We've written extensively about the Mariners' backend starters Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo, their talent, their upside, and what they could fetch in a trade this offseason. While I would love to wake up to a blockbuster trade that creates a little more depth in the lineup, Miller might just be making folks change their minds.
The lanky Texan follows George Kirby's lead by picking up a splitter to neutralize left-handed bats. 2023 was a tale of two seasons for Miller, as he came out of the gate firing his high-RPM, rising fastball, a la Spencer Strider. However, after a month in the show, the league caught up, specifically lefties.
Miller leaned on his dynamic four-seam fastball (58.5%), with his slider the second most thrown pitch (19%). He also has a sweeper, sinker, changeup, and curveball. The changeup was Miller's effective weapon against lefties (.167 BAA); however, having a pitch that he could tunnel with his four-seamer was always the next step. Enter the splitter, and by the looks of it, this pitch could be a game-changer.
The 24-year-old hurler started throwing the splitter in early December, and it already ranks in the Top 5 in vertical and horizontal movement and 5th lowest in spin. The early results should excite even the most casual Mariner fan because this guy is already itching to evolve his game and is your number four starter for 2024 unless he ends up on the other side of a trade for a young, cost-controlled bat. My gut says keeping Miller around might be the more prudent play.