Bryce Miller readies for breakout sophomore season

Analytically-driven starter unveils new pitch to team with an elite fastball, which could be the catalyst for a huge 2024.

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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Bryce Miller, Mariners' resident Texan, took the league by storm in his first ten starts last season, flashing an elite fastball with a ride similar to Braves' ace Spencer Strider. Fun fact: Miller was the first Mariner starter to rack up double-digit strikeouts in his debut. Those first ten starts were all about the fastball, as Miller threw it nearly 60% of the time. Then, the league caught up to him, causing the 23-year-old to hone his secondary pitches at the major league level, which is tricky.

He leaned on two slider variations last season: a traditional slider that held opposing batters to a .202 average and a sweeper with middling results (.300). However, there was another glaring issue that came to a head throughout the season, and that's the need for a pitch to attack lefties. When your division includes Corey Seager, Nathaniel Lowe, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez, some pitch that dives away from their powerful bats is a must. Enter the splitter.

Miller realized the need for some offspeed work this offseason as clips of his bullpens are leaking on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter).

When the lanky Texan unveiled the fledging offspeed offering in December, Chris Clegg dove into the analytics on the pitch. The results in Miller's early stages of developing the splitter were off the charts. The data behind the pitch has Miller in the top five in vertical movement, horizontal movement, and spin. There is a good chance the current data is even better nearly two months later. Now, if he can tunnel the splitter with the elite rising four-seamer, we are talking about the Mariners burying a guy with number two starter upside in the five spot.

There's been a ton of smoke this offseason surrounding the Mariners receiving calls on Bryce Miller (and Bryan Woo). Fortunately, they held onto their young pitching, continue to develop those arms, and will reap the benefits of an analytically driven Miller who looks primed to make a massive leap in his sophomore season.