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  • 2022 Prospect Previews: Noah Miller


    Jamie Cameron

    In a new series at Twins Daily, JD Cameron looks at some of the Twins early draft picks from 2021, what attracted the Twins to them, and storylines to watch for in 2022. Next up, number 36 overall pick, Noah Miller.

    Image courtesy of Thieres Rabelo

    Twins Video

    While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. Next up, Noah Miller, a high school shortstop from Wisconsin.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45 

    (grades courtesy of MLB.com)

    Signing and Scouting

    The Twins selected switch-hitting shortstop Noah Miller with their supplemental first-round pick in the 2021 draft (36th overall) out of Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, WI. He signed for a $1.7 million bonus, convincing him to renege on his commitment to Alabama. Miller was ranked as the #74 overall prospect by Baseball America and #62 overall by MLB.com. 

    Miller is the second high school shortstop the Twins have drafted in the first round in recent seasons, following helium prospect Keoni Cavaco, selected at #13 overall in the 2019 draft. The younger brother of Cleveland Guardians’ infielder Owen Miller, who made his MLB debut in 2021, Noah has a solid floor, due to a strong all-around game.

    At 6’0 and 180 pounds, Miller is an excellent athlete and infielder. Baseball America described his defense as ‘elite’ heading into the 2021 draft. Miller joins an increasing wealth of high school baseball talent from Wisconsin that has produced players like Gavin Lux, Jared Kelenic, and Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt in recent seasons.

    Offensively, Miller has a line-drive swing and shows the ability to hit the ball the other way, though with little power currently. He has an effective approach at the plate and good control of the strike zone (drawing nine walks in his first 84 professionals at-bats). Miller is an above-average runner with an above-average arm, which evaluators believe will give him the ability to play shortstop at the major-league level. While Miller doesn’t have one stand-out tool or skill-set, his strong all-around game makes him a lower variance prospect than Chase Petty. His first full season against professional pitching will be telling and a good indicator of whether Miller’s ceiling is every day starting shortstop, or more of a utility role.

    Quiet Excellence

    Miller is a prospect who won’t receive much fanfare initially, despite having MLB bloodlines. The absence of a loud tool from his arsenal and the likelihood he will move relatively slowly through the Twins minor league system will see to that. He is, however, not a prospect to sleep on. His overall athleticism was highlighted by Seth Stohs in his excellent piece this summer on the Miller family. Noah Miller finished his high school basketball career by casually breaking the all-time point scoring record.

    Miller benefited from being in close geographical proximity to the Twins, across the border in Wisconsin. With the 2021 draft delayed, the Twins scouting and development personnel had opportunities to get additional looks at Miller. On draft day, the Twins were attracted to several elements of Miller’s profile; his effortless defense (his favorite player is Brandon Crawford), infield clock, and a smooth compact swing from both sides of the plate. The Twins feel like he has the ability to add power to his swing as he grows and fills out. Ultimately, they believe they took a prospect beyond his years in Noah Miller.

    Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A)

    Miller has a higher floor than most high school shortstop products. He has the defensive instincts to stick at the big-league level. How he handles his first full season of professional pitching will go a long way to determining if he can reach his ceiling as an everyday MLB shortstop.

    Twins Prospect Preview: Chase Petty

     

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    Nice description of kid's potential.  Frankly, I thought the Twins reached a bit for this kid.  I know they like to draft shortstops, but I guess I am a bit worried that if he doesn't make it as a shortstop, he lacks the offensive upside to be an asset elsewhere on the diamond.  But, I confess I have not seen him play, and the scouts have, so I hope my concern is unfounded.  Maybe he could be a Kolten Wong type player at second base if he doesn't make it at short.

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    I think he's going to be a relatively slow riser making steady yearly progress. He sure sounds like a good all around athlete with the ability to stick at SS. I think the key for him will be adding some muscle/power to his bat without outgrowing the position physically. 

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    I like that he is a switch hitter and that he has good defensive instincts.  I just don't think he will be able to stick at Short.  I was OK with the pick mainly because he is switch hitter and they are kind of hard to find these days and I do think he will hit and I think he will hit for power.  Personally I see him in a utility role but will have to wait and see as it takes a while to see how the high school players are going to develop.

    I certainly hope he reaches his highest potential but I see 2nd or 3rd base in his future and I think the bat will play at either spot in the end.  It felt like the pick was a reach but also a fairly safe pick for a guy who should work out just fine somewhere in the infield. 

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    5 hours ago, RJA said:

    Nice description of kid's potential.  Frankly, I thought the Twins reached a bit for this kid.  I know they like to draft shortstops, but I guess I am a bit worried that if he doesn't make it as a shortstop, he lacks the offensive upside to be an asset elsewhere on the diamond.  But, I confess I have not seen him play, and the scouts have, so I hope my concern is unfounded.  Maybe he could be a Kolten Wong type player at second base if he doesn't make it at short.

    I think the comment about offensive upside is a fair concern. I think it will depend how his power grows, or not, because his hit tool is really solid. RE him being a reach, it's so tough when you are also juggling factors like the overall bonus pool etc. In this case, it's a guy for whom they really relied on in-person looks. I'd also add that he had consistent placing across a few different pre-draft rankings, which is something I look for as a source of confidence when trying to evaluate draft picks. Thanks for reading!

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    3 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I think he's going to be a relatively slow riser making steady yearly progress. He sure sounds like a good all around athlete with the ability to stick at SS. I think the key for him will be adding some muscle/power to his bat without outgrowing the position physically. 

    I agree I think he'll stick at low A for a good long while. He showed flashes of really strong offensive output in some of his first handful of gains. Also agree that adding a little power will go a long way to increase his upside and value to the org.

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    2 hours ago, Dman said:

    I like that he is a switch hitter and that he has good defensive instincts.  I just don't think he will be able to stick at Short.  I was OK with the pick mainly because he is switch hitter and they are kind of hard to find these days and I do think he will hit and I think he will hit for power.  Personally I see him in a utility role but will have to wait and see as it takes a while to see how the high school players are going to develop.

    I certainly hope he reaches his highest potential but I see 2nd or 3rd base in his future and I think the bat will play at either spot in the end.  It felt like the pick was a reach but also a fairly safe pick for a guy who should work out just fine somewhere in the infield. 

    Agree that he's a relatively safe pick. I think a utility guy is the floor for sure, which isn't a bad outcome for a pick in a comp round. All the scouting reports seems pretty confident he will stick at SS. If he doesn't, both fielding and arm are plus for him.

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    16 hours ago, Dman said:

    I like that he is a switch hitter and that he has good defensive instincts.  I just don't think he will be able to stick at Short.  I was OK with the pick mainly because he is switch hitter and they are kind of hard to find these days and I do think he will hit and I think he will hit for power.  Personally I see him in a utility role but will have to wait and see as it takes a while to see how the high school players are going to develop.

    I certainly hope he reaches his highest potential but I see 2nd or 3rd base in his future and I think the bat will play at either spot in the end.  It felt like the pick was a reach but also a fairly safe pick for a guy who should work out just fine somewhere in the infield. 

    Why don't you see him sticking at SS? He appears to have the skills to compete there and of all his tools right now the glove looks the best. The concerns seem to be more about his offensive potential, and if he's a plus defensively, it's certainly easier to absorb a bad bat when it's at SS, even in today's game.

    I don't see him rushing through the system, but if he can start at Ft. Myers this season and go one level per year, this will look like a very good pick, I think. I'm always less worried about a player's power production a) in general, as I think it's easier to add, and b) for an 18 year old.

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    Thanks for the report on this kid, Jamie.  

    Being from Wisconsin, he was a favorite of mine from the moment he was drafted.  Loved that he is considered a better prospect than his brother, who has already made it to Cleveland.

    Contrary to the common belief, I see no reason why this kid can't move a lot faster than most expect.  Bring it on, Noah.

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    3 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

    Why don't you see him sticking at SS? He appears to have the skills to compete there and of all his tools right now the glove looks the best. The concerns seem to be more about his offensive potential, and if he's a plus defensively, it's certainly easier to absorb a bad bat when it's at SS, even in today's game.

    I don't see him rushing through the system, but if he can start at Ft. Myers this season and go one level per year, this will look like a very good pick, I think. I'm always less worried about a player's power production a) in general, as I think it's easier to add, and b) for an 18 year old.

    The main reason is he is a 50 runner.  He is only going to get bigger and likely slower.  Almost all the young SS that start out as 50 runners seem to end up moving off the position to second or third.  Sounds like he has has good actions and the arm looks good enough but the odds are against him sticking there IMO.  I could see him filling in at short but IMO he will grow out of the position.  Never say never but again I think the odds are against him. 

    I also think that is why he was rated in the 100 range as a 3rd or 4th round pick.  If evaluators thought he would be a top tier shortstop he would have been ranked close to first round or top 40 picks where the Twins took him.  Like I said he is a risky bet to stay there.

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