Tuesday night was a coming out party for rookie pitcher Mason Miller, pitching seven hitless innings along with 6 K’s. The right handed flamethrower is on the verge of stardom at the age of 24 years old.
The Athletics decided to fast track Miller up to the big leagues after one start in both AA and AAA this season. The reason for this? Well the A’s scouts knew that Miller’s stuff would play up in the major leagues. A 100 mph 4-seam fastball that touches 102, 95 mph cutter that he just started developing, a wicked slider that falls off the plate and a changeup that has a bunch of potential.
The stuff of Mason Miller isn’t the only thing that makes him one of the most fascinating youngsters in the MLB but it’s his backstory as well. Playing Division III baseball at Waynesburg University and struggling, pitching to a 7.16 ERA and really didn’t see the next level in his future. Until a sophomore summer internship where a urine test saved his baseball career where he found out he had type 1 diabetes and ever since then Miller has been treating it and was able to find a new hope.
During Miller’s junior season, he was able to drop his ERA down to 1.86 over nearly 68 innings. The ability to treat his type 1 diabetes where he was 30 pounds lighter then the average right handed pitcher, helped him gain strength back to the point where he started touching high 90’s.
After the COVID season, Miller was granted an extra year of eligibility and decided to play Division I baseball at Gardner-Webb University where he started to look dominant. Miller rose up and became the ace of the Gardner-Webb staff and pitched to a 3.30 ERA over 92 innings with 121 strikeouts.
A few months later, Miller was drafted to the Oakland Athletics with the 97th overall pick becoming one of few Gardner-Webb players to be drafted in the top 100.
Now let’s get into why this kid is gonna be special and one of the league’s best pitchers. To start things off in his first 3 outings (15 innings), Miller has posted a 3.52 ERA with a 2.52 FIP and so far has accumulated a 0.5 fWAR. Mason has pitched more innings in the MLB than he has ever had at any level of the minor leagues, which is very rare.
Baseball Savant is a great way to assess how good a player’s “tools” are and Miller’s savant page does just that. 94th percentile in Fastball Velocity, 90th in Barrel%, 82nd in xBA, 84th in xSLG and 76th in K%. Those are all pretty good for a rookie pitcher coming off a shoulder injury that almost cost him a whole year of baseball. The one area Miller is having trouble with is his limiting of hard hits, 8th percentile in HardHit% which is really bad. That bad statistic is a result of bad location, and that’s come to be expected with a 24 year old pitcher. On FanGraphs, Miller has a 97 Location+ grade, which basically means where the catcher sets up before the pitch relative to where it ends up and the + statistic is just like wRC+ it just means 100 is league average, and Miller is at 97 so his location grade is 3% below league average.
The control issue is mostly coming from the offspeed pitches in the slider (91 Loc+) and changeup (75 Loc+). But command is something that comes over time and with experience so that’s nothing to stress about yet. The reason scouts and analysts are saying Mason Miller is gonna be a superstar is because of the stuff he possesses.
According to FanGraphs, Miller possesses a 125 Stuff+ grade which means his stuff is 25% better than league average at the age of 24. His 125 Stuff grade would rank 4th in MLB if qualified ahead of All Star pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes and reigning NL CY Young Sandy Alcantara. Miller’s generational fastball has a stuff grade of 139 which would rank 4th amongst qualified pitchers again ahead of Gerrit Cole’s fastball which is regarded as one of the best pitches in baseball and this season the best pitch in terms of run value.
Sky’s the limit for Mason Miller as he gains more experience and hopefully some success with the Oakland (Las Vegas) A’s. The lethal combination of his 100 mph fastball along with his wipeout offspeed is gonna be a conversation for years for the best stuff in MLB. Not so often does a prospect come up and automatically becomes your best player but for the A’s they called up their best player. Mark down the day this article comes out where I’ll state that Mason Miller will win a CY Young by 2028 because he’s that damn good.