Prospect #6 - RHP Aaron Miller

Logan White knew just what he was going to do with LHP Aaron Miller when Los Angeles made him their first selection in the 2009 draft, paying $888,200 for his signature on a contract. White, the Dodgers Assistant General Manager - Scouting, immediately said he would use him as a pitcher, instead of an outfielder as many had thought.

Miller pitched regularly in high school but excelled in the outfield for the Baylor Bears, drawing comparisons to Yankee outfielder Paul O'Neill. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder ranked second on the club in all three triple-crown stats at .354-11-43 as a sophomore after hitting .310 with 12 homers and 47 RBI as a freshman.

But when the top three Baylor pitchers ran into trouble, Miller moved back to the mound and became their best pitcher for most of the spring. He tired later in the season and finished with 3-3 record, a 5.12 ERA in 13 games and 65 strikeouts in 51 innings.

He displayed a 92-95 mph fastball and a nasty slider. His command was in and out as he worked the rust out of his arm and as a result became a first-round selection.

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 supplemental 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."

So the Dodgers ended up with another two-way player, much like James Loney who many thought should have been drafted as a pitcher. But unlike Loney, Miller switched from the plate to the rubber.

"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.

"He hit 90-94 on the gun and has a curve and a slider in the 83 mph range with Baylor. We're very happy he was still around when we got to our selection. He's a fresh arm having not pitched since high school." White said. "When we look back, we're going to say 'what a great deal we got with that sandwich pick.' "

White quickly realized his future was be on the mound and his performance bore that out. "He's an athlete and I've got a propensity to taking guys that are athletes," White said. "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."

"Our belief is he's going to shoot to the top of the charts."

And shoot up is just what he did.

Opening his first professional season with the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers, he made three starts, working 5.2 innings and striking out 10. With his sea legs under him, he was quickly shipped to the Great Lakes Loons.

And there he blossomed, starting seven times and crafting a 3-1 record with a 2.08 earned run average he allowed 22 hits in 30.1 innings, struck out 38 and allowed a .229 average.

In the Midwest League playoffs, he drew the opening start and blanked West Michigan on two hits over six innings while striking out nine to win the first playoff victory in Loons' history.

In the Division Championship round, Miller again drew the opening start and allowed only one hit over six innings while fanning four. He finished the post season by allowing three hits in 12 innings, striking out 13 and posting an 0.75 earned run average.

He earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League roster with the Peoria Javelinos and started three times against the top AAA and AA players in the league and allowed a single run in 4.1 innings and a 2.08 ERA before he was shut down for the season.

Assistant GM, Player Development De Jon Watson told truebluela.com that they hadn't determined where he would pitch in 2010 but "he's impressed everyone in the organization with not only his stuff but his poise."

White commented, "When we look back, we're going to say 'what a great deal we got with that sandwich pick."

AARON MILLER
6-32 200 bl tl
Born- September 18, 1987 in Channelview, Texas
School- Baylor University
 Team		w-l  era   gm  gs   in    h  bb  so  ave
AZ Rook		0-0  6.35   3   3   5.2   8   2  10  .320
GLakes		3-1  2.08   7   7  30.1  22  10  38  .229
--------------------------------------------------
 Totals		3-1  2.75  10  10  36.0  30  12  48  .229



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