Andrew Miller Emerging as a Solid Shutdown Reliever for Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller knows a thing or two about second chances. After being drafted in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft, failed attempts as a starting pitcher with the Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins (then the Florida Marlins) led him to become a middle reliever for the Red Sox. However, after consistent success during his four-year tenure with the Red Sox, Miller has emerged as one of the top shutdown relievers in the American League, getting key outs and making things easier for the Boston bullpen.
In eleven appearances during the 2014 season, Miller has gone 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Due to his success, Miller has been elevated to being a late-inning reliever in 2014 alongside Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica. With encouragement from manager John Farrell, the 28-year-old southpaw has made ten appearances in the seventh inning or later, often in critical situations for the Red Sox.
Despite getting more opportunities in the later innings, Miller has been a key factor for the Red Sox whenever he is needed. Throughout the season, Miller has held batters to a .152 batting average, meaning that hitters are rarely able to master his offerings. Also, Miller has held opposing left-handed hitters to a .067 average, striking out six out of a possible 18 hitters from the left side of the plate.
As a 6’7” southpaw, Miller is able to get leverage over many hitters that come in his path. He has a fastball that averages out at 95 miles per hour, and supplements that with a solid slider-changeup combination. Miller has the capacity to strike out many batters, and his pitch arsenal is a major factor towards his newfound success in 2014.
In essence, Miller is taking advantage of many opportunities to shine as a reliever in the Boston Red Sox bullpen. Although he is coming off arm surgery that ended his 2013 season, Miller has come back stronger than ever, showing off faster velocity on all of his pitches. Miller has the tools to strengthen the back end of the Red Sox bullpen, and will look to do so as the Red Sox progress deeper into the 2014 season.