The Rapid Ascension of the Padres’ Owen Miller

Credit: Journal Gazette

The San Diego Padres are certainly pleased with the rapid ascension of infielder Owen Miller who was selected this June in the draft.

Through three years as the starting shortstop at Illinois State University, Owen Miller hit for a combined slash line of .345/.384/.511.

On June 5th, 2018 he was selected by the Padres in the third round of the MLB draft. 10 days later he made his professional debut starting at shortstop for the Class A short season Tri-City Dust Devils. On Wednesday, he went 1-for-4 in his first game with the Double-A San Antonio Missions in game 1 of the TLDS.

In just under three months, Miller has gone from college ball at Illinois State University to being in the starting lineup in the Double-A playoffs and he’s absolutely raked in that time. Through 298 plate appearance at Tri-City and Fort Wayne, Miller boasted a .336/.386/.460 slash line while playing primarily at shortstop and third base.

He doesn’t and probably never will hit many home runs, but he does have gap power and the ability to stretch out doubles.

So far, the walks haven’t really been there as he’s only reached on balls in roughly 6% of plate appearances. However, he’s also only struck out in about 13.7% of plate appearances, so he has shown the discipline to not be chasing at too many pitches out of the zone. Hopefully as he continues to advance through the ranks and face better pitching, he’ll show more patience and work pitchers deeper into the count and the walks will come.

With Fernando Tatis Jr. probably taking over as the shortstop for the big league club at some point next season and the Padres seeming fairly definitive in their placement of Myers at third, it would appear at first glance as though there’s not really much of a spot for Miller in the club’s future.

Owen Miller does a lot of things very, very well on the diamond but there’s no one skill set that he’s truly elite at that would put him over someone like a Tatis or Myers. Clearly that hasn’t held him back from a rapid climb through the minors this season and it really shouldn’t hold him back from reaching the big league club.

Miller’s ability to consistently make good contact as well as play solid defense at multiple positions would make him a very valuable player on any roster, even if it’s not in a starting role.

As this team reaches the point where they will be expected to compete year after year, they are going to need players like Owen Miller on the bench and ready to step up in the case of injuries. It’s a very real possibility that we see Miller at the major league level at some point in 2019 as one of the first to reach the majors from a draft class that has the potential to be one of the Padres best in a very long time.

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Bradley Garland
Growing up in Dodgers country, Bradley would proudly display his Padres fandom through the roughest years of non competitiveness and rebuilding. With the Padres on the verge of contending, he’s excited to get the opportunity to cover them on a regular basis along with their minor league system.
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Roddy Reta
Roddy Reta
3 years ago

I like Owen Miller, but college hitters often do well against lower-minors pitching. I’m not getting too excited until I see how he does in AA. Keep in mind that college hitter Robbie Podorsky (a non top 30 prospect) put up similar numbers this year in FW and Elsinore – .353/.403./.451.

3 years ago

I really liked that selection in the draft. He will definitely force some trades here real soon. Let’s hope that he can be the next Dustin Pedroia!

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