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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Brian Miller, OF, University of North Carolina

Speedy North Carolina outfielder Brian Miller should be selected early in the 2017 MLB Draft

UNC/Jeffrey A. Camarati

Continuing our series of player profiles for the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft, let’s take a look at Brian Miller, outfielder for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

THE BASICS

Brian Miller is from Raleigh, North Carolina. Undrafted out of high school in 2014, he made the Tar Heels roster as a walk-on freshman in 2015 and hit .288/.375/.326 with 10 steals. He followed that up with a robust .389/.476/.429 line (with 38 steals) in the summer Coastal Plains League, then maintained the momentum with a .345/.440/.469 line (21 steals) as a sophomore.

Miller continued to mash summer pitching with a .327/.369/.387 slash in the 2016 Cape Cod League, with 15 steals. He’s continued raking and swiping this spring with a .336/.412/.504 (21 steals) mark in 2017.

Listed at 6-1, 185, Miller is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower born August 20th, 1995.

STRENGTHS

As you may surmise from the statistical breakdown Miller’s best tool is speed: he’s a minimum 60 runner with some sources giving him a 70; you can split the difference at 65 if you like, but either way he’s very fast and he knows how to use it, stealing at 81% so far in his career while showing plenty of range in center field.

He profiles well as a leadoff man, combining the speed with a patient approach at the plate. He’s gained some physical strength and has shown more isolated power this year. While home runs won’t be a big part of his game in pro ball, he could develop respectable pop. Miller’s track record hitting for average with wooden bats is quite good, adding some safety to the profile.

WEAKNESSES

It remains to be seen if the “respectable pop” actually develops in pro ball, and he hit just one home run over 92 games in two seasons of summer wooden bat action. Showing sufficient power will determine if he can be a regular or just a fourth outfielder at the highest levels. While accurate, his arm is below average in strength.

OVERALL PROJECTION

While Miller doesn’t have star-caliber potential, he’s a very solid and polished player with a significant carrying tool with his speed. His wooden bat history and a great track record for one of the top programs in the country are also big positives. Viewed as a third or fourth round talent pre-season, he’s moved into second round consideration, with an outside chance to go in the back of the first round for a team looking for a safe investment.

Video by Fangraphs