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Miami’s Round 1(A) Pick: Brian Miller

Brian Miller is a prototypical leadoff centerfielder, and Miami’s competitive balance pick in the 2017 draft.

Brian Miller, UNC-Chapel Hill

With the 36th overall selection in the 2017 MLB amateur draft, the Marlins chose outfielder Brian Miller. It was the sixth and final pick in the first “competitive balance” round, or round 1A. He was ranked as MLB.COM’s #59 overall prospect when drafted.

Miller is a 6’, 187 lb. native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and was born on August 20th, 1995. He posted a slashline of .336/.412/.504 with 21 steals in 2017, and projects to join the Marlins sometime in 2019 or 2020.

A walk-on at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Miller was the MLB.COM #59 prospect going into the draft. A left handed hitter, he projects plus speed, with a rating of 65 (on prospect rankings from 20 to 80). A prototypical leadoff hitter, he’s stolen bases at an 81% clip in college for the Tar Heels. He doesn’t project to hit a lot of home runs, although he does have a decent amount of “gap power.”

John Sickels of Minor League Ball, SB Nation’s minor league hub, had this to say about Miller:

It remains to be seen if the “respectable pop” actually develops in pro ball, and he hit just one home run over 92 games in two seasons of summer wooden bat action. Showing sufficient power will determine if he can be a regular or just a fourth outfielder at the highest levels. While accurate, his arm is below average in strength.

Notable major league players to be selected with the 36th overall selection include hall-of-famer lefty Randy Johnson (1985, 102.1 WAR) and hall-of-fame catcher Johnny Bench (1965, 75.0). Righty pitchers Erik Hanson (1986, 22.4) and Bobby Jones (1991, 7.6)were also chosen at that spot.

Miami has chosen 36th overall on three occasions, first baseman Nate Rolison in 1995, third baseman Chris Coghlan in 2006, and catcher Blake Anderson in 2014. Rolison went 1-for-13 as a major league hitter, Coghlan, of course, won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2009, and is currently a Toronto Blue Jay, and we’ve yet to see Anderson progress beyond the short season “A” Batavia Muckdogs.