2017 College Draft Profile: Brian Miller

School: University of North Carolina; Class: Junior

Position: CF; B/T: L/R

Height: 6-1; Weight: 186

Previously Drafted: N/A

 

Background: A nice little underdog story: Miller, who hails from Raleigh, North Carolina, was an overlooked prospect coming out of Millbrook High School. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound first baseman/outfielder was a walk-on at UNC at the start of the year. But by the end, he left quite an impression: in 52 games for Head Coach Mike Fox, the lefty-swinging Miller batted a respectable .288/.375/.326 with three doubles, one triple, and swiped 10 bags in 12 total attempts. And he raised the ante during that summer as well. Playing for the Holley Springs Salamanders in the Coastal Plain League, Miller slugged a robust .389/.476/.429 with six doubles, one triple, and a whopping 38 stolen bases (in 49 attempts) in just 51 games.

But, perhaps, the most impressive aspect of Miller’s offensive game was his ability to control the strike zone: he posted a solid 16-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio with UNC and then an even better 30-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio during his time with the Salamanders.

Miller raised the bar even higher during his sophomore campaign, slugging .345/.440/.469 with 12 doubles, five triples, a pair of homeruns, and 21 stolen bases – all career highs. That production earned him a trip to the Cape as well. In 41 games with the Orleans Firebirds, the slashing line-drive hitter batted .327/.369/.387 with seven doubles, one homerun, and another 15 stolen bases.

Heading into the 2017 season, Perfect Game tabbed Miller as a Second Team Pre-Season All-American. And he hasn’t disappointed.

Through his first 55 games this year, Miller is hitting .336/.412/.501 with 16 doubles, three triples, six homeruns, and 21 stolen bases.

His career line currently sits at .329/.415/.451 with 31 doubles, nine triples, eight homeruns, 52 stolen bases in 64 attempts (81.2% success rate) and a downright impressive 85-to-77 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 

Projection: Quietly good. Just to put Miller’s junior season into context, consider the following:

There’s some pretty impressive names in that bunch: Benintendi, Panik, Wong, and Turner are all above-average big league players. Burns has proved to be a serviceable outfielder. And Senzel is one of the best prospects in baseball.

With respect to Miller, he’s performed well at every stop of the way – including against top-notch talent in the ACC and in the Cape Cod. He runs well, has an impeccable eye at the plate, and has enough power to keep pitchers/outfielders honest. If his defense grades out as even average, Miller should be no worse than a 2.0-win outfielder.

If everything works out, Miller has the potential to be a table setter for a big league lineup, perhaps peaking as a .300/.350/.390-type hitter with 25+ stolen bases.

 

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Floor:  1.5- to 2.0-win player

Risk: Moderate

Grade: First Round

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.