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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-23, Shelby Miller

Where did I put my deadhorse.png?

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-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 23: Shelby Miller

  • Date of birth: October 10, 1990
  • Ht/Wt: 6’3”, 225 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 20 games, 101.0 IP, 6.15 ERA, 70:42 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 5.12 [pattern of votes below]

It’s hard to come with anything remotely new or interesting to say about Miller. His 2016 season was one of the most painful single-season performances of all time for D-backs fans, and his failings analyzed to the point of obsession. The concerning thing is the absence of an obvious explanation for the struggles: it wasn’t as if he was officially hurt, and the mechanical issues seemed to come out of nowhere. However, in terms of mental attitude anyway, Miller seems focused and ready to go, saying, “My velocity is up, my stuff is way sharper than it was at this point (last season), so my mindset is clear slate going into 2017, ready to go and help this team win.”

He also got a vote of confidence from manager Torey Lovullo: “I’m watching a guy that’s dedicated, focused, paying attention to his bullpens and just really working hard in the moment; and then when you walk by him he has a really intense look on his face. There’s a lot really good components that are going into the success that he’s having right now. We just want to see that continue to play out each and every outing.” Understandably, after 2016, we fans will want rather more out of Miller than “a really intense look”, although his last couple of outings that year were among his best by Game Score, so offered some cause for optimism.

All this therefore makes spring training probably more irrelevant for Miller than any other player on the roster, though it’s probably close to a no-win situation. If he pitches badly, it’ll be seen as a sign his struggles will continue; if he pitches well, it’s only spring training. What he does once the Opening Day bell rings, in a little over three weeks, is all that matters.

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