Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pickup of the Day: March 21,2009

Andrew Miller

Premier Edition

What is the Pickup of the Day, you ask?

To clarify, I'll first explain what it is not. It is not going to be me simply naming one of the top 5 or 6 available free agents and telling you why you should go pick him up. It also is not going to be me naming a very obscure player that only very involved baseball fans even know about.
It is a forum that allows me to discuss a particular transaction that has already happened within the last 24 hours or so that I find intriguing for whatever reason. It could be a player that I have picked up. It could be a player that someone in one of my leagues has picked up. I could even pick a transaction from one of your leagues if you like. Just forward your league URL to my email and I will periodically take a look at it.

Today's pickup is Andrew Miller. Andrew Miller has been intriguing to me for a while. He is sort of one of those post-prospect-not-yet-a-bust type of guys, but he is still only 23 years old so the upside is still there. He was supposed to break out last year, but in reality he needed to go spend another year in the minors to work on a changeup. But a funny thing happened on his way to another pitch, he was traded to the Marlins. And since the Marlins prefer to let their prospects mature with the big league club (which has worked out pretty well for them, so I'm not exactly knocking it), he spent last year in Miami, going 6-10 with a 5.81 ERA in 20 starts. His K:BB ratio was less than 2:1 and he fell off of a lot of fantasy players' radars heading into this season.

This spring, Miller has been working on developing that much-needed changeup. He had to alter his delivery a bit to incorporate it into his arsenal, and that will always take time. His first couple of starts showed that he still has some work to do, but his outing yesterday showed some major improvements, especially regarding the off-speed stuff. He described it as "kinda exciting". And he's been going on and on about how he's encouraged about the 2009 season.

I'm not implying that any of this is a sign that he's definitively ready to take the next step. And he shouldn't be picked up in a 10-team mixed league or anything. But in a 12 team NL-only league, where your other option is Livan Hernandez, I'd say absolutely go with Miller.

I actually picked him up in a deep 12-team mixed league after an auction in which I left myself short-handed on starters and in desperate need of upside on my pitching staff as a whole. Maybe it will take Miller all year to fully incorporate his changeup into his reperoire, but with his already huge upside I'm willing to take a gamble that he is ready sooner rather than later.

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