Following a disappointing season, amplified by a questionable trade, Shelby Miller enters Spring Training with the Arizona Diamondbacks resolved to be better in 2017.
With a refreshed mindset, Shelby Miller is determined to not be remembered for what he was in 2016. Instead, he looks to regain his former glory and justify the Arizona Diamondbacks’ trade for him in 2015.
He continued to post impressive numbers through 2014 and his success initially translated over after being traded to the Atlanta Braves. However, following a 5-5 first half, which earned him an All-Star nomination, Miller struggled through the remainder of 2015.
After his fifth victory of the season in mid-May, Miller added 16 losses to his record to finish the season 6-17. The Braves followed suit and were 4-21 through Miller’s last 25 starts of the season.
Although his gut told him otherwise, former general manager Dave Stewart dealt away Dansby Swanson shortly after selecting him first overall in 2015. In return for Swanson and two others, the Diamondbacks received Miller and Gabe Speier.
And while Swanson soared through his first season in the major leagues, the Diamondbacks suffered with the repercussions of their lopsided trade.
Through his first season in Arizona, Miller noticeably felt the pressure of high expectations. Instead of proving he was worth giving up one of the game’s top prospects, he stumbled through 2016.
Pitching a career-low 20 starts, Miller went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA. Adding injury to insult, Miller hit the disabled list with a hurt right hand late last May. Consequently, he took a trip to the minor leagues for the first time since 2012. While he finished the season with a five-inning shutout victory, Miller failed to live up to the Diamondbacks’ expectations.
Bound for three more seasons under team control, a change of personnel could help Miller get back on track. With general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo joining the Diamondbacks’ staff, Miller begins to leave the disgrace of last season behind.
In particular, Lovullo picked up on Miller’s positive attitude early in Spring Training.
“I saw a guy who had spent of lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room – he looks fantastic,” Lovullo said (per foxsports.com). “Emotionally, you never know until you have those conversations…But I could tell quickly, from the first interaction I had with him, that he’s real excited to get going.”
Even pitching coach Mike Butcher, who bore with Miller through his rocky season, saw a noticeable change in the right-hander. Through phone calls and text messages, Butcher sensed Miller is back to normal.
“He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him,” Butcher said (per foxsports.com). “That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller.”
With an opportunity to prove himself in 2017, Miller is ready to be the version of himself from 2013. He is ready to move past the version of himself he was last season. He is ready to be a Diamondback.
“I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much,” Miller said (per foxsports.com).