Mastersball

The Red Sox Sixth Man
AL or Nothing
Written by Jason Mastrodonato   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 00:00

Andrew Miller has been lurking in the Minor Leagues all season for the Red Sox, trying to rediscover the ability that led to such a successful career at North Carolina, where he was teammates with fellow Sox pitcher Daniel Bard.

And according to several reports, Miller will be re-united with Bard on Monday, when he’s activated to pitch against the Padres – not a bad way to break back into the Majors.

All year in Pawtucket, the strong left-hander – who has sported an incredible mustache in the past, by the way – has had a ton of life on his fastball, though command has always been his issue.

He’s had no problem getting outs all season, but his walks were out of hand at one point. Miller has put it all together the past few weeks though, walking just three batters over his last 25 1/3 innings.

This season in Triple-A, Miller has struck out 61 batters and walked 35 in 66 2/3 innings, with a 2.47 ERA.

The initial plan will be to stretch the pitching staff into a six-man rotation, with John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and Miller rotating in the final two spots. But if Miller can have success, Wakefield will likely be eased back into a relief role.

So what’s this mean for your fantasy teams? Well, Miller definitely deserves a chance. With strikeout numbers that high, if he can harness his command, there’s no reason he can’t be successful. The Red Sox have done that with pitchers before (ahem, Rich Hill, who was once pulled by Lou Piniella in the first inning after walking four straight batters), and Miller's recent success with the strike zone is definitely encouraging. If he pitches well, he’ll stick around, and he could win a handful of ball-games with a great lineup behind him.

Ryan Raburn will at least get a chance to play through his season-long slump, as he’s been playing nearly every day at second base since the Tigers traded Scott Sizemore to the Athletics. And there’s likely a reason for that: I can’t say for certain, but I don’t think Jim Leyland saw much in the Tigers’ prospect and had enough of him on his team. Rather than demote him again (he might have been out of options anyway, I’m not sure if he had any left), Detroit said pack your bags and head to Oakland.

Leyland has always had a lot of faith in Raburn, but he knows success comes in bunches with the streaky hitter. He’s struck out 68 times to 8 walks this season, hitting .203 in 192 at-bats. When I talked to Raburn in May, he said he usually doesn’t start feeling it till mid-June. Well, yesterday marked the mid-way point for the month, and you can bet Raburn isn’t going to hit .203 all season.

He’s probably available in your league right now, and his second base eligibility is a big plus. It might be the perfect time to grab him.

Speaking of the Tigers, Magglio Ordonez is back and his ankle fully healed, allowing him to push off when he swings, something that he couldn’t do earlier in the season, at least according to their head trainer. And though the 37-year-old outfielder has had his ability questioned, his teammates seem to think he’s got plenty left in the tank, and I don’t see any reason to disagree with them.

He was plugged into the sixth spot in the order when he returned from the DL, and while some view it as a negative thing, as if Leyland doesn’t trust Ordonez in his customary No. 3 spot, I actually think it’s the right move. Brennan Boesch has been hitting the heck out of the ball lately. The Tigers haven’t really had a true No. 3 hitter this season, but the way Boesch has been swinging the bat, there’s no way you can take him out of that spot.

And, moving Magglio to sixth allows the pressure to be off while he tries to find his timing. He was healthy a few days before being activated, but the club wanted him to take some at-bats in Triple-A and let him make the decision when he was ready. Ordonez has been an oft-forgotten man in fantasy baseball, given his ability to seemingly disappear for weeks at a time. But each time he turns invisible, he always finds a way to come back into the spotlight, with his .300-plus batting average and RBIs to boot. His time is coming where he’ll no longer be productive, but I don’t think we’re there yet, and he’s certainly worth a shot.

 

UPDATE: Thanks to Bodhizefa who pointed out Miller has never had Tommy John surgery, as that was edited from the story. I was having a discussion with a friend in the press box last week and, for some odd reason, we were both under the assumption that he did. Always double check your facts, Exhibit A. Sorry all, thanks Bodhizefa.

As for Miller, the only injuries he's ever sustained, as far as I can see, is an oblique in 2009, knee tendinitis in 2008, and a thigh strain in 2007. But as with the Red Sox pitching staff this season, no man is safe!

 

More Articles by Jason Mastrodonato

Comments  

 
# Bodhizefa 2011-06-16 06:54
Two things:
1. Miller has never undergone Tommy John surgery.
2. Miller's most recent success was predicated on destroying a lefty-heavy line-up in Charlotte.

I'm not that high on him, especially in the AL East.
 
 
# Todd Zola 2011-06-16 08:23
The key with Miller will be control. The most recent success is not based on one game, but a 3-game stretch where he has a 22:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Granted, 3 games is not much of a sample, but the Red Sox hand was forced with the June 15 promotion deadline. They much preferred that he continue at Pawtucket, but feared losing him, perhaps to a team a couple hundred miles southwest that is in dire need of starting pitching.

I don't think we can expect good things or anticipate bad things -- it is a wait and see situation.

Something to keep in mind is the latest report is Lackey, Wakefield and Miller will be rotated into the 4 and 5 spots. I have no idea how Francona is going to do that, but it would not shock me if Miller was protected somewhat and was slotted into some favorable matchups. For instance, you don't put him in against a patient team.
 
 
# Bodhizefa 2011-06-16 08:34
In my (relatively) shallow mixed leagues, he really isn't someone on my radar. But I could see how spot starting him in deeper leagues might be of interest if you need some K's or Wins. I'm just wary of him considering all his bungles in the past along with his control issues up until about four starts ago.
 
 
# Todd Zola 2011-06-16 08:46
From a fantasy sense, I am not touching him

But yeah, in AL only, where having a pulse and starting is the metric, he is worth a shot.

I do think it is somewhat interesting Boston is willing to look at Miller at the MLB level when they also have Millwood toiling at Pawtucket. This may be more of a knock against Millwood than a plus for Miller, but Boston does not do anything in a vacuum and to me suggests if nothing else, Miller has more upside (duh) but also a reasonable chance to realize it.
 
 
# Bodhizefa 2011-06-16 09:03
Yeah, I was reading on some other message boards how some people thought he was worth rostering in 12-teamers (mixed). Old me would have gone off on a blistering rant. New me just doesn't care enough to correct the crazies out there any more. Either that, or I'm just lazy. ;)

And personally, I'd take Miller over Millwood at this point, too. At least Miller's arm seems to still be attached.
 
 
# captgus 2011-06-17 09:53
Truth be told and not that anyone cares but I plucked him off the wire in a 12 team mixed league. He'll never see the light of day in my rotation but if he can string together 2 or 3 quality starts right out of the gate, he could become trade bait.
 
 
# Todd Zola 2011-06-17 10:09
It is not official, but there is a chance Buchholz misses a few starts to let his back get better. This obviously clears a spot for Miller. Funny how these things always seem to work themselves out.
 

Please register with Mastersball so that you can be part of the conversation. Registering is free.

sex izle hd film izle