On June 26th, the Pirates made a move that had some fans scratching their heads. The Pirates signed pitcher Shelby Miller to a minor league contract and sent to the Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis. When you sit back and look at the move, it makes sense in terms of a depth move and having more bodies when August and September come along.
Now that we are creeping into September, we will start to see call-ups occurring–maybe not at the pace it was in the past due to the new September call-up rule–but we will see moves nonetheless. Monday afternoon, news came that Miller is expected to get the call to join the major league club.
A nine-year veteran, Miller stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds. Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1st round of the 2009 MLB draft, Miller finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2013 after going 15-9 for the Cards. After leading the league in losses in 2015 with the Atlanta Braves (despite a 3.02 ERA), his career has fallen on hard times, bouncing around from Arizona to Texas to the Chicago Cubs.
Since being signed by the Pirates he’s pitched 14.0 innings with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate, struck out 22, walked three, and held opponents to just a .189 batting average. When the Pirates make the move to call Miller up, the big question is where they will use him. In Miller’s ten games, he’s only started one of them, so it’s possible they’ll use him as a long reliever or in a spot start.