2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Shelby Miller

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Shelby Miller established himself as a successful starting pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals but began to take on a bullpen role in 2019 and has stuck with that ever since.

Miller had an encouraging showing with the San Francisco Giants at the end of the 2022 season, which earned him a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Miller reported to Camelback Ranch early to begin working with Dodgers pitching coaches and general manager Brandon Gomes was confident the right-hander would make a positive impact.

That was holding to be true through Miller’s first 25 appearances, as he went 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 30 innings pitched. However, he then landed on the 15-day injured list in late June because of neck pain.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts estimated Miller would spend three weeks on the IL, but his absence wound up stretching into the end of August due to the injury being a herniated disc.

The 33-year-old picked up where he left off, going 2-0 with 12 scoreless innings and holding opponents to a .167/.186/.238 batting line over 11 games (one start).

That effort was part of the Dodgers bullpen collectively finding their footing in the second half and down the stretch of the season.

“I think we’re just all kind of feeding off of each other,” Miller said last September. “We’re going out there and putting up zeros and getting ahead of hitters as a group.

“It starts with the starters going out there and doing what they’re capable of and us down in the ‘pen fully believing in ourselves and what we can do. I think it’s just a recipe of feeding off of each other, having fun, and trying to get our job done the best we can.”

Overall last season, Miller went 3-0 with one save, a 1.71 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 36 appearances (one start). He also made one postseason appearance, throwing two scoreless innings with one hit allowed and three strikeouts in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

Among NL relief pitchers with at least 40 innings last season, Miller ranked second in WHIP and opponent batting average, and sixth in ERA.

Shelby Miller 2023 highlight

During the Dodgers’ final home game of the season, Miller faced a bases-loaded situation in the 10th inning that he escaped behind some good fortune.

In a 2-2 count, Patrick Bailey hit a comebacker that ended up an inning-ending double play. It was anything but routine, however, as the ball first deflected off Miller’s glove.

“I initially didn’t think he was going to be able to make that, quite honestly,” Miller recalled after the win. “I tipped it and I knew I slowed it down a little bit. It’s on me for not knowing where he was playing. I was trying to make a play that I probably should’ve stayed out of the way on.

“I didn’t know he was right there up the middle. Definitely could’ve gone really bad, but it worked out.”

Miller escaping trouble was followed by Chris Taylor delivering a walk-off hit.

2024 outlook

Miller was among the Dodgers free agents this offseason and he went on to sign a one-year, $3 million contract with the Detroit Tigers that includes a $4.25 million team option for 2025 plus an array of bonuses. If the Tigers decline their option, Miller will receive a $250,000 buyout.

He’s part of a Tigers bullpen that should benefit from a veteran presence.

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