It’s time to start getting really excited about Cardinals pitching prospect Shelby Miller.
The 2009 first-round draft pick made his home debut for Double-A Springfield on Friday night, striking out nine batters in six strong innings of work.
Miller had eight punch-outs through his first three innings and looked to be cruising, but shoddy defense gave way to three opposing runs — two of which were earned — in his final three frames. He was pulled after throwing 97 pitches.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was in Springfield on Friday for the debut and had a series of observations in his Saturday report on the outing. Miller hit 97 MPH with his first fastball of the night and hung right around the low- to mid-90s the entire outing. He didn’t feature many breaking pitches, but the ones he did throw were effective. He’s expected to begin working on finding a more balanced arsenal in his time at Double-A.
Miller, 20, now has 14 strikeouts in 12 innings since earning his promotion to Springfield. He had 81 Ks in 53 innings this year at Single-A Palm Beach and fanned 140 batters across 104.1 innings in 2010.
If everything continues to go according to plan, Miller could be in the majors by mid-2012. ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked him the fourth-best prospect in baseball and he stands a good chance of becoming an ace.