The trade deadline came in like a mouse and left like a lion. After it was all said and done the Orioles had a new, hard-throwing, left-handed, clean-shaven, hyphen-inducing pitcher. His name is Andrew Miller and I'm about to give you all sorts of little fun facts you can throw around by the water cooler. So, enjoy that conical beverage. Here is the rundown on the new Bird.
So, it seems that the internet is fairly barren of background information on middle relief pitchers. Not cool, internet. But seeing as Miller is the new kid in town you Camden Chatters need to know at least a little bit about the tallest man on the roster.
He was born May 21,1985. That means he shares a birthday with teammate Matt Wieters. However, the catcher is one year younger than the pitcher. His parents are David and Kim and they hail from the sunshine state . Being a home town kind of guy, Andrew supported the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida Marlins growing up.
But baseball wasn't his only game. He also plays a lot of golf on the side and has a soft spot for NASCAR. So much so that he lists "Days of Thunder" as his favorite movie.
Andrew does have a previous Baltimore tie through his uncle, Dan Miller. Uncle Dan was a kicker in the NFL for one season, 1982. In that year he played five games; three of which were for the Baltimore Colts. He attempted eight field goals and made just four of them.
A few other tidbits about Andrew off the field: his favorite athlete is Maria Sharapova, favorite food is steak, and his favorite book is "The DaVinci Code". Now, onto the baseball stuff.
As a junior at Buchholz High School in Gainesville he was named third-team All State. He would outdo himself the following year as he was first-team All State and both a pre- and post-season first team All-American. This was in addition to being named the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year in 2003. His talent was enough for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (yeah, they still had the Devil in them) in the third round of that years draft. Andrew declined and, instead, accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
After making his debut as a Tar Heel he would be a part of the Chatam A's in the Cape Cod League in the summer following his freshman year. (Any fans of the movie "Summer Catch"? Some of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s best work. Anyway...) In an Oriole connection, the A's were once the summer home of Brian Roberts, Rich Hill and Eric Byrnes.
In Cape Cod, Miller dazzled scouts with a 2.03 ERA and earned a nod for the league's All-Star game. In that game, he struck out the side on 15 pitches in his one inning of work. In another instance later in the season, he struck all 12 of the batters he faced in a game that was called after the fourth inning due to fog.
Then, as you can assume from the above fact (he was drafted sixth overall), he was dominant in college, earning all kinds of awards: Golden Spikes finalist, first team All-American, Roger Clemens award winner, and the list goes on. The Tigers selected him as one of the most major league-ready arms in the draft.
He was first sent to the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers (classic nonsensical minor league team name). He made three appearances for the team, tossing five scoreless innings. Obviously, he was ready for the big show. He made his major league debut less than a month after signing his first professional contract. That year, 2006, he would appear in just eight games for the Tigers and scraped together a 6.10 ERA. The next year he would start off once again with the Flying Tigers down in Florida.
The rough outings with Detroit didn't damper expectations. Baseball America ranked him as the second best prospect in the Tigers system and the 10th best in all of baseball.
In 2007 he rocketed through the minors again, playing at High-A, Double-A Erie, Triple-A Toledo and with the Tigers again. He struggled with the big club; a 5.63 ERA in 13 starts. Changes were on the horizon.
In December of that year, the Tigers pulled the trigger on a massive trade. They sent Miller, Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin and Mike Rabelo to the Florida Marlins in the exchange for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera.
The Marlins handling of their hometown boy was equally as peculiar. He was jerked around between High-A and Double-A. He showed success early and was then immediately brought up the bigs where he, once again struggled. This time it was over 29 games and 20 starts. It amounted to a 5.87 ERA.
Again in 2009 he jumped around from rookie ball to all of the different levels; never throwing more than 11.2 innings in one destination. And, wouldn't ya know it, he found major league life tough...again
Similar patterns occurred until November 12, 2010 when the Red Sox acquired him in exchange for Dustin Richardson. They too attempted to make him a starter but he found in difficult to dominate hitters. In 2012 he was switched to the bullpen full time. And for the first time, his major league ERA for a season was below 4.00.
From there, you Oriole fans know the rest of the story. He has been a pain to deal with. Since becoming a full-time relief pitcher, he has a 2.78 ERA and averages over 13 strikeouts per nine innings. This season, lefties hit .143 against him and righties fare just a bit better at .168. The guy is nasty.
He is married to Katie, a former soccer player at Duke University. Yes, he, the Tar Heel, is married to a Blue Devil. Her parents and brother are all Duke alums as well. Yikes. It must make basketball season real interesting. Word is that she is excited for his recent move to the Orioles for no other reason than the fact that he had to cut his hair and trim his beard. Mrs. Miller was not a fan of the scruff.
Miller is a free agent after the season so the Orioles may only get two months out of him but don't you feel a little better now knowing some personal things about him?