As first reported by Nick Camino of Cleveland’s WTAM 1110, the Indians have signed former top prospect Adam Miller to a minor league contract.
Miller, a right-handed pitcher with experience as a starter and reliever, was selected 31st overall by the Tribe in the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft and was rated as the Indians’ top prospect four years in a row (2004-2007) by Baseball America before flaming out due in large part to a nagging right hand injury.
Miller spent the 2013 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 4.79 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 36/26 K/BB ratio in 62 innings (five starts and 31 relief appearances). The 29-year-old is doubtful to make it to the bigs.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.