Dodgers take hard-throwing Louisville right-hander with 1st-round pick

first_img Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “I’m not gonna lie, this hurts my head,” Miller said with a smile. “He’s got a small head. But I felt like it’s the right situation to wear it right now. Honestly I don’t want to take it off even though it’s hurting my head.”It is the third time in the Andrew Friedman era that the Dodgers have taken a player out of the University of Louisville with a top pick.In 2016, the Dodgers took catcher Will Smith with the 32nd pick overall. In 2015, they took another Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser with the 35th pick overall. Funkhouser did not sign, returned to Louisville for his senior season and tumbled to the fourth round of the 2016 draft — a drop from $1.75 million to $750,000 in slot value. Funkhouser, now 26, has been unimpressive during three seasons in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system. Another Louisville product, infielder Devin Mann, was the Dodgers’ fifth-round pick two years ago.The 6-foot-5 Miller is considered one of the hardest throwers in this year’s draft with a fastball that has touched 100 mph and a slider that approaches 90 mph.“I think his size, his athleticism and he averaged 95 miles an hour on his fastball — I think those three ingredients are a pretty good foundation to start,” Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino said. “And then you start layering on how improved his secondary pitches were, multiple plus ones. And I think just the character of the kid, the makeup and all our intel on him was very strong.” Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Bobby Miller followed Reid Detmers plenty of times. This time, it pinched a little.The lead starter at the University of Louisville, Detmers was expected to be a top pick in Wednesday’s MLB draft. Preparing for coverage on ESPN and MLB Network, Detmers was one of the potential draftees who received a cellphone and hats for all 30 MLB teams.The Angels cap got camera time when they took Detmers with the 10th pick overall. A little less than two hours later, Miller was able to pluck the Dodgers cap from the leftovers and proudly put it on for a Zoom call with reporters after the Dodgers made him the 29th and final pick of Wednesday’s first round.There was just one problem. A Freshman All-American after going 6–1 with a 2.97 ERA at Louisville, Miller had some control issues at times during this sophomore but took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a Super Regional against East Carolina last spring, still touching 95 mph in that final inning.That was enough to make him “an intriguing option coming into the year,” Gasparino said. The year didn’t last very long. Miller made four starts for Louisville before college baseball was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. He had a 2.31 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings, holding batters to a .181 average.That was enough to demonstrate to Dodgers scout Marty Lamb that Miller had made significant strides as a junior.“Marty was at his first start and really did a great job of ringing the bell early and identifying that he had made the jump we thought was possible,” Gasparino said.“We knew he’s a great athlete. We knew we had big arm strength. We were a little concerned on just strike-throwing, command, secondary pitches. And give the kid credit, he made big adjustments in his delivery. He made big adjustments in his slider. His overall fastball rose like three miles an hour.“So … it was kind of a offseason/early-season potential pick to click that quite frankly as soon as we saw the first start we were, ‘Wow, it happened.’”Miller said he knew he had “to make a really big improvement from last year to this year if I wanted to be the player I wanted to be.” He has continued to work on that during the lockdown.“I’ve really been taking advantage of this time,” he said. “The only thing I could do right now is get better and that’s what my main focus is.”Paired with Detmers at Louisville, Miller’s target now is to team up with his “favorite pitcher,” another right-hander scouted by Lamb and taken in the first round by the Dodgers — Walker Buehler.“He’s so electric on the mound and I love that,” Miller said. “That’s how I try to be too.“That’s something I take a big pride in is being the biggest competitor on the field and there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s the biggest competitor on the field when he’s on the mound.”Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img