Jim Miller, relief pitcher
Why have the Orioles seemingly given up on him?
I have no idea — maybe it’s because he’s got an unmemorable name and at 6’1″, 200 lb., just sort of blends in. He started his career as an A-Ball closer, a role usually reserved for heady organizational non-prospects. After he spent a full year in AA, he was traded to the Orioles, who immediately sent him back to AA. After he was promoted to Norfolk in 2007, he pitched reasonably well and was rewarded by being sent back to AA to start 2008. Promoted back to Norfolk, he took over as the closer for the second half of 2008 and pitched okay in a late-season callup to Baltimore. He was Norfolk’s closer for the first half of 2009 — even making the AAA all-star game — and then demoted to set-up relief for the second half of 2009. In 2010, he struggled at the start, joined Andy Mitchell on the Aberdeen shuffle, before rebounding to pitch fairly well toward the end of the season.
Okay, so Miller doesn’t have dominating stuff. I still find it hard to believe that Armando Gabino, Frank Mata, and Alfredo Simon have done more to earn chances than Jim Miller. You’ve got a major-league pitching staff that’s struggling. Why shunt aside someone who’s pitched well in AAA?
Couldn’t he be just an AAAA pitcher?
There are a few pitchers who are AAAA pitchers — good enough to succeed in AAA but not good enough to succeed in the majors. There are fewer of those than most people think, but there are some. However, these are generally starting pitchers with less-than-average stuff, but who can compensate in the minors with pitching skill and knowledge. That’s not Miller; he has decent stuff. He didn’t pitch badly in his 8 (actually 7 2/3) major-league innings. He’s just a guy who has pitched well in AAA and hasn’t proven he can — or can’t — pitch in the majors.