Seattle deals EHS grad, three other prospects for David Phelps

By on July 26, 2017
Brandon Miller

Brandon Miller

Ephrata High School grad Brandon Miller was enjoying his breakfast last Thursday morning when his phone rang.

On the other end was Andy McKay, the director of player development for the Mariners, who had some important news to deliver to the Clinton LumberKing right-hander.

“He called me and said, ‘I’m going to shock you…you’ve been traded,’” Miller recalled Monday.

Just like that, Miller, twice an all-star in two seasons in the Seattle system, was an ex-Mariner. The 2016 sixth round selection of Seattle was being shipped with three other prospects to the Miami Marlins for veteran major league reliever David Phelps.

Miller’s first thought when he heard the news was getting in touch with both his wife Whitney and his parents, who were in the midst of traveling to Clinton (IA) to visit him. After telling them, he only had a few hours to wrap his head around the trade, pack his bags and catch a flight to Miami.

“They didn’t mess around too much,” he said. “I think I found out about the trade around 11 a.m. Thursday morning and my plane left for Miami at 5. I flew to Miami, and then Friday morning we drove in the city and went to the doctor and got physicals for all the guys that got traded. That took quite a bit of time. And then Saturday we were at the field by 7 a.m. where I threw and ran for the coaches, and then by 11:50 I was on another plane heading here.”

“Here,” is Greensboro, NC where he was assigned to the Class A Grasshoppers.

“I must say I was a little bit shocked,” Miller said of the trade. “I did not expect that phone call, but after it all settled in I got really excited. It’s just a new opportunity, and I’m learning some new things from a new organization. — they do things a little bit differently…every organization does. I’m just excited and ready to get out here and playing again.”

Miller is certainly anxious to get back on the mound where he has been very impressive in his two seasons of professional ball. He was an all-star in Rookie Ball last season playing for the Everett Aquasox, finishing with a 4-2 record and a 2.72 ERA in 56.1 innings. He struck out 51 and walked just seven batters on the season.

This season has been just as smooth in the Class A Midwest League. At the time of the trade, he was the undisputed staff ace with a record of 9-4 and an ERA of 3.65 in 18 starts for Clinton. He pitched a Midwest League leading 101 innings, striking out 94 with 23 walks and a WHIP of 1.178.

In June, Miller was named a Midwest League All-Star.

Miller now joins an organization in Miami starved for starting pitching at the minor-league levels. Upon arrival, the 6-4, 205-pounder already is listed as the 14th rated prospect in the Marlins system. He’s hopeful the trade could put him on the fast track to the Major Leagues.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for myself. I think it’s going to help me with my ultimate goal which is the Big Leagues.”

Others believe that as well. MLB.com projects Miller will be arriving at the Major League level in 2019. He figures to be a back of the rotation starter, possibly a third starter if he is able to develop both of his fringe off-speed pitches (curveball and change up).

In a scouting report on Miller following the trade, Michael Napoles of Marlinmaniac.com wrote, “Of all the prospects the Miami Marlins received in exchange for David Phelps, Miller could be the first to appear in a Miami Marlins uniform. An invitation to spring training in 2018 is possible, but unlikely. With continued progression, he could conceivably compete for a spot the following season.”

For now, Miller is content on joining his new Greensboro Grasshopper teammates. He will make his pitching debut for the Grasshoppers Thursday (7:05 p.m.) at Delmarva.

“It’s nice here,” Miller said of his new home. “Obviously I haven’t been here that long but the city looks nice, the field is great and it’s been a warm welcome so far.”

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