Shelby Miller shines in Triple-A start after given week off

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Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller allowed 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts this month at Triple-A Memphis, continuing a run of disappointing results that dates back to mid-May. So St. Louis’ higher-ups decided to skip his next turn in the rotation and instituted a “no-shake rule” to keep him from relying too heavily on his mid-90s fastball.

That strategy seems to have worked wonders.

Miller allowed just one hit — a solo homer — in a five-inning outing Wednesday night at Memphis, striking out eight batters and walking three. The Texas native still has an ugly 5.70 ERA on the year and clearly won’t be ready for the majors as early as the Cards were hoping. But his strikeout rate (10.3 K/9) is still good and he’s certainly capable of getting on a roll.

Miller was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 Amateur Draft. He doesn’t turn 22 years old until October 10.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.