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Entries in Shelby Miller (2)


Miller, Liriano Dominate Different Parts of the Zone

The most consequential series for the Pirates since Sid Bream beat Barry Bonds' throw to home plate in Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS opens tonight, as the Cardinals (78-55) take a one-game lead in the NL Central standings to PNC Park to take on Pittsburgh (77-56). A pair of power arms kick off the series on Friday with Rookie of the Year candidate Shelby Miller (9.7 K/9, 126 ERA+) facing Francisco Liriano (9.3 K/9, 130 ERA+), a scrapheap free agent find who could become the first pitcher in big league history to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award twice.

While Miller and Liriano are both dealing, they're doing so in far different ways. Miller is firing letter-high pitches. Liriano, by contrast, is pounding the bottom of the strike zone. The common thread? Lots of whiffs, weak contact and long walks back to the dugout for opposing batters.

Shelby Miller

Miller has located 36.2% of his pitches in the upper third of the strike zone this season -- only Baltimore's Chris Tillman (39.2%) and New York's Matt Harvey (36.3%) have climbed the ladder more frequently among qualified starting pitchers. When it comes to getting swings and misses on high pitches, Miller is the best in the game:

Highest miss pct. on upper-third pitches among starters, 2013

The 22-year-old right-hander especially likes to challenge hitters with high heat, throwing 41.4% of his fastballs up in the zone. Miller has racked up an NL-leading 60 strikeouts on high fastballs.

Batters aren't doing much against Miller's high stuff when they manage to make contact, slugging .189 and collecting a whopping four extra-base hits. Miller's opponent slugging percentage against high pitches is more than 200 points lower than the MLB average (.393), and trails only Cincinnati's Homer Bailey (.179) among starters.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano, unlike Miller, lives low in the zone. The 29-year-old lefty has tossed 57.3% of his pitches to the lower third of the zone, third-highest among starters. He also ranks in the top 10 among starters in lower-zone whiffs:

Highest miss percentage on lower-third pitches among starters, 2013

Liriano's go-to offering low in the strike zone is his changeup, which he has buried two-thirds of the time this year.

Batters are slugging a mere .247 versus Liriano's low pitches, which is nearly 80 points below the MLB average (.325) and ranks in the top 15 among starters. Liriano has surrendered just one home run on a low pitch this year -- a slider that Cincinnati's Chris Heisey deposited into the seats on July 19.


The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller

Today the news broke that Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season. Any time there’s an injury it presents an opportunity for another player to contribute on an everyday basis. Before the Carpenter news there was going to be a two-player battle between Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to be the Cardinals number five starter. Now it appears both players are front runners to make the rotation on opening day. Below are player profiles about each player respectively.


Please note the format for the “ADP” section reads as follows: ADP: positional draft position (overall draft position). For example, Lance Lynn is currently the 53rd starting pitcher being taken and is going 197th overall. All ADPs are from Mock Draft Central.


Lance Lynn

Throws: R | Age: 25 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 53 (197)

Lynn’s 2012 season was tale of two halves. During the first half he won 11 games, had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. However, in the second half he won just 7 games with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. In order to not over work him, the Cardinals put him in the bullpen for month down the stretch. Lynn has a plus-plus fastball, which has late movement, sits between 92-94 mph and can hit as high as 97 mph. For secondary pitches he primarily relies on the sinker and curveball, but will throw a cutter and changeup sparingly. The curveball is his best secondary pitch, effective against both lefties and righties. If he can improve the command of his changeup he can be a top 20 fantasy starter. Fantasy owners should expect a 3.80+ ERA with 170+ strikeouts.

Shelby Miller

Throws: R | Age: 22 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 88 (306)

In 2012 during his first 17 starts in Triple-A Miller posted a 6.17 ERA (due to a lack of command), but in his last 10 starts he dominated hitters with a 2.88 ERA with 70 strikeouts in only 59 innings. In only 13 big league innings he continued to flash his dominance striking out nearly 30% of the batters he faced. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can touch 98 if he needs it. The fastball has good sink and boring action that jumps on hitters because of his extension. His changeup and curveball (looks like a slider), can both miss a ton of bats. As the 2012 season wore on he metamorphosed from a "grip it and rip it" thrower to pitcher who relied less on the fastball and sequenced his secondary pitches more frequently. If he begins the year in the Cardinals rotation he’s a top 30 fantasy starting pitcher.