Dodgers Sign #1 Pick LHP Aaron Miller

Former Baylor pitcher/outfielder Aaron Miller has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a signing bonus of $888,200 and will report to Great Lakes in the Midwest League. The Dodgers selected Miller 36th overall in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft.

The Dodgers selected Baylor University Junior Aaron Miller, a 6-3, 200 pounder who bats and throws left-handed. The two-way player much like James Loney hit well (.350 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 46 games) and also moved back to the pitching mound in 2009 and impressed scouts. The Dodgers drafted him as a pitcher.

"He's an athlete and I've got a propensity to taking guys that are athletes," White said, adding that he likened Miller to Dodgers first baseman James Loney "in reverse."

"Loney was a prospect as a pitcher," White said. "Aaron Miller is certainly a big league prospect as a hitter and a player. He hasn't been able to focus on pitching all the time, though, and in our professional judgment we think he's certainly got the best future to be a left-handed pitcher."

White said that once Miller starts pitching full-time, "our belief is he's going to shoot to the top of the charts."

Miller, who grew up admiring such pitching stars as Nolan Ryan and Andy Pettitte, said he was "excited about the prospect of pitching" for a "great baseball club." "He hit 90-94 on the gun and has a curve and a slider in the 83 mph range," White added. We're very happy he was still around when we got to our selection." White said. "When we look back, we're going to say 'what a great deal we got with that sandwich pick.'

"With the help of our player development staff, we see a bright future for him as a left-handed pitcher in the Erik Bedard mold. He is a terrific competitor and a first-class person with great makeup." Miler went 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA in 13 games with Baylor, with 65 strikeouts in 51 innings. As a hitter, he batted .310 with 12 homers and 47 RBIs in 186 at-bats.

Miller, a friend of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw from their Texas high-school days, worked out for the club at Dodger Stadium and indicated that he would be a quick sign because he wants to "get innings under my belt."

One scout said, "He's inexperienced on the mound he has a fresh arm. The Dodgers picking so late at 36th, felt they had to gamble a little bit to pick a player with high upside. They really liked him coming out of high school, and when he flashed a plus fastball and plus slider at times this spring, it was enough to take a chance and turn him into a pitcher."

Waiting through 35 picks on draft day proved to be more than a little nerve-wracking for the former Channelview High School star.

"I had all my friends and family over at the house," Miller said. "We watched the first round on TV, and then I went to the computer after that for the supplmental round. I really started getting antsy at that point, because there was a slim shot I could go there.

"Finally, just as the Mariners were picking at 33, the Dodgers called and said, ‘We really like you. You're our guy, and if you're there at 36, we're going to take you.' After I got off the phone, I walked into the other room and I tried to stay cool, but my smile gave it away. Once they announced my name, the whole house went crazy."

But even though he hadn't signed, he was already bleeding Dodger Blue.

"Being a Dodger speaks volumes, just with the history of that organization," said Miller, who worked out for Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, two days prior to the draft. "The stadium is one of the oldest still around, and it's a team with a lot of talented players, like Manny (Ramirez), (Chad) Billingsley, (Clayton) Kershaw. I can't really ask for much more."

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