New Brewer Owen Miller Is Evolving as a Hitter (Or at Least Attempting To)

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports activities

What sort of hitter did the Milwaukee Brewers get once they acquired Owen Miller from the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday in change for a participant to be named later or money? Statistically talking, the reply is somebody who put up uninspiring numbers in his first full big-league season. The infielder, who just lately turned 26 years previous, logged a .287 wOBA and an 85 wRC+ in 472 plate appearances. After beginning robust — he had a 1.043 OPS on Could 8, and had delivered quite a few clutch hits — Miller supplied solely a modicum of worth with the bat.

When it comes to his total growth as a hitter, Miller has advanced — intent-wise greater than production-wise thus far — from the participant who Eric Longenhagen described previous to the 2021 season. Rating him No. 14 on that 12 months’s Cleveland Prime Prospects record, our lead prospect analyst wrote that the previous third-round pick of Illinois State College had a “minimalistic swing [that] allows him to make excessive charges of contact, whereas the energy in Miller’s arms generates doubles energy.”

Miller stroked 26 doubles this previous season, however solely six residence runs, and he had 93 strikeouts to go together with 32 walks. By and enormous, he stays a work-in-progress — albeit one who can present worth together with his versatility whereas persevering with to work on his offensive expertise.

The latest Brewer talked hitting in an interview that came about a handful of months into the season, solely to be positioned on the again burner till now.


David Laurila: How would you describe your self as a hitter?

Owen Miller: “I’ve form of modified, I’d say. Once I was youthful — developing in school, and within the minors — I used to be very contact-oriented, with a really line drive strategy. I used to be handsy, making an attempt to govern my barrel. Then, over the quarantine interval after we had time to work on issues… I understood that there are issues that elite hitters do so far as utilizing their our bodies extra, and I began to make some swing modifications off of that. Not likely swing modifications, per se, however fairly changes.

“It’s extra the thought course of that goes into hitting. I went from simply form of throwing my arms on the ball to extra of sequencing and utilizing my hips, understanding that you just’re going to get much more out of your swing through the use of your physique higher. So, it’s been a few 12 months or two the place I’ve actually been making an attempt to purchase into the method of hitting, and fascinated by it in another way than I had.”

Laurila: This began throughout the COVID shutdown…

Miller: “Sure, on the alternate web site in San Diego. I had a hitting coach there, Johnny Washington, who taught me plenty of various things. He’s really one of many hitting coaches with the Cubs proper now. I went from pondering of my arms always to pondering of my hips firing. It was about understanding bat path and conserving your barrel within the zone so long as attainable. That permits you to hit the ball tougher, and likewise form of lets you see the ball longer.

“[In 2021], once I made it to the massive leagues, there have been extra changes that wanted to be made. It’s a continuing technique of getting higher, and understanding your physique and your swing. Then, final offseason, I hit with Chris Valaika, our new hitting coach. We had actually good conversations about my 2021 season, the successes I had, in addition to my weaknesses. We talked lots about staying within the floor — that ground-to-ground connection — and the way once you’re swinging there must be power in your entrance foot. In case you’re not within the floor, it makes it fairly arduous to hit, particularly sure off-speed pitches.”

Laurila: How would you describe your bat path?

Miller: “I’d say it’s flatter on pitches which are up within the zone. On off-speed pitches, your path naturally has to come back up a bit bit. I wish to match the airplane of the ball. You hear that lots with hitting, and clearly, the actually good hitters can do it extra persistently. That’s an enormous thought that’s all the time on my thoughts on the plate. After all, when guys are throwing arduous and have trip on the high of the zone, or they’re actually sinking the ball, matching the airplane is less complicated stated than executed. It’s about having barrel management to have the ability to match wherever the ball is coming in.

“I believe that each one good hitters have an excellent basis of hitting. Their pure tendencies, as soon as they get within the field, are superb. I’m from Wisconsin, so would all the time hear issues that Christian Yelich would say. He had a very good basis of hitting from when he was youthful, and will do issues like use the other area. Then, when you get extra expertise and begin understanding higher, guys begin to hit for extra energy. That’s a step I nonetheless must take.”

Laurila: You had a knack of developing with well timed hits earlier this 12 months. Is that one thing that may be defined?

Miller: “For lots of hitters, once you’re in that zone and every part is clicking, it’s virtually such as you’re not pondering. The whole lot may be very locked in. Once I have a look at video of these instances, every part was in sync. Clearly, it’s an extended season and there are going to be ups and downs. I’ve undoubtedly had a few of these this 12 months.

“We’ve talked about mechanics, and there may be staying in your lane, utilizing your arms… however plenty of it’s in your head, too. You don’t wish to be on a rollercoaster trip. You want the precise mentality, figuring out that hitting is a course of. I believe that’s an enormous a part of hitting, and what makes hitters good. While you’re going by way of tough patches, you might have the flexibility to get out of them, and once you’re in these good stretches, you attempt to keep in them for so long as attainable.”


Earlier “Talks Hitting” interviews can discovered by way of these hyperlinks: Jo Adell, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, JJ Bleday, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman, Michael Chavis, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, Paul DeJong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Donnie Ecker, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Fransoso, Ryan Fuller, Joey Gallo, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Haniger, Robert Hassell III, Rhys Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hyers, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerr, Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Evan Longoria, Michael Lorenzen, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan, Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Hunter Mense, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, Brent Rooker, Drew Saylor, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Justin Turner, Mark Trumbo, Josh VanMeter, Robert Van Scoyoc, Chris Valaika, Zac Veen, Mark Vientos, Matt Vierling, Luke Voit, Jared Walsh, Jordan Westburg, Jesse Winker, Nick Yorke, Kevin Youkilis.