to play college ball until Cal-Baptist gave me the opportunity,” he said.
Now, just three years later, Miller is fulfilling a life-long dream of being selected in the MLB draft. There’s a long road ahead of the young right-hander, but he’s thrilled to make the next step in his baseball career.