First round pick Bobby Miller made a giant leap this past spring to convince the Dodgers to draft him.
Los Angeles Dodgers scout Marty Lamb has become a bit of a legend among diehard Dodger fans.
A scout for the organization since 1999, he is responsible for covering Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee, areas that have become extremely fruitful in producing top-end baseball talent. Lamb is credited for influencing six of the past ten Dodgers first round picks, including players such as Walker Buehler and Will Smith.
His latest scouting work resulted in the Dodgers selecting pitcher Bobby Miller from the University of Louisville with their 29th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
A tall, imposing right-hander, Miller entered this past spring season with question marks surrounding his command and secondary pitches. Lamb said it was a visit to see him throw in a scrimmage that proved something had changed since the previous fall.
“I had seen Bobby Miller freshman, sophomore, Fall of his junior year,” Lamb said on Dodger Talk this week. “And to be honest with you, going into the year, I thought, ‘We’ve got some big guy that throws really hard, but the command’s not great and he’s got to get a better breaking ball.’ Then in the first scrimmage he pitched this spring, I walked away going, ‘Whoa, this is way different than what we had seen in the past. His command was much better, and the breaking ball had improved, as well as his change-up.'”
The shortened season might have helped the Dodgers secure Miller late in the first round.
“To be honest with you, if they had played a whole season, I think he continues to go out and throw the ball well,” Lamb said. “And I don’t know if he gets to us where he did [with the 29th overall pick].”
Bobby Miller used a shortened season to cement his status among Dodgers scouts.
Miller used his improved approach to earn a 2-0 record in his four starts for the Cardinals. He struck out 34 hitters in 23.1 innings of work, and finished the shortened campaign with a 2.31 ERA, an improvement over his 3.83 ERA the season before.
In 2019, the 6-foot-5 right-hander showed flashes of dominance with his fastball, but walked 38 batters in 80 innings and his unreliable command resulted in eight hit batters and eight wild pitches.
The Dodgers have $5.9 million to sign 2020 draft picks. They were able to sign fifth-round pick Gavin Stone well under slot at $100,000, which should help them secure Miller, whose slot value is at $2.4 million.