I didn't know anything about this guy when David asked me to do this profile. In fact, I saw 1B/DH and immediately thought to myself, why are we even profiling a HS kid that can even be listed as a DH? The answer is that we like John Klima around here and when John Klima likes a guy, I do too. I try to avoid hanging on one writer/scout's opinion of a guy, but if I do, it's John Klima.
Ron Miller is from the inner city and is a product of the Urban Youth Academy's that MLB has put together over the years. Because he is an inner city guy, he doesn't get much exposure, nor much competition. In fact, he opted to forego his senior year to play in another league that gets more attention by scouts. Plus, he participated in the Area Code Games, so he's no stranger to scouts. Yet, I'm surprised his name isn't thrown out there that often.
I'm going to take you through my own phases of impression. First off, you look at his body and you think he's going to grow into a Prince Fielder type body. He's currently standing around 5-10 and weighs 210 pounds, so he's already a big body kid. He's got a belly in front of him but you can see in film from last year compared to this year, he's trimmed that thing down. But, he's a big body guy with a lot of muscle.
You see him take BP, and you see an easy swing that is low maintenance from the right side. You hear the crack of the bat, and you know he puts a charge in the ball. You look at the bat speed, and you're jaw drops. John Klima calls it "Bat spped that can kill!" Because of his body, strength, bat speed, and some loft in his swing, you know this kid is going to be known for his power. We are talking about plus-plus power! A ceiling of at least 30 home runs.
As for his approach, there are some question marks. He can recognize pitches fairly well for a guy who is as raw as he is. He can catch up to any fastball. He waits for curve balls to break before he swings. But, he doesn't let the ball carry in far enough. By that I mean, he makes contact early and pulls everything. He doesn't hit the other way at all. He's shown improvement in this area, but he's still a pull hitter. He won't be a high OBP guy nor a high batting average guy. But, he won't be terrible either.
The biggest question scouts have about him is where he is going to play. A lot of scouts focus on his body and say he'll be regulated to the American League teams as a future DH. Some say he can handle 1B. He has the arm for it and he has the hands for it. In fact, he may have the arm and hands for 3B, which he currently plays in HS. He just doesn't have the range for it. Will he have the feet for it? Watch the first video after the jump and decide for yourself. I'm friends with a former Big 10 scholarship CFer, and he can't do some of that stuff as quickly as Miller.
Defensively limited power hitters with questions surrounding how much they'll hit are bountiful in the minors. They have just one shot to reach the majors, their bat. However, not all of them have his kind of power. His floor is a career minor league power hitter. As a major league floor, he's a DH that hits for a low average but bits his fair share of bombs.
Will you take a .275 average with at least 30 home runs from a right-handed first baseman who is average defensively? It's a simple question doctor! I know I would! He could do it year in and year out for several years. I think he's ultimately a slightly lesser version of Prince Fielder.
Projected Draft Round
I honestly have no clue where he is expected to be drafted. He's not rated in any top 100 and I haven't found any projection for him. My guess is that he'll go after the 5th and his signability really will determine how far he falls. The Astros will have plenty of opportunities to grab him. Klima feels more comfortable about his floor than Trey Williams, so he could be a steal at some point in the draft.
College Commitment: UNLV
Will he sign?
I actually feel pretty comfortable about him signing. It's just a gut feeling. If I were drafting, I'd try to get some underslot deals to re-allocate money to him. But, that could just be me. If he's offered good money, I think he'll sign. Here's an interview with him. He sounds pretty signable to me.
Bibliography after the jump
Ron Miller, Serra HS, Los Angeles CA, 5'10 210 R/R, plays 3b, best shot to play LF at pro level, short compact power stroke with ability to go the other way, shows arm strength and fair running speed, enough ability offensively to get to pro level, will go as far as bat takes him. Kevin Mitchell type comp from the early 80's.
Ron Miller out of Serra (Gardena, Calif.) high is a power slugging third baseman that has his coming out party at the Urban Youth Academy two years ago. Since then he has played on Milwaukee Brewers Fall Scout team, played in the 2011 Area Code Baseball Games and grown into one of California’s feared hitters.
He has good power to all fields and when he pulls the ball, it can leave the park in a hurry. During this batting practice he mashed one over the scoreboard that is set far behind the fence in the power ally’s. No one got a measurement on it, but they can just say it went very, very far.
Build like a rock at 5-foot-11 205 pounds, Miller has a very simple approach at the plate. He is very sound, not many moving parts, has a direct path to the ball and obtains a good amount of raw power. Just watch the swing at the 45-second mark. That ball went a very long way.
There are several articles here, at least read the interview and the scouting update.