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Dodgers select pitcher Bobby Miller with 29th pick in draft

Louisville's Bobby Miller pitches against East Carolina in an NCAA super regional game in Louisville, Ky., on June 8, 2019.
Louisville’s Bobby Miller can reach 98 mph on his fastball.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

The Dodgers went a familiar route with their first-round pick in the 2020 MLB draft Wednesday when they chose Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller with the 29th overall selection.

Miller is the third Louisville player the Dodgers have selected with their last six first-round picks. They chose right-hander Kyle Funkhouser in the first round in 2015 and catcher Will Smith the following year. Funkhouser didn’t sign and Smith made his major league debut last season. Miller was the second Louisville pitcher taken Wednesday; the Angels selected Louisville left-hander Reid Detmers with the 10th overall pick.

It’s a fitting landing spot for Miller. In a Zoom chat with reporters Wednesday night, Miller said his favorite big league pitcher is Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler. And in high school, when in the area for a tournament, Miller said he visited Dodger Stadium for the first time. He and his father sat in the first row in right field. He fantasized about playing there.

“This is my dream,” Miller said. “If I can pick, if I had the choice, this would be the one.”

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear there will be a season in 2020, and the owners are not backing off their insistence that players take an additional pay cut to play a longer season.

Miller, 21, was drafted in the 38th round by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school in 2017. Three years later, the Illinois native boasts an explosive arsenal centered on a fastball that sits between 96 and 98 mph with heavy sink. He complements the fastball with a hard slider that touches 90 mph, a cutter he recently added and fires in the mid-90s, and a changeup in the mid-80s that scouts say is an adequate third pitch. He throws a curveball still in development to round out the repertoire.

The Dodgers had limited contact with Miller — he said he had one or two Zoom chats and got a few phone calls from the team — but they viewed the small sample size as big enough to believe he had the aptitude and athleticism to eventually become a frontline starter in the major leagues.

“Our pitching group on the player development side loved the direction he was going and what he was doing,” Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino said.

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The slot value for the 29th pick is $2,424,600. The signing deadline is Aug. 1. The Dodgers hold five more selections in the draft Thursday.


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