Erik Miller is the Phuture Phillies’ Readers’ #10 Pick.
Erik Christopher Miller was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents are Tom and Karen Miller. Erik played three years varsity at De Smet Jesuit HS in St. Louis. He wasn’t drafted out of high school and attended Stanford University for three years.
2013-2016: As a sophomore, Miller pitched in 67 games, starting two. He went 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA. He walked 10 and struck out 17 in 13.0 innings.
In his junior year, Miller made 8 starts and went 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA. He walked 19 and struck out 52 in 29.3 innings.
As a senior, Miller made 11 starts and posted a 3-4 record with a 3.14 ERA. He walked 21 and struck out 58 in 42.3 innings.
Miller was a member of the 2015 18U USA Baseball National Team 28-man roster but DNP. He was captain of the varsity his senior year. Miller was included in the 2016 Prep Baseball USA Top 25, the 2016 Baseball America USA Top 25, and received the 2016 U.S. Army Reserve Scholar Athlete Award.
2017: Miller was a midweek starter his freshman year for Stanford. He made 13 starts and 4 relief appearances. He posted a 5-2 record, one save, and 3.65 ERA. He walked 21 and struck out 34 in 61.2 innings. In the Pac-12, he allowed the second fewest runs (28), third fewest hits (62), fifth fewest earned runs (25), and eighth fewest walks (21).
2018: Miller made 13 starts and posted a 4-4 record with a 4.07 ERA. He walked 23 and struck out 52 in 48.2 innings. He started Sundays, Saturdays, and mid-week.
2019: Miller posted an 8-3 record and 3.48 ERA in 16 starts. He walked 46 and struck out 102 in 82.2 innings. He struck out a career-high 12 batters in 5.2 innings against Fresno State. He was the Sunday pitcher for 14 starts and pitched twice on Saturday.
Miller and the Cardinal finished the season 45-14 with their fifth-best winning percentage (.763) They were ranked #4 when they lost to #3 Mississippi State to end their season in the super regionals.
Miller was selected to Baseball America’s 2019 Preseason All-America second team and later selected to the Pac-12 2019 All-Academic honorable mention.
Miller was drafted by the Phillies in the 4th round of the 2019 Amateur Draft, the 120th pick overall.
2019: Miller started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, quickly moved up to short-season in Williamsport, and finished the season in full-season A-ball with Lakewood. Across all three levels, he made 11 appearances, 7 starts with a 1-0 record, and a 1.50 ERA. In 36.0 innings, he faced 154 batters, walked 15, and struck out 52.
2021: Miller’s 2021 season started and ended on the injury list. He made just 5 appearances (all starts) with the GCL, Clearwater (Low-A), and Jersey Shore (High-A). He posted a 0-0 record and a 1.42 ERA. In 12.2 innings, he faced 58 batters, walked 11, and struck out 16.
To get Miller some more innings, the Phillies sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He made 6 appearances in relief, pitched 10.0 innings, and faced 40 batters. He didn’t get a decision but did post a 1.80 ERA. He walked 7 and struck out 12.
Prior to the 2021 season, Prospects Live prepared a scouting report on Miller that wasn’t published until September.
Scouting Report From February 2021
Physical Description: Long, well-built, sturdy build. Solid upper half, a bit thinner lower half. Tall frame, but has a slight muscular build with broad shoulders and strong legs. Prototypical starting pitcher build with durable physique. Miller will need to utilize his lower half a bit better if he’s to get the most out of his large frame and get higher consistent readings on the radar gun.
Delivery & Mechanics: Upper-body heavy with some energy loss in the lower half. Arm action can get long as Miller tends to break hands late and lacks elbow spiraling. Rhythm and timing in the delivery have been an issue and inconsistent for Miller in the past, though that seems to be cleaning itself up as he’s become comfortable in pro ball.
Fastball: Generally a low-90s offering, up to 95. Miller’s fastball has above-average spin and does possess a good bit of hop as it reaches the plate. Shows a better ability to spot the pitch off the plate as opposed to pitching inside to lefties; more comfortable landing the heater glove-side. Command can waver and velo tends to dip after 60 or so pitches. Grade: 50
Slider: Low 80s breaking ball, up to 85. Gyro-heavy slider with great depth and tunnel off the fastball. Big swing and miss pitch. Devastating when ahead in the count. Hasn’t shown the ability to pitch backward. Slider success may be incumbent on strides taken with fastball command. Easy plus pitch when useable. Grade: 60
Changeup: Mid 80s offering, peaking at 86. Miller does an efficient job-killing spin on the changeup and separation off the fastball is good. Has been more effective against lefties into their backfoot. Not a ton of depth on the pitch, but good fading life. Command is fringy but can be an out-pitch to left-handed hitters. Not as effective in live looks against righties. Grade: 50
Control and Command: Command on the fastball will be the biggest question mark on Miller moving forward. The slider and changeup are both spotted with the propensity expected from secondary offerings, but too often he’s found himself falling behind in counts and having to serve up a fastball to good hitters. Control: 45 | Command: 45
Overall: Miller is a very big, very strong left-handed pitcher. The body absolutely looks like it could withstand the rigors of starting at the next level, but he’ll need to clean things up to reach that ceiling. Command is the biggest thing holding him back, as well as potentially a couple notches on the radar gun. The slider is a no-doubt swing-and-miss offering, especially playing off his high-spin fastball, but he’ll need to show the ability to get ahead more in counts if he’s to pitch more than an inning or so at a time.
Role: 40 – Spot Starter or Long Reliever
I spoke with Miller at the Complex after his first appearance. I asked him about the difference between his reported velocity of upper 90s and the 95-97 he threw that day. He said in college he threw hard to get noticed. He realized he would have to cut back a little to throw strikes. It worked in 2019 when he lowered his BB/9 to 3.8 from the higher numbers he had his sophomore and junior years at Stanford and in summer league ball. It did jump back up in 2021, but that was after the lost 2020 season, minimum innings due to a late start due to injury (12.2), and a small sample in the AFL (10.0).