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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-34, Jared Miller

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A possible dark horse for a bullpen spot?

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 34: Jared Miller

  • Date of birth: August 21, 1993
  • Ht/Wt: 6’7”, 240 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: Non-roster invitee
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • 2016 MLB numbers: N/A
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.48 [pattern of votes below]

The tallest man in spring training for the D-backs, a couple of inches above the next-biggest (fellow non-roster invitee Brian Matusz), Miller has a chance to make an equally big impression in camp. He pitched at four levels of the Diamondbacks farm system this year, starting off in A-ball at Kane County. But after nine outings there, having tossed 14.1 scoreless innings with only four hits allowed, he went up to High-A Visalia. He only lasted a month there, before moving on again, to Double-A Mobile, and he then got a taste of Triple-A life, spending two weeks with the Reno Aces at the beginning of August, before finishing the regular minor-league season back at Mobile.

I say, “regular”, because Miller then came to the Arizona Fall League, and that’s where he really opened eyes. The 23-year-old reliever faced some of the game’s top hitting prospects there, and was utterly dominant - 18.1 scoreless innings, with 30 strikeouts. Only one starting pitcher had more K’s, and the last to throw even 15 scoreless innings in the AFL was some guy called Jake Arrietta in 2007. It got Miller onto an awful lot of people’s radars: as he said, "These are all guys that are on the cusp of the Majors, and being sent here tells you the organization thinks you're on the cusp too. How you do here tells you how you fit in, how your stuff plays, that kind of stuff. I feel pretty confident right now." Justifiably so, I’d say!

He had been a starter prior to this year, and initially saw the move to the bullpen as a demotion. But that background and recent starting experience perhaps make him well-suited as an Andrew Miller type, capable of lasting longer than a single frame - the majority of our Miller’s 45 minor-league outings this year, involved him getting four or more outs, with seventeen lasting two-plus innings. Being a left-hander also increases his value, though in 2016, Miller actually had a reverse split, holding right-handed hitters to a .141 average. He may not make the Opening Day roster, but it would surprise no-one if he is helping the Arizona bullpen at some point this season.

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