The Cincinnati Reds announced late on Tuesday night, just after the win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, that they had acquired right-handed reliever Justin Miller from the Toronto Blue Jays. Cincinnati sent the Blue Jays international pool cap money in return.

Justin Miller has not pitched in the Major Leagues this season. The now 33-year-old signed with the Blue Jays on a minor league deal before the season began. The right-handed reliever pitched in parts of three sesaons in the Major Leagues from 2014-2016 with the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies. He spent the entirety of the 2017 season in Triple-A before pitching in 2018 and 2019 with the Washington Nationals, making 68 appearances and throwing 68.0 innings – though most of that came in 2018.

Justin Miller Scouting Report

Justin Miller has shown that he can throw four pitches in the Major Leagues during his career, though he rarely throws a change up. For the most part he’s a 4-seam fastball and slider guy, but he will bust out the 2-seamer every so often, too. His fastball will sit in the low-90’s. Since the start of 2018 he’s topped out at 97 MPH, but it’s been rare to see him there throughout his career.

He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, with a career rate of ground balls of just 33.6%. In the 2019 season it was 19.1% ground balls in his 15.2 innings pitched (it was 26.5% in his time in the minors in 2019). His BABIP has been between .244 and .273 every year except 2016 when it was .364. Read into that what you will.

Pitch Breakdwon

Year 4-seam 2-seam Slider Change
Velocity 92.7 92.7 86.2 87.9
Usage 72% 7% 20% 1%
2019 Season Data (MLB Only)

His 4-seam fastball has an above-average spin rate, but it’s not an elite spin rate, averaging 2410 RPM in 2019.

Other Justin Miller Notes Worth Noting

He is not on the 40-man roster. If he were to be added to the 40-man roster at some point in the future he does not have any options remaining. Playoff rules state that a player must be on the roster by September 15th in order to be playoff eligible.

Justin Miller Career Stats

You can get more details on his stats at either his Fangraphs page, his Baseball Reference page, or his pitch information at Brooks Baseball.

15 Responses

  1. Moses

    Weird! I could have sworn that the trade deadline passed weeks ago…

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      I’m right here with you…. I’m not entirely sure how this worked out. I wasn’t going to speculate in the article, but I’ll do so in the comments: Since he’s not on the 40-man roster, and just a part of the player pool, perhaps those guys CAN be traded? That’s about all that I can come up with and I honestly have no idea if that’s valid or not.

      Reply
      • jim walker

        I thought much ado was made in the rub up to the trade deadline that only guys on the 40 man roster or at the alternate sites could be traded which supposedly gave rise to a lot of PTNL in the deals; so they could move minor leaguers.

        Sounds more like rules are being formed and shaped on the fly.

    • Charles Lackey

      I thought trade deadline was over also. Wonder how a TRADE did take place?

      Reply
      • IndyRedsFan

        The trade deadline only applies to 40 man roster players. Teams have always been able to trade minor leaguers after the trade deadline. Miller was on a minor league contract, but in Toronto’s 60 man pool, which made him eligible to be traded.

  2. Sliotar

    https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb-contenders-can-still-add-help-after-trade-deadline-heres-how-and-10-players-who-could-be-on-the-move/

    This article adds context.

    Nice post, Doug. Thank you.

    And, if this guy has any stuff for the MLB level … nice move by the Reds adding a relief arm without giving anybody up.

    Maybe this is a Kyle Boddy “I see something in him” suggestion?

    If they make the playoffs, that post-season schedule with no off days is going to take tolls, not to mention the scrambling still needed to book wins and get in.

    Reply
    • jim walker

      Read the CBS article; and the whole thing still seems sketchy or dodgy to me. Logic per the article would be either the Reds wanted Miller or the Jays wanted to be free of his contract (or both). An (wink and nod) agreement is reached that the Reds will claim Miller if he is waived. Of course anybody else could also claim him and perhaps be ahead of the Reds in the waiver order; but, at the least Jays are free of the contract obligation. This part seems straight forward enough if a bit under the table if the Jays knew the Reds would claim Miller if he showed up on waivers.

      But how can the Reds send international cap space back in return?? Cap space can be traded for players or even draft choices; but, how can it be announced now and not be a trade out of trading season? Makes me wonder if the cap space wasn’t perhaps part of the wink and nod and supposed to be announced after the end of the season gift wrapped with a throw away draft pick?

      Reply
  3. Redsfan4life

    If we can finish the sweep tonight against Pitt. Take 2 of 3 from Brewers and 3 of 6 from Sox and Twins we finish 30-30. That might get us in. We need Gray healthy badly.

    Reply
  4. Redsfan4life

    Sorry the above post was supposed to be in last nights game recap thread.

    Reply
  5. TR

    Maybe the Reds are saving Justin Miller, an extreme fly-ball pitcher, for the playoffs where he’ll not be pitching at GABP.

    Reply
    • Don

      Not sure how that will work since Doug stated that a player has to be on the 40 man on Sept 15 (yesterday) to be playoff eligible.

      Reply
      • IndyRedsFan

        According to MLB Trade Rumors, a player only needs to be in the 60 man player pool by Sept 15 to be playoff eligible.

      • jim walker

        @Indy This makes sense whether it is technically correct or not.

  6. Charlie Waffles

    The Cardinals have had to DFA LHP Rob Kaminsky. As thin as the Reds are on LH relievers this might be the time to pick one up. Although he would not be available for any post season play. But he is team controlled through 2026, is just 26 years old, and is a former 1st round pick of the Cards. He has great GB%.
    Can’t trade for him, but can certainly put in a waiver claim. Might get him for free and might not get him at all. It wouldn’t be so much for 2020 but for future seasons. If you can get him for free it would be a steal, a steal from a hated division rival too.

    Reply
    • earmbrister

      I agree Charles. The Reds need to bolster their LH pitching.

      Meanwhile, the WLB’s are down 6-0 thru 6. Turd on a stick.

      Reply

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