The promise of pitching prospect Mason Miller has been a bright spot for the Athletics during a bleak 2023 MLB season.
In a recent interview with NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil, Rob Friedman, also known as “Pitching Ninja,” shared his reasons for believing Miller is a potential future A’s ace.
“That dude’s stuff is off the charts,” Friedman told Brazil. “I interviewed him pretty early on because he had maybe the filthiest at-bat I’ve seen all year. I think it was against Patrick Wisdom, where he hit 102 [mph], and then, just embarrassed him with stuff. And you’re talking about embarrassing a veteran player. To me, he’s got a very, very high ceiling.”
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Miller flew through the minor leagues after being drafted in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft. He made three rookie-ball appearances that season and six total starts between rookie-ball, High-A Lansing and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2022.
After Miller made just two starts with Las Vegas this April, the A’s summoned him to Oakland.
The 25-year-old made four starts for the A’s in April and May before a UCL sprain sidelined him for three months. Since returning, Miller has made five additional appearances and holds a 3.73 ERA through Tuesday’s game.
The A’s recognize Miller’s high ceiling and have him on a pitch count while using him for shorter outings to prevent injury. But it hasn’t changed the pitcher’s velocity or serenity, which Friedman admires.
“He’s very matter-of-fact, straight talker, doesn’t get all keyed up, which I love,” Friedman told Brazil. “He’s got a pretty low heartbeat for a guy that throws as hard as he does, a strikeout artist. Yeah, I’m a big fan. I mean, he’s a potential ace of the pitching staff. He’s not a really high-stressed, mechanical guy. And the stuff is disgusting.”
Miller has shown glimpses of stardom to begin his career, and his mindset, paired with his strong mechanics, has primed him to be acknowledged by pitching connoisseurs such as Friedman.
The A’s have found something in Miller for their future rotation, and he should improve as he builds up arm strength and endurance in the coming seasons.