The Oakland Athletics have struggled with getting results from its young pitching staff, which is about to get another reinforcement. Hard-throwing right-hander Mason Miller has reportedly been promoted from Las Vegas (AAA) after a dominant start to the 2023 season. Here’s a look at what A’s fans can expect from the 24-year-old.
A Look at Miller
24-year-old Mason Miller joined the Athletics farm system two years ago, when the Pennsylvania native was selected in the third round by Oakland in 2021. Miller struggled in his first two seasons at Waynesburg, before dominating hitters in 2019 and 2020. Miller joined Gardner-Webb in 2021, and struck out 121 over 92.2 innings in his lone season with the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Upon being selected by the A’s in 2021, Miller didn’t pitch much in his first two pro seasons. Between 2021-22, the 24-year-old threw just 20 innings thanks in large part to a scapula strain that kept him out for most of last season. Miller did log in time in the Arizona Fall League, and struck out 20 over 16.2 IP last fall.
The A’s right-hander dominated in the early goings, as he struck out 19 batters over 8.2 innings between Midland (AA) and Las Vegas (AAA). In his lone AAA start, Miller threw 64 pitchers — 23 of which were 100 MPH+ fastballs.
A flamethrower, Miller routinely hits triple digits with his plus heater and also owns a very impressive slider. The young righty also owns a change that reportedly isn’t as refined, but could be a good complement to the fastball if he continue to progress with the pitch. That arsenal should make him at worst a strong reliever, but he’ll be given every chance to prove he can be a starter at the Major League level.
A Look at the Athletics Rotation
The first two and a half weeks of the 2023 season have not been pretty for the Athletics. While the A’s have seen some production from the lineup, its rotation and bullpen have struggled greatly. As of April 18, the Athletics owned a team ERA of 7.74 ERA, the worst in MLB by a good distance. The second-worst team ERA in the league belongs to the Tigers at 5.87, which should give a good sense as to how things have gone. Oakland also leads the Majors in walks allowed (88).
It’s not much of shock that the A’s looked towards its farm system towards adding reinforcements, but someone like Miller does bear a lot of risk. The young right-hander owns a very tantalizing arsenal, but the risk that comes with promoting someone with very limited time in the Minors can’t be understated.
The A’s need reliable pitching, and the 24-year-old Miller will be the next arm called upon by Oakland to do just that.