July 31, 2014
Andrew Miller Goes to Baltimore
Acquired LHP Andrew Miller from the Red Sox in exchange for LHP Eduardo Rodriguez. [7/31] When Miller was drafted, by the Tigers back in 2006, the belief was he would become an impact arm. He has, just not in the expected capacity. Over the past several seasons in Boston, Miller has developed into a shutdown reliever, one capable of retiring lefties and righties alike. Of course he never had trouble missing bats with his mid-90s fastball and slider, but his improved control has turned him into a force. Adding Miller, a free agent at season's end, to Zach Britton and Darren O'Day gives Buck Showalter three terrific late-inning relievers to turn and, by extension, the Orioles one of the better back-ends in the AL. —R.J. Anderson
Miller doesn’t project to grab the closer’s role in Baltimore, so his usefulness in fantasy leagues remains the same. He’s a quality reliever who will help ratios and offer ample strikeouts; he’s striking out 14.7 batters per nine innings. Owners in leagues that reward holds will also find his impact to be about the same. Overall, the deal doesn’t move the needle on Miller’s fantasy value. He’s still one of the better non-closer relievers to own, and with Zach Britton entrenched as the Orioles’ closer and Darren O’Day as the presumed second option should things fall apart, that doesn’t appear to change anytime soon. —J.P. Breen
Eduardo Rodriguez went into the 2014 season as the no. 64 prospect on our 101 list. After flashing some success at Double-A Bowie in 2013, the 2014 Rodriguez has not demonstrated the same consistency that many scouts and industry members fawned over last season. An injury at the beginning of the season might be the culprit for some of the struggles this season, but I have seen a few starts this year and he has shown ability to replicate his delivery and stuff relative to last season.
The Venezuelan lefty has a good feel for pitching, with a smooth arm action and a quick delivery to home. His fastball generally sits in the 91-93 velocity band, although he can gas it up to 94-95 in short spurts. The fastball does not have a ton of movement, but there is mild arm-side run and some life. His slider is more of the sweeping variety and not a true strikeout offering, but he shows command and enough tilt for it to play solid-average at the major-league level. His changeup has really been the enigma this season, as at times he has not been able to consistently feel the pitch. It can be too firm, and when the change is coming in at 84-86 it does not provide the differential necessary to offset the fastball. The overall arsenal is good, but it is not the great that many evaluators look for in a top prospect.
In general, Eduardo Rodriguez is more of a backend variety than the mid-rotation type that many (including myself) thought at the beginning of the year. A few scouts have reiterated the opinion that Rodriguez could end up in the bullpen at some point, although that is not a forgone conclusion in this stage of his career. Regardless, this is a nice grab in return for a reliever. Rodriguez could end up as a serviceable starter and likely carves out a solid career in whatever role he may end up in. —Tucker Blair
While the Orioles’ starting rotation isn’t star-studded, Rodriguez’s move to Boston should help accelerate his timeline to the big leagues. His 4.79 ERA is a bit unsightly, but the overall projection remains the same. He’s a potential back-end starter with potential to help in most fantasy categories. It would be nice to see the strikeouts tick up a bit, but he’s shown an ability to miss bats in the past. The Red Sox have just depleted their starting rotation and will be looking for in-house help for the remainder of the season. If Rodriguez can come to the Red Sox’s organization and produce, he could threaten for a big-league role sometime before the end of the 2015 season. —J.P. Breen
R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @r_j_anderson