This past MLB draft, the Phillies loaded up pitching. After picking stud short stops Bryson Stott and Jamari Baylor in the first and third round, the ballclub selected pitcher Erik Miller in the fourth round (120 overall).
Miller’s availability at this stage in the draft was a surprise. He was ranked 61 on by the MLB going into the draft. His 6’5, 240-pound frame showcases raw power on the mound. This allows him to have a fastball that can touch upwards of 97 mph.
Since the draft, Miller was able to move up three levels in a single minor league season. He worked his way to the Lakewood Blueclaws by the end of the season. Last season, he combined for a 1.50 ERA in 36 total innings pitched. He is expected to start there again this season.
His impressive resume has allowed him to be ranked 9th in the Phillies’ farm system by MLB.com
I had the opportunity to speak with Erik and hear what it is like to be in the Phillies’ farm system.
Being you are a high ranked prospect, and the Phillies currently in win-now mode, do you ever fear being dealt in a trade or are you confident that you will help this club win a World Series?
Everyone’s goal when they are drafted is to make it to the major league club and help them win a World Series. My goal is no different, my focus is to keep improving and help the Phillies win.
What was it like moving up not just one, but three levels in a single season in your first professional season?
Getting to experience the bottom three levels was certainly an interesting ride this past summer. I expected to spend the whole summer in Williamsport with the Short-A season club and was pleased to spend the last couple weeks experiencing Low A ball. I think having experience from college was helpful in allowing me to move up so many levels in such a short amount of time.
How much has the Phillies organization coached you? In what areas do you feel like you have improved since college (what changes have you made)?
The pitching instruction I’ve received so far from the Phillies has been amazing. One of my favorite things about the organization is the overarching pitching philosophy they employ, and this includes general mechanics they like most pitchers to do. This is key because you hear of guys moving up levels and the pitching coaches trying to change their deliveries to their own liking, causing confusion with the player. I experienced nothing like this as at every level everyone was on the same page with what they wanted me to do. Mechanics is the biggest area I feel like I’ve improved upon since college, as my delivery now allows me to more consistently throw strikes.
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Mandatory Photo Credit: Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP