Prospect Profile: Zach Miner

Zach Miner has had plenty of potential throughout his minor league career; likely the reason the Tigers decided to take a chance on him last summer in the trade for Kyle Farnsworth. Can Miner turn the corner and make the Tigers content with their move?

Zach Miner
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-3 Weight: 190
Born: 3/12/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Miner was considered an elite pitching prospect coming out of high school, with a strong commitment to the University of Miami, where he would have competed for a spot in the weekend rotation as a freshman. Zach slipped in the draft as a result of this commitment, and the Braves snatched him in the 4th round, buying out of his obligation with a $1.2 million contract. Having progressed steadily through the Atlanta organization without ever really dominating his competition, Miner was dealt to the Tigers in last July's Kyle Farnsworth trade. Major Leaguer Roman Colon got a lot of the hype in that deal, but the Tigers feel they got quite a steal in Miner. Zach joined the AAA Toledo Mudhens for the remainder of 2005, and posted a 2.36 ERA in 6 starts for the International League champions.

Scouting Report
Miner's taken some steps in the wrong direction over the last few years, losing his aggressiveness on the mound, and falling behind hitters consistently. Zach has a good sinking fastball that sits in the 89-92 range consistently. Coming out of high school, he was considered to have above-average control, but has regressed, trying to paint corners and make the perfect pitch. Zach also has a above-average slider that he keeps down in the zone; combined with his sinker, he has the ability to induce a lot of groundballs. Miner's change-up lags behind significantly, and is a pitch he can't really count on consistently. His overall package and raw ability are enough to make him a very good middle of the rotation starter, but his unwillingness to attach hitters leaves him struggling in the minors. If Miner can begin to throw more strikes without worrying about the perfect pitch, he could have an extremely high GB:FB ratio and get a legitimate shot in the Major Leagues.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

AAA

Richmond

1-7

4.23

17

17

0

63

45

89.1

1.59

AAA

Toledo

3-1

2.36

6

6

0

20

20

34.1

1.40


Health Record
Miner has been healthy throughout his professional career.

The Future
Miner will head back to Toledo for the 2006 season, and if things go awry at the Major League level, he could get a brief look in the Tiger bullpen. The organization will be working hard on getting him to go after hitters early in the count and use his movement to his advantage. If Miner is able make strides with his desire and competitiveness on the mound, he'll make believers out of a lot of skeptics. The Tigers are convinced Miner was the steal of the Farnsworth deal, and they're certainly hoping he'll prove the correct in 2006. Look for Zach to help anchor a deep Toledo rotation, and don't be surprised to see him in Detroit at some point soon.

Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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