Time Flies, or It Doesn’t
Andrew Miller started for Pawtucket Wednesday. A few times a season, there’ll be a player, usually an ex-major-leaguer or a former top prospect, whose name I’ll recognize or remember. I’ll then look at the roster and be shocked at how young he is. The one that comes first to mind is Fernando Tatis. In 2006, my first year as a datacaster, Fernando Tatis played for Ottawa. I had remembered that Tatis had come up with the Rangers in the mid-1990s, was traded to the Cardinals and had a big year for them, and then got traded to the Expos. He was a disappointment with the Expos and had been released. I saw Tatis was playing for Ottawa, looked at the roster, and was shocked to learn that his age was only 32. Based on my remembering of his past, I had thought he had to be 35 or 36.
(Note – Tatis’ big year with the Cardinals was 1999, when he claimed to be 24.)
Andrew Miller is the same thing. Andrew Miller has been a top prospect for what seems to be forever. He was a top draft pick of the Tigers a few years ago out of college, was one of the top players the Tigers sent for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, and has never really made it. When I saw that he was on Pawtucket, I figured he had to be another overage top prospect hanging on – but then saw that he had just turned 26. How could this be? He had to at least be pushing 30.
Actually, there’s more. Miller made 20 big league starts in 2008 and another 14 in 2009. I had thought that he had spent most of his time in the minor leagues, and if he had made the big leagues, it was for a couple-game cameo. Granted, he’s been terrible in the big leagues, but he’s been there long enough to log almost 300 innings.
This could mean almost anything. I could mean that I don’t know as much about baseball as I’d like to think I do. It could mean that as I get older, I lose track of the speed of time. It could mean that we’re tracking minor leaguers so early, and with such detail, that our minds aren’t giving them a full chance.
It’s too early to write off Andrew Miller. He’s 26. The most-similar pitcher to Andrew Miller at age 26, according to baseball-reference.com, was Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes was in his sixth major-league season at age 26, in 1996. He’s still active in the big leagues today, at age 41.