Shelby Miller: No no-hitter, but what an acquisition

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Shelby Miller on his day of days. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

I hated the trade, but I understood it. I can’t say I hate it today.

Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward wasn’t just a sound investment; it has turned into a windfall. Miller entered Sunday’s game tied for second in the big leagues in ERA, and his latest effort saw that 1.60 ERA dip to 1.33. Working a two-hitter can have that effect.

Only on Miller’s 89th pitch did the Marlins break through against Miller, not for an actual run but for an actual hit. Justin Bour lined a fat fastball — Miller’s fastball had been overpowering — up the middle. (Catcher A.J. Pierzynski told reporters afterward the pitch was designed to be inside.) It was one of those things that happen in baseball: What coulda/shoulda been a no-hitter falls one out short. More’s the pity.

In nine starts as an Atlanta Brave, Miller has reminded us why, in the not-so-distant year of 2013, he was regarded as one of the best pitching prospects, alongside Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez and Matt Moore. Miller’s stature had dipped a bit, but only a bit. He wasn’t part of the Cardinals’ rotation in the 2013 postseason; he started two playoff Game 4s in 2014.

Over those nine starts, Miller has leaped ahead of Julio Teheran and Alex Wood — who are themselves excellent — as the pitcher the Braves most want taking the ball and toeing the slab. In his worst start with his new team, Miller has yielded two earned runs. (Three times.) In the other five, he has been even better. The past three have been dominant: Over 25 May innings, opponents have managed one earned run and seven hits.

Great stuff, great location, great poise: What’s not to like about this 24-year-old? Answer: Nothing. The Braves’ offseason sell-off was designed to save money — hence the shedding of the free-agent-to-be Heyward — and rebuild around young pitching. Mike Foltynewicz looks promising, and there’s hope for Matt Wisler and Williams Perez and Max Fried. But today no young pitcher in this organization looks better than Shelby Miller.

Reader Comments 1

68 comments
HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

It's still early, don't count your chickens before they hatch. But yes, it was a very good trade for both teams, and Jason Heyward is no slouch. He will pay dividends for some team down the road.

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

Miller is showing to have been a great trade. I just hope he stays healthy and does not go down the path of some of the other good arms we have had in recent years. He also looks like a pitcher that could win that one game playoff and be a moose in a short series.

SeanLB
SeanLB

It's almost as if..(gasp)...John Hart has a plan.


People who understand baseball knew this trade was a home-run for the Braves.  Happy to have you, Shelby, and I'm glad to see so many Braves fans beginning to embrace what Hart did this off-season.  If you're gonna go .500, at least do it because you're working towards the future, instead of doing it with a bunch of over-paid, over-hyped talent.  

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Miller is now the Braves's ace and probably headed to the All Star game. Throw in Peterson, Cunningham, and Maybin and you have a lot of reason to like this team's Wild Card chances. Third base, and relief pitching is still a bit of an issue but if the Braves can plug those holes, I believe they'll compete all summer long. I'd like to see Wisler in Atlanta, too. 

ComaToes
ComaToes

It's very possible that yesterday could end up being the most exciting day for Braves fans for the entire year. Sad, but true.

Bogey
Bogey

@ComaToes  I'm curious what you expected from the Braves this year??  They're rebuilding!!  With a new stadium opening in '17, if they didn't change the roster/mindset/approach/farm system/attitude, they would be opening the new house to the sound of crickets.


By the way, everyone assumed that the 2 week delay in October for Hart to accept the position of Pres of BB ops was because Hart was tryingto decide if he wanted to jump back into the game.  That wasn't it at all.


The real reason for the delay was for Schuerholz and McGuirk to agree to Hart's plan for tearing down the roster and rebuilding the farm system.  As typical, they were thinking short-term (how do we somehow continue this "great string" the Braves have enjoyed?) instead of making the right decisions.


Not just based on how much better they look so far, but also how quickly Hart has handled the re-do, he should be named GM of the Year (but he won't).  In fact, about the time the Braves are back on top ('17? '18?), Hart will be retired and back on the golf course - Coppolella will get the cudos.

HarMul
HarMul

Finally, even the ever-skeptical Mr Bradley is on board. This GM has done to the Braves team what a Phillies team has not been able to do in 3+ seasons. He has put us right back in a place where we can compete for the division next season. 

As in any business, some deals go right and some go wrong. As long as the big ones go right (Heyward, Gattis and Upton) and the little ones go wrong (a can't list one that has clearly been a disaster), you are doing pretty darn good. 

With more that $30 mil to spend and an arsenal of starting pitching, I expect the team to contend next season. Go Braves!!!

Canwehaveawinner
Canwehaveawinner

But as little talant as this braves roster does have, I gotta.be honest they have a much better record than what I thought they would have.

ComaToes
ComaToes

@Jetiredo You do realize they have a "loosing"  record so far this year don't you?  Another one of those who accepts mediocrity and lower with a smile.  Sad, but true!  Typical Braves fan.

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

As much as I hated seeing Heyward go, I'd say to this point, the Braves got the better of the trade.  Miller is off to a torrid start while Heyward is hitting below his career average at only .244 with only 33 hits to 29 strikeouts.  I don't miss those strikeouts.  

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

These remind me of the mid-70s Braves when the only true major leaguers on the roster were Jeff Burroughs and Gary Matthews (yeah, Niekro too).  Today the Braves only have Miller and Freeman.  Everyone else is no better than a career minor leaguer. 

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@ShovelPlease 

What team are you watching? Unlike those atrocious 70s teams, the current roster has quite a bit of youthful talent with promise. Miller, Teheran, & Wood are only 24 years old; Folty is 23. More on the way from a restocked farm system !

Bogey
Bogey

@ShovelPlease  You do get used to reading ridiculous comments on this blog site, but yours sets you apart.  I won't argue that the 2015 Braves are loaded with HOFer's, but in your expert opinion based on years of sitting in your BarcoLounger eating Cheetos tells you that Simmons, Teheran, Wood, Markakis, Grilli, Pierzinski and Avalon are at best AAA players???


Rather amusing actually.

forexbomb
forexbomb

I like the Braves.. This year may not be the year, but they have a very bright future... 

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Hayward was the Josh Smith of the Braves for years! Super frustrating to see the talent go to waste year after year.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

The trade looks like genius at this point. I would have never missed the all-potential no-substance Hayward regardless. But to get this guy in return is fantastic!

alhott
alhott

all the hullabaloo about losing a no hitter............doncha realize that thanks to the replay call in the third inning Miller was about to pitch a PERFECT game????


Really like the kids that the Braves are using. Just trying to hit the ball, not kill it.......and normally not TAKING a third strike......managers should fine any player who takes a third strike............at least swing...believe u have to swing to hit it, right?

would love to see the new Baby Braves continue all season as they have so far..............500 would be decent but maybe even better would be fantastic


THEBITTERTRUTH
THEBITTERTRUTH

I called this from day 1 - check me on it Bradley. We got rid of a .230 hitter and oft injured reliever and got back a true ace and a possible ace. All the Heyward whiners - where are you? I promise you that St Louis would trade Heyward for a bag of balls right now.

Heyward was and is "Never" going to be the superstar the writers thought or wanted him to be.


What he was and is, is an excellent outfielder with a average bat that if you put him in Colorado or a park with a short right field fence can hit over 20 homers.


That is not a 10 million a year player in my mind.


He is a local kid whom we all liked but I always liked the trade even if Millers era was over 3.


Savdon
Savdon

This division better not let the Braves hang around or it could be a major embarrassment to at least 2 teams.

Bob_the_Blogger
Bob_the_Blogger

Teams trade players' contracts as much as they trade players. They traded one year of Heyward for several years of Miller and Jenkins. They traded one year of J. Upton for several years of Jace Peterson, Max Fried, Mallex Smith and Dustin Peterson. Both were very sound trades.  

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Miller has it all going right now, great fastball and great command of his pitches. If he maintains this power, movement, and command he'll be a Cy Young candidate and HOPEFULLY quiet all the bloggers begging for an ace. We've seen flashes of brilliance from Teheran and Wood, too, at times in their short careers.


Certainly can appreciate the way the kids are playing coming off the bench, after what we saw coming off the bench the last few years.

Canwehaveawinner
Canwehaveawinner

Well we still need another ace .......can't get enough good pitching obviously

Bogey
Bogey

@Jetiredo  In the minors, but coming soon.  Obviously not all of these guys will be aces.....only need one from:  Sims, Hursh, Wisler, Jenkins, Fried, Banuelos, Sanchez, Thurman...

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Gee, maybe Liberty will sell him to the highest bidder for cash to line their pockets with.

northbysoutheast
northbysoutheast

@Mr. Negative Liberty don't "line their pockets" from team trades. They set a budget and it's up to the team to work within it. The Braves have gone younger, stocked up on prospects and saved a small fortune. Can't figure out why a new approach bothers people so much. What exactly have the Braves won in the last 10 years? 

ComaToes
ComaToes

@northbysoutheast @Mr. Negative  What exactly will the Braves win in the next 10 yrs. I'm betting on them being just average and lower with a huge new shiny ballpark paid for mostly by Cobb Co. taxpayers, the most naive in the country.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@northbysoutheast @Mr. Negative 

The Braves have not been relevant in MLB for a decade. Some folks are still stuck in the 1990s. Hart is reversing 7 years of Frank Wren's dumb acquisitions and destroying a once productive farm system. 

all_i_am_saying_is
all_i_am_saying_is

Nice work, Shelby.  Keep it up.  Calm down, Bradley.  Too early to pronounce any trade a success especially given how snakebit Braves have been with some of their young pitchers.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Atlanta has a new ACE in town.......Pitching don't come over night it will take time but they will get it figured out.  I Iike the Braves young arms

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@SomewherenSGa 

Glavine and Smoltz were not exactly aces their first few seasons. Wood, Teheran and Miller are all 24 ! Folty is 23. More on the way up. Future looks promising.

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

I like the trade so far no doubt.  To me Heyward has gotten by more on his awesome athletic physic? instead of his actual hitting production ( exceptional right fielder but so are many).  Heyward is the anti Tony Gywnn.  Gywnn was pudgy and not very fast but could hit better than anyone for several years.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@twentysixpointtwo 

Gwynn spent hours after each game watching film of himself hitting, correcting mistakes, making adjustments. From what I gather Heyward may be hard to reach, and lacks the same work ethic to improve himself.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Considering how trades have gone the last five or six years, Miller looks like the real thing. I think it is called the "blind squirrel syndrome."

patriotdog
patriotdog

Heyward was a joy to watch in the outfield, and a puzzle to watch at the plate. Still is up in St Louis. Miller has been nothing but good since showing up in Atl. Maddox, Smoltz and Glavine,,,,not yet,

but Miller, Tehran and Wood have the making of something special.

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Please judge a trade after a year or two or three, not 6 weeks.

BravesFanInNashville
BravesFanInNashville

@ImaNitwit True but many people were judging it negatively before even one pitch was thrown...  No matter how Shelby Miller turns out as a Brave, and he's obviously off to a very good start, the Braves were not going to sign Jason Heyward after this season so our only cost to find out how good or great Miller and Jenkins will be is one season of Heyward who happens to be hitting .250 with 3HR, 10RBI and 28 Strikeouts.  


Even the Cardinals have him at the top of the order tonight to see if they can get him started.  He blamed the Braves for sapping his power potential by having him hit leadoff.  Well if he's not producing in run producing spots in the batting order what else is a team supposed to do with him but hope he gets on base and can help you win games with his legs?


Something is just a little off about him and I for one am glad the Braves sold so high on his "potential" before we lost him and got nothing near the value of Miller and Jenkins in return.

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

I never understood why the trade was as widely criticized as it was in the first place.

Miller wasn't great last year, but he wasn't the disaster many people acted like he was. And though I liked Heyward, I thought he was massively overrated by a certain segment of Braves fans. His WAR was great, but his true contributions never seemed to quite match up with that gaudy number. To hear some people talk, you would have thought we were giving up Chipper Jones.

The Braves acquired a young, club-controlled starter who could be their ace for the foreseeable future for a player who was going to be out the door after this season anyway. That's to say nothing of Tyrell Jenkins, who could be in the Atlanta rotation in the next year or two.

No one could have envisioned Miller being this dominant, but it was a brilliant trade even without the benefit of hindsight.

Canwehaveawinner
Canwehaveawinner

Let's be honest Shelby Miller has outperformed everybodys expectations and with Heyward being a local guy and popular brave its understandable why the fans were iffy at first but Shelby has proved that it was the right move . and who knows we could resign Heyward on the cheap and have both guys

BravesFanInNashville
BravesFanInNashville

@Jetiredo While it would have been a stretch to predict Miller would be this good for the Braves he's only a season removed from being mentioned in the same sentence as Harvey, Fernandez, Kershaw and Bumgarner as one of the up and coming best pitchers in the National League.  The Cardinals have so much pitching depth they felt like he was expendable.  I wonder if they would make the same trade again at this point of the season..  


I for one loved the trade the minute it was announced because I never saw Heyward as the team player Freeman and Simmons are.  I was still a fan of Heywards but was afraid his apparent unwillingness to be coached would end up hurting him.  Simmons is listening to Seitzer and it shows.  Freeman has been learning a lot from Markakis and it shows.  

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@Jetiredo 

"and who knows we could resign Heyward on the cheap and have both guys"

On this team of contact hitters, let someone else pay Heyward's salary. I saw enough.

Trackbacks

  1. […] (Here we note that Shelby Miller worked another splendid game — seven innings, one run, five hits, one walk, six strikeouts — and took his third no-decision in four starts. He hasn’t won since the almost no-hitter in Miami on May 17.) […]