Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Andrew Miller and What Might Have Been
There is little doubt that perhaps the most outstanding performer in MLB's 2016 post-season has been Cleveland Indians pitcher Andrew Miller. I seemed to remember Miller's name being bandied about at the time he was coming out of the University of North Carolina and coming into the MLB Entry Draft. He was projected to be a high draft pick at the time that the Pirates, due to many seasons of ineptitude, had a very high draft pick. So, when Miller came into the game last night, I went to the Google Machine to do a little research.
The year was 2006. With the first pick in that draft, the Kansas City Royals selected Luke Hochevar, not a Hall of Famer, to be sure, but not a bad ballplayer, either. With the third pick, the Rays selected a future All-Star Evan Longoria. Great pick. It wasn't until the sixth pick that the Tigers selected Andrew Miller. Miller has bounced around with five teams before landing with the Indians this season, and while his career may not have warranted, in hindsight, that overall number six pick, he sure has been worth his weight in gold to Cleveland in October, 2016, hasn't he?
So what else happened in that 2016 draft? It's always fun to use 20/20 hindsight in these stories. Right after Miller went, the Dodgers selected a high school pitcher named Clayton Kershaw. Three picks later at number ten, the Giants selected Tim Lincecum out of the University of Washington, and at number eleven, the Diamondbacks selected Max Scherzer from the University of Missouri. That's a lot of Cy Young Awards right there in that draft.
The Pirates? Well, they had the overall number four pick that year, and used it on a pitcher: Brad Lincoln from the University of Houston. So, with Kershaw, Lincecum, Scherzer, and Miller still on the table, the McClatchey-Littlefield brain trust selected Brad Lincoln. Lincoln pitched for parts of five seasons in the Bigs, compiling a record of 9-11, 4.74 (7-9, 4.62 with the Pirates), and he has been out of baseball since 2014.
I realize that such backward looks aren't always fair, and that similar stories can be told for every team in the Majors, but it is yet one more additional reason why being a Pirates fan can sometimes just drive you plain crazy.