This week I am posting an interview and report on Tulsa Drillers closer, Jim Miller.
Jim was an 8th round draft pick in 2004 out of Louisiana-Monroe University. That year he won the Northwest League’s Rolaids Relief Man of the Year award.
In 2005 he was awarded the Doug Millon award, which is given out to the Colorado farm system’s best performer. He was also named the California league’s best reliever by Baseball America in 2005 and was also ranked in the league’s top 20 prospects and in the top 30 for the Rockies. He made 2 appearances for Team USA in the Regional Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2005. Also, he did not allow a run in his 1st 11 Texas League appearances.
Jim began his minor league career in 2004 with a 1-1 record and 0.97 ERA and 17 saves in 37 innings for class-A Tri-City. In 2005, he was mainly in Class-A Modesto, where he went 1-3 with a 3.78 ERA and 25 saves in 47.2 innings. Later in 2005, he moved to double-A Tulsa, where he went 1-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 9 saves in 15 innings. So far in 2006, he is 0-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 41.1 innings despite him missing the first two months of the season with an injury. He has 11 saves in 2006.
I spoke with Jim briefly in the bullpen at a recent RoughRiders game in Frisco. He was very friendly and was willing to answer my questions until it was time for him to warm up.
The interview is below.
1. What is the toughest team to pitch against?
2. Who are the toughest hitters you’ve faced?
Alex Gordon, Mitch Maier, and Billy Butler (all on Wichita).
3. What is the nicest Texas League park?
4. What is the nicest park in the Rockies’ minor league system?
Modesto is the best pitchers’ park and Drillers Stadium is the best hitters’ park.
5. How fast do you pitch?
Jim said that he pitches 93-94 mph and the fastest he has ever pitched is 98 mph.
6. At what age should a pitcher begin learning different pitches?
Jim said that a changeup can be learned at a young age, a curveball and slider at 14-15, and a forkball in the 20’s.
Come back next week for my August awards.