Prospect Profile: Cole Miller

Coming into the season, the Tigers were expecting Cody Collet to step up at the catcher position, but injuries slowed Collet in his first season. In stepped Miller, as the rookie grabbed the job, and kept by forcing the team to keep his bat in the lineup.

Cole Miller
Position: Catcher Height: 5-11 Weight: 200
Born: 10/20/1984 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
The Tigers took a gamble in the 12th round of the 2004 draft on Cole out of the College of the Siskiyous. Miller was a little known catching prospect with aspirations of moving on to Division I after the 2004 college season. That is, until the Tigers came calling. Miller strung together such an impressive season with the Eagles that the Tigers felt they couldn't pass up the opportunity to draft him. After leading his conference in many offensive categories in junior college, Miller was sent to the Gulf Coast League to start his professional career. Despite some initial struggles in adapting to a wood bat, Miller posted encouraging power numbers by knocking five homeruns in only 130 at-bats, a rather impressive number for a complex league full of raw prospects.

Scouting Report
For a small school player, Miller has a pretty impressive skill set, based on top of a baseball pedigree. His father, uncle, and brother all played collegiate baseball and some were drafted in lower rounds in the past. Offensively, Cole displays very good bat speed and solid strike zone judgment. His bat speed allows him to generate above average power despite his smaller frame. Miller patterns much of his offensive game after Jason Kendall, including his ability to steal bases and take an extra base when available. Above average speed and quickness also allow Cole to excel defensively. Miller gets to bunts and weak grounders quickly in front of the plate, and does a solid job blocking balls in the dirt. A strong arm and good footwork results in a high percentage of base stealers being caught. As an overall catching prospect, Miller possesses the offensive and defensive skills necessary to excel at the professional level. With increased plate discipline and continued power development, Miller could forge himself into one of the systems top catching prospects.

Performance

Year

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

SLG%

OPS

2004

GCL Tigers

130

.269

4

5

16

37

5

.431

.723


Health Record
Miller has sustained no injuries to this point in his career.

The Future
Cole will likely start the 2005 season with Oneonta of the New York-Penn League, possibly fighting with Cody Collet for playing time. Oneonta will pose a unique challenge for Miller, as it is a difficult hitter's environment. It will be difficult to discern any progress aside from improved strike zone judgment, and better contact rates, but progress should be evident none-the-less. Defensively, it is likely Miller will excel against still young and inexperienced players. With a log-jam of catching prospects, including Cody Collet, Dusty Ryan, Andrew Graham, Justin Barnes, and James Skelton, it will be difficult for Miller to move up during mid-season. Despite the low likelihood of promotion, expect Miller to make some noise and possibly force the issue, possibly seeing time with West Michigan late in the season. Cole is still fairly raw, and a long ways from seeing Detroit, but shouldn't be discounted in any discussion of Tiger catching prospects.


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