Reason #2: Anti-Gravity Four Seamer
MLB Insider Jeff Passan recently joined Seattle Sports 710-morning show, Brock and Salk, and offered an interesting comparison for Miller: Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider. The main reason is the lack of drop on their fastballs. His debut against the Oakland, I mean Las Vegas Athletics, included 57 four-seam fastballs with an average decline of 9.5 inches. Perennial AL All-Star Gerrit Cole is the only MLB pitcher to throw more four-seam fastballs in the game with a less average drop.
Hitting a 96-mile-per-hour fastball is hard, but gravity is the great equalizer. Hitters are used to gravity taking hold and pitches entering the zone around the same general area. Their swings account for the natural drop of a baseball as it is hurled toward the plate. Bryce Miller's four-seamer doesn't care about gravity. Additionally, he has excellent pitch command; he's thrown 68% of the time. For pitchers like Strider and Miller, it's almost like they have an anti-gravity switch on their fastball, and it's an elite weapon.
Reason #3: We've Seen This Movie Before
You wouldn't be lying if calling a top pitching prospect in May looks familiar because it is. Last season, Dipoto called up George Kirby in May, and the slender righthander gave this team a shot in the arm on the backend of the rotation. The 24-year-old righthander would finish in the Top 5 in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He also authored one of the most dominating postseason starts in Mariner history.
While Kirby has elite command of his four-pitch repertoire, Miller offers up the anti-gravity four-seamer, two sliders, and a changeup. The similarities are the build, stoic nature on the mound and that one elite pitch. Additionally, Miller could be this year's version of Kirby, solidifying the backend of the rotation and lining up with Castillo for a dynamic 1-2 punch late in the season.
Two starts into the 2023 season, Bryce Miller sure looks like the real deal. Straight from New Braunfels High School, deep in the heart of Texas. Do you know what his high school mascot was? A unicorn...sounds about right.