School: Brownwood High School, Texas
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (1): Bucking their recent trends in regards to the draft, the Cardinals drafted a high risk, high reward prep pitcher in the first round of last June's draft. That pitcher, Shelby Miller, was considered by some to be the top right-handed high school pitcher in the draft. Bonus concerns caused him to drop to the Cardinals and the organization went above slot to get a deal done with the Texan.
Miller has a fastball that can touch 97 though he usually works 92-93. Very polished for his age, he uses an easy, repeatable delivery that provides good life on his fastball. His curveball has the makings of a plus pitch and his changeup could eventually be a plus pitch as well.
The teenager represents the team's first potential ace it has drafted since Dan Haren and Rick Ankiel. The burnout rate for high school pitchers is great but with his work ethic, Miller has the makings to be a special player.
Message board community (2): Shelby Miller was also the community's second prospect, though there were some votes for him to be first. Per one scouting report, his four-seam fastball sits around 93-95 mph, at the tender age of 18. Various reports say that it has hit 96-98 mph. Multiple reports suggest that he could add velocity as he learns more, using his back leg more. He has the height at 6-foot-4 to be a serious power pitcher.
He throws a curve, but it is said to need work. And his change will need more work than that. One report said he throws a slider, too, at about 87 mph. Consistent reports indicate that he needs to work on his command. He seems to have repeatable mechanics and a good head for pitching. Miller got attention when he threw three consecutive no-hitters as a junior. Given the various reports about command and secondary pitches, I don't expect him to rise that fast but it could be great fun to watch him progress. If Miller hits his ceiling, we'll all have cricks in our necks. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (2): It is encouraging to have a high-ceiling youngster in the top pitching prospect ranks again. The Cardinals have taken the rap for having focused more on known quantity with lower ceiling than higher risk top quality in their recent drafts. Yet the choice of Miller and several other early 2010 picks (Joe Kelly, Scott Bittle) demonstrate the organization is willing to take some chances.
Having said that, I resisted the temptation to rank Miller first in the entire system solely on the basis of his high school work and two end-of-season outings as a professional. Miller has every incentive to work hard and grow into his potential, but it is too early to comment about his work ethic, value as a teammate or any of that.
The collective eyes of the Cardinal Nation will be on Quad Cities in 2010. Following the departure of so many other top prospects and the need to restock, rightly or wrongly, Miller now carries the flag for the entire player development organization. Here's hoping the 19-year-old is up to the challenge.
Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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